• Tue, Jan 7 - 6:00 pm ET

WSJ Writer Blames Women For The Rise Of Fatherless Children, Of Course

180587203Who is to blame for fatherless children? If your answer is “absent fathers,” you’re wrong, as far as Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto is concerned. According to him, it’s not fathers choosing not to be present in their children’s lives that’s the problem, it’s women’s choices and behaviors. This is not a ground-breaking train of thought. Society has been blaming women for all of its ills since Eve. You’re late to the party, James.

Conservative writer Kay Hymowitz has spent some time researching the different outcomes of the sons and daughters of single mothers. In general, she found “sons were having more problems in school and engaging in more ‘externalizing’—psychology-speak for aggressive and/or criminal behavior—than their sisters and, more notably, than their male peers who were growing up with married parents.” Boys in fatherless homes were getting into more trouble than their sisters. As a result of her research, Hymowitz hypothesized:

It just may be that boys growing up where fathers—and men more generally—appear superfluous confront an existential problem: Where do I fit in? Who needs me, anyway? Boys see that men have become extras in the lives of many families and communities, and it can’t help but depress their aspirations. Solving that problem will take something much bigger than a good literacy program.

Taranto doesn’t like this argument, as it takes the focus off a mother’s fault responsibility for 10 seconds – and we can’t have that. He penned a response to her article, in which he wonders, “Why does she spare unmarried mothers the judgment she casually imposes on absent fathers?” He finds it necessary to remind us all that it’s women’s insistence on equality and happiness that is basically ruining the lives of their male offspring:

Nonetheless, the vast majority of children who are growing up without fathers are doing so in large part because of their mothers’ choices. In our column last month, we half-facetiously raised “the converse lament that young females are insufficiently interested in ‘becoming reliable wives and mothers.’ ” Let us now raise it half-seriously. It is trivially true that an unmarried woman who bears a child is not a reliable wife. If Hymowitz is correct about the baneful effects of fatherlessness on boys, such a woman also is not a reliable mother, at least to her sons.

There is no simple way to analyze what is happening with fatherless boys – as research shows they are clearly having more difficulty than girls. But to pine for a time when women had no choices at all is ridiculous. Boys need their fathers present in their lives. Barring a situation where there is a mother who is not allowing that presence, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to put the onus on that presence on the fathers themselves. Not everything is a competition – and not everything is our fault. Sorry that you are so offended by the feminist movement, Taranto, but it basically affords us the luxury of not silently bearing the blame of the “destruction of the family.”

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • keelhaulrose

    I watch enough Maury to know this is bullshit.

    Sarcasm font needed.

  • Mystik Spiral
  • pixie

    So he’s so focused on vilifying the single mothers that he doesn’t even try to offer a possible way to help the aggressive boys. And I mean a solution other than saying women shouldn’t have babies when they aren’t married, since unwed mothers are clearly unfit to be a wife or mother. *rolls eyes*

  • AlbinoWino

    I just don’t understand how people think this way. I mean, there are plenty of divorced parents where the father wants to be very present in the child/children’s lives even when they are no longer with the mother. So when lots of men do choose to abandon their kids, how is that NOT the fault of those men? Every family’s situation can be different but it scares me that people could even entertain this idea. Plus, how is having a child out of wedlock going to make you automatically unfit to be a parent? Shitty parents come from all different backgrounds. Married, single, whatever.

  • CrushLily

    Coincidentally, here in Australia we are currently enduring news coverage of the published rantings of Senator Cory Bernardi who posits ‘boys raised by single parents were more likely
    to commit crime while girls raised by single parents were more likely to be
    promiscuous’ and ‘some women use abortion as an abhorrent form of birth control’ and families with a mother and father who are married are the ‘gold standard’ and blah blah blah. So rest assured, there are nutters the world over!

    • Kay_Sue

      My friend, you need to look up that book of his on Amazon if you haven’t already. The reviews of it are to die for, and maybe you can get a laugh out of them.

    • Mel

      Thanks! I just read the reviews and they almost restored some of my lost faith in humanity.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I will be doing this immediately.

    • EX

      Thank you for that! Too funny.

    • Gangle

      Senator Cory would crack me up if he didn’t make me weep. I am sure that he only gets news coverage for being such a wanker.

  • jane

    “It is trivially true that an unmarried woman who bears a child is not a reliable wife.”

    Citation for this bullshit very very VERY much needed.

    There’s a whole lot of unsupported “ifs” to get to his “then” – IF women get to make choices about their own lives then they are more likely to be single moms, and IF those single moms by default aren’t reliable wives, and IF those unmarriageable women are communicating the lack of need for men in their lives to their male children THEN they are by default bad mothers. Every aspect of that argument is based on sexist garbage and nonsense. Even if all the “ifs” were true, the conclusion is still BS.

    • Guest

      Uh, I actually think that part makes sense. If you’re unmarried, you’re not a wife. So, logically speaking, what he says is true. Irrelevant in my books, but true.

  • Rachel Sea

    Conservative scientists are working hard to find the magnetic force feminists use to force men to have sex with and impregnate them, before violently reversing the polarity, and forcibly repelling them, proving that it is actually against the laws of nature for a man to co-parent with a feminist.

    • http://www.benwhoski.com/ Benwhoski

      There should really be a Mega-Upvote option for comments like this.

    • Rachel Sea

      I think someone thought I wasn’t being facetious.

    • Kay_Sue

      I hope someone thought that. That’s the only way to explain the downvote that doesn’t make me want to curl into a ball. Not on Mommyish, assholes! This is my last hold out!

    • Vicki Lewis

      For the record though, sometimes I accidentally downvote when I meant to upvote cause I am using an iPhone and my fingers are enormous.

    • Kay_Sue

      I do this too, I hadn’t even thought of that. I’ll be glancing through and see red on a comment sometime, and be like, WTF, that was a good one. :)

    • Lackadaisical

      Or someone thought that as a woman you should put up and shut up and leave the hard science of vaginology to men. Don’t worry, a gentleman will be along shortly to explain our vaginas and their evil man hating magnetic powers. Perhaps we could weaken the force of our magnetic feminist vaginas by reciting the mantra “the man is always right and I should settle down to be a good little wife”

    • rrlo

      Some people just like going around down-voting everything. What’s a really cool, EPIC statement (like the one you made) without a bit of controversy? =)

    • Kay_Sue

      Damn us all and our magnetic vaginas.

    • MellyG

      I hate how my vagina just lures men and in then spits em back out. DAMN my vagaina – it’s always my vagina’s fault :(

  • Andrea

    Ok, I will probably get SLAMMED for saying this, but here it goes:
    First of all, I am not about to give absentee fathers a pass. No way. However, women DO choose who to sleep with, do we not? I think we have to bear some responsibility as women when we choose to procreate with men who have no intention of sticking around.

    • Momma425

      Right, I’m sure every single man a woman has sex with makes his intentions of bolting faster than the second line on the pee stick turns pink.
      The only time that it is really the woman’s fault that a child is growing up without a father, IMO, is if:
      -She used a donor sample and intended to be a single parent (which is PERFECTLY FINE)
      -She got pregnant, and didn’t tell the father of the baby

    • Rebecca R

      Or if she doesn’t allow the father to see his children. It happens frequently, unfortunately.

    • Momma425

      I don’t know of ANY courts that will give mothers 100% full custody and grant zero visitation to fathers without some pretty good freaking grounds.

    • Rebecca R

      Not usually, but I have personally known people where visitation rights were not enforced unless a lawyer was involved to petition the judge, which costs the father more money than he generally has. I’m sure the laws differ by state, but often times it isn’t considered a top priority.

    • CMJ

      But how do they know?

      Is there a statistic for women who know the men won’t stay and still choose to procreate with them and keep the baby? I’ve never seen one.

    • Andrea

      I don’t know about any statistic, but I think it’s safe to say that there are many women who chose swag over a decent personality. I slept with men that I knew were not good for me or father material. I’m sure you did too.
      If I had gotten pregnant (which I didn’t only because I took pretty extraordinary measures), I knew I would be on my own.

    • CMJ

      “Choose to procreate” is different than having an unplanned pregnancy.

      And yes, I was with men that probably wouldn’t be good father material….but I was also not good mother material at that time so I wasn’t choosing to procreate with them. That would be where the unplanned pregnancy comes in and I would take care of it however I saw fit…

      That being said – I really don’t think there are women out there that actually CHOOSE to have and a keep a baby with a man who they KNOW will leave. If they are out there, the percentage is pretty low.

    • Imalia

      Choose to have, probably not, but choose to keep, absolutely. The father of my (unplanned) son bolted before I was out of my first trimester, I knew I would be on my own, I chose to continue with the pregnancy and raise my son alone anyway. I refuse to believe this makes me either a bad person, or a bad mother

    • CMJ

      I totally agree. I think there is a huge difference between choosing to to procreate with a man you know will bolt and an unplanned pregnancy.

    • Kay_Sue

      What exactly defines a man that won’t stick around versus a man that will? Because there are surprising men that stick around…and surprising ones that don’t. There’s no way to know.

      It’s kind of like saying, “Well, yeah, he never should have beat her, but she should have known he was the kind of man that beat women.” There are some character traits that just don’t come out until someone is under pressure.

    • brebay

      Oh, Kay_Sue, didn’t your momma teach you anything? tattoo=bolting after sex, brief case + nice car = committed father.

    • Kay_Sue

      I am so fucked. My husband has three tats, including a prominent one on his forearm, carries no briefcase, and drives a moderately okay (but only nice if you’re a grandfather) car. I should have known all seven years of being in this relationship and working together and committing were for naught! Whatever will I tell my kids when they grow up to be delinquents? :(

    • Gangle

      You can always comfort them with the knowledge that the sex was worth it!

    • Sara610

      But did you know that he was a good guy before you had kids? Two of my best friends are not married, but they’ve been in a committed relationship for 10 years and they have two kids together. The guy has long hair and tattoos, plays in a metal band, etc. He’s also one of the most committed, loving and involved fathers I’ve ever seen. But he and his partner were together for several years before they had their first baby–she was unplanned, but they knew each other well enough that by the time she came around, my girlfriend KNEW that he would stick around and be a good father.

      I think the issue is just in having kids with someone you don’t really know and then being surprised/upset when he doesn’t turn out to be father material.

    • Kay_Sue

      …really? I honestly didn’t think anyone could be that dense.

      I knew, but you know what? His ex-wife sure as hell didn’t when she got pregnant accidentally when they’d been dating for three weeks. And you know what he did? He made the decision to take care of his kid…and eventually his second daughter…because that’s what good people do, regardless of gender. He was scared, he was 17, he was a high school drop out, he worked part time at a super market, and he was a drug addict at the time, and HE STILL CHOSE TO TAKE CARE OF HIS CHILDREN. He got his life together, got his shit together, and worked three jobs before eventually joining the military. Even her mother referred to (and still refers to) the fact that he was from the wrong side of the track…Not only that, but they were actually broken up when she told him she was pregnant–so he could have cut and run. But he didn’t. BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT GOOD PEOPLE DO.

      The fact that she chose to sleep with someone she barely knew is irrelevant. Neither of them intended to get pregnant, neither of them wanted to, they took precautions, and they still got pregnant. At the end of it, the choice to be in his children’s lives was his, and his alone, and because he is a good person (I emphasize person because it is easy to forget in these discussions that women abandon their children too), he accepted that responsibility, because he understood a fact that apparently flies over your head: She didn’t just choose to have sex with him. He chose to have sex with her too.

      You probably should have just let the joke stand instead of raising my blood pressure this morning.

    • CMJ

      Is it just me or has this conversation turned into a “why do you sleep around so much, dumb ladies?”

    • Kay_Sue

      It really has. And it’s driving me nuts, just based off of this experience above, actually.

      In no way does my husband blame his ex for getting pregnant–he’s the first to say, “I was right there with her, and I brought the cheap condoms.”

    • Sara610

      This is really disappointing. I just responded to one of your former comments by acknowledging that you had a point and I would re-think my wording, although I stand by my original position–that women AS WELL AS men hold some responsibility for choosing their partners responsibly.

      I was under the impression that we were having a civil, rational discussion in which both participants could avoid throwing around insults and calling the other “dense” for differing with her viewpoint. Apparently, I was mistaken.

    • Kay_Sue

      The dense comment was due to the fact that you decided to use a joking comment as a chance to make a point, with no knowledge of the situation, whatsoever. Which, yes, comes across as dense, and I don’t see it as an insult when it’s applied to (and warranted) a specific behavior and situation, personally.

    • Sara610

      But aren’t we all just going off of what’s put out there, with nothing else to go on? Of course I don’t have any more information than what you provided; that’s the very nature of Internet comment boards. If that’s the litmus test that we’re using, then no one should ever respond to anyone else’s anecdotal stories unless they also know the person in real life. If I knew you in real life, for example, perhaps I would know that you’re not okay with a joke being used as a jumping-off point for a serious discussion–although granted, the particular nature of this discussion is clearly more sensitive. But using a joke as a jumping-off point for serious discussion is something that I’m fine with, so it never occurred to me that you would have such a problem with it. Now that I know that about you, I’ll try to remember in the future. But I hardly think it’s “dense” to fail to somehow deduce that a stranger, who I’ve never met before, is going to take offense to something that I see all the time and generally doesn’t seem to cause a problem. This is one of the weaknesses of online communication–it doesn’t have the backing of personal connection or face-to-face cues. It doesn’t mean that one person is “dense” or stupid; it just is.

      One of the things I love about Mommyish is that the comment threads generally stay fairly civil and cool-headed, even when differing opinions arise. It’s one of the reasons that the discussion on here (unlike most Internet forums) is fairly intelligent and productive.

    • Kay_Sue

      The way that you phrased your comment wasn’t a jumping point for a discussion, my friend.

      By your second sentence, you had implied that I legitimately believed that any of that was the difference between a decent person and one who wasn’t. You also, like in the comment below, neglected to consider the breadth of experiences that could result in single motherhood.

      I don’t mind a joke as the jumping point for a discussion, even if the opinion is different from mine. What I did mind was that the joke was already making the same point–that you can’t tell who will be a good parent–and your comment very quickly missed it, and tried to steer into the direction that your opinion pointed, when in fact, the situation was much different.

    • Sara610

      Let me try to figure this out. Did you read my comment (and there are so many of them by now, it’s getting complicated) as saying that I believed that YOU see things like tattoos, etc. as the difference between a decent person versus not? That absolutely was not what I meant. At all. Not even by a mile.

      As to your second point, I made a comment waaaaay up at the top of the thread (in response to someone else, although my comment is signed “Guest” for reasons that escape me) about my late MIL, who was herself a single mother. After her abusive husband left her with four kids to raise alone. So believe me, I absolutely understand that there are a whole myriad of ways that a woman can become a single mother–sometimes by poor decision making, and others by circumstances beyond her control. Sometimes a woman is just dealt a shitty hand in life and has to deal with it the best way she knows how.

      Look, I don’t need to apologize for or explain my convictions. I do, however, realize that I’ve apparently done a monumentally poor job of communicating them, based on your response. I’m not really sure where to go from here, except to say that I’ll take a look at what I’ve said and try to figure out where I gave the impression that I universally blame single mothers for their situation. Because I don’t, but I clearly communicated, somewhere along the line, the exact opposite.

    • Kay_Sue

      I don’t expect you to apologize. It’s the internet; I’m honestly not taking this seriously. It’s cold, my heat is broken, I am stuck at my mother’s because she has heat, and my toddler is napping, so I’m replying because I’m enjoying. Otherwise, I honestly wouldn’t have bothered, because I know that a good bit of this is just that what you’re trying to communicate isn’t coming across the way you intend it to. I’ve actually enjoyed this, because you seem reasonable, unlike some of the other commenters, and even my comment above wasn’t intended as an insult. I was just shocked that you seemed to want to take a joke seriously.

    • Sara610

      Ehhhh….that may be another part of the “internet conversation is different than face-to-face conversation”. No vocal or facial cues to go by, so it’s harder to tell a “hey, here’s a serious comment wrapped up as a joke” vs. “no, this is really just a joke–let’s move on”. If we had been having this conversation in person at a dinner party, it’s very likely that I would have realized it was the latter. Internet communication is great for a lot of things, but perfect it is not.

      And that royally sucks about your heat. Thank God you had a place you could go that has it……

    • brebay

      Uh, you did know the tattoo thing was a joke, right?

    • Sara610

      Wow, I’m guessing that my point is really not coming across the way I intended. (This is no one else’s fault, nor is it necessarily my fault; I think this just happens sometimes when communication is online as opposed to face-to-face.)

      I gather that my comments are coming across as a condemnation of single mothers, which is absolutely not my intention. I do believe (and I actually see this as a great source of empowerment, not a burden) that women can and should choose who they sleep with and have children with carefully, and I refuse to apologize for that; however, I’ll have to re-read my comments to see where I gave the impression that single mothers are to blame for their situation. Because clearly at some point I did, even though I didn’t mean to and I don’t believe they are.

    • Blueathena623

      I think in this case it would help your case if we had some statistics about women purposefully getting pregnant by men who are vocal about not being dads.
      There are stats on unplanned pregnancies, however, and there are a lot of those.

    • Sara610

      Maybe, but I don’t believe I ever said (nor do I believe) that a significant number of single moms got pregnant on purpose by men who clearly don’t want to be fathers. If I’d said that, then yes, I’d make sure to be able to back it up with some statistics, because that is one hell of an argument to make.

    • CMJ

      Oh man. I’m screwed. My husband has four…collarbone, oblique, hand, and upper arm….
      No briefcase (he carries a backpack to work). We share a car (THE HUMANITY).

      My unborn children are already abandoned.

    • Sara610

      But what about waiting to sleep with a man until you have a pretty good idea of what his character is? I’ve never been in this situation, so I admit I can’t speak from experience. But it seems like the kind of guy who would skip out on a pregnant girlfriend would show other signs of character flaws–reneging on commitments, wiggling out of things when they get hard, etc.

      I’m with Andrea–absentee fathers don’t get a free pass, but don’t we as women bear some responsibility for a) choosing who we sleep with wisely and b) having some standards in not sleeping with men who clearly don’t deserve our time or attention? (My views here are somewhat skewed by watching my little sister date asshole after asshole, guys who are immature and treat her poorly and she STILL chooses to sleep with them without requiring that they treat her with any kind of respect in return. It’s very disheartening.)

    • Kay_Sue

      Let me answer your question with a question.

      Why do you ask me, “What about waiting to sleep with a man until she knows him better?” versus “Why do people not wait to sleep together until they know each other better?”

      The reason why is simple: we still blame women for getting pregnant.

      Why not ask, “Why doesn’t this guy wait to sleep with this woman until he knows her better?”? He is just as knowledgeable, I assume, in what causes pregnancy. He knows there are laws that will require him to be financially responsible for a child. And yet, his decision-making is rarely questioned.

      Single motherhood encompasses a wide range of experiences. You have women that are single mothers by choice–sometimes through artificial methods, sometimes just because they realize that the man in question isn’t ready or is abusive or for some other reason unfit to be a father. You have women that are single mothers because men leave. You have women that are (technically) single mothers that have simply chosen never to marry but have a strong and healthy relationship with their partner. You have women that were married and are now divorced. You have women that were in a wonderful and committed relationship that changed when they got pregnant. With such a wide range of experiences and potential reasons, it’s insane to point the finger and say, “Women bear part of the responsibility because they slept with him knowing how he was.” It’s equally plausible that they had no idea.

      And at the end of it all, yes, she slept with him. And he slept with her. And they knew it could make a baby. And yet, when it did, he chose to walk away. Unless she did not tell him she was pregnant, he owns that choice entirely. Regardless of the relationship status, he could have chosen to be a father, and he did not. The “she should have known better” reasoning is just another way of taking personal accountability away from that decision.

    • Sara610

      I see your point on my wording. Yes, the responsibility for choosing partners wisely and responsibly lies with both men AND women. In my view, the issue of absentee fathers is one that rests at the feet of both sexes.

    • rrlo

      I disagree. Similarly, I would not say that the issue of the absentee mother is one that rests at the feet of both sexes either.

      The issue of the absentee parent rests at the feet of the parent himself or herself. We are sentient beings and are responsible for our own decision and choices.

      Women are not responsible for fatherless households. They are only responsible for motherless ones.

    • Sara610

      Ah, but I didn’t say that the responsibility for “absentee fathers” rests at the feet of both sexes. I said the responsibility for choosing partners wisely rests at the feet of both sexes. It’s a small difference, but an important one.

      Women have control over who they choose to sleep with, and if they get pregnant, they have control (or should have control, anyway) over how they proceed–whether by terminating the pregnancy, or giving the baby up for adoption, or keeping the baby. But assuming that the father is part of the decision (meaning the mother has TOLD him that she’s pregnant), women hold absolutely no responsibility for fathers who choose not to be part of the picture. That’s solely on them.

    • rrlo

      Sorry I disagreed on the wrong sentiment. Yes, choosing partners wisely is responsibility of both men and women.

      I disagree with your earlier statement that women bear any responsibility towards the fathers decision to be not involved.

    • Sara610

      Oh, I get it. When I said the bit about “it seems like a man who would skip out on a pregnant girlfriend would show other signs of character flaws” or something like that. Yes, I’m definitely willing to acknowledge that that might not always be the case–as someone else said, some people are great until the rubber hits the road, but then as soon as things get tough, they cut and run. And you might not know until you’re actually in that situation that the person you thought was honest and reliable is actually a total flake.

      There are just too many shades of gray. But once you start a sexual relationship with someone, pregnancy is a potential consequence, and BOTH partners have the responsibility to do the right thing. If keeping the baby is in the picture, and one of them cuts and runs, the cutter/runner holds all the blame for that particular situation. It doesn’t matter whether you stay in a long-term relationship with the other partner; once you have a child, you’re responsible for that child. Period.

    • rrlo

      I think we’re generally in agreement.

      If you read Tranton’s original article though, he is laying the majority of the blame on women for fatherless household.

      He says and I quote “Nonetheless, the vast majority of children who are growing up without
      fathers are doing so in large part because of their mothers’ choices.” To me, that makes NO sense at all.

    • Sara610

      Ooooooooh. Oh, hell no…….

  • Momma425

    Nonetheless, the vast majority of children who are growing up without fathers are doing so in large part because of their mothers’ choices.
    AND their father’s choices:
    -To have sex with the mothers and get them pregnant despite them being (apparantly) not reliable wife/mother material.
    -To not be part of their child’s life. Because, you know, you could always choose to be a parent to your child even if you DON’T marry that child’s mother.

    • Kay_Sue

      This is so true. I wish I could upvote you a million and one times.

  • Kay_Sue

    And now my head hurts. Of course it’s not absentee fathers fault; obviously they would be there if their partners were just *better women*. Of course. Of course.

    And I am part of the problem. I wasn’t married at the birth of either of my children. So someone should inform my husband, post haste, that I am, in fact, an unreliable wife. Please, ladies, see to it that he is informed, I can’t be relied on to do it myself…

  • Gretta

    Probably both are right, really. Ensuring your children are raised in a two parent household takes commitment, sacrifice and good judgement from both parties….

    • brebay

      Leaving a spouse/partner who becomes a danger or poor influence to your children and doing it on your own rather than forcing your children to live in a dysfunctional home just for the money takes commitment, sacrifice, and good judgment as well.

    • Gretta

      Yep sounds like that partner dropped their end of the deal. That’s why I said both people.

    • Gretta

      Really? Three dislikes? Are all the women on here so deluded into thinking they bear no responsibility for the environment their children grow up in? This doesn’t mean women bear all the responsibility or that men bear none ….. just that both parents’ decisions shape their children’s reality.

    • brebay

      I think it was just worded wonky, I read it as, if your kids aren’t being raised in a 2-parent household, then the parents weren’t committed, didn’t sacrifice or use good judgment. And of course, even when both parents do, it still may be best for all to get a divorce. I think I got what you meant in your follow-up comment, I think that one is just easy to misinterpret, which happens when all we have are words with none of the non-verbal cues.

    • NYBondLady

      Yes, many of the women on here are that deluded. They’d pick the freedom of casual sex and thriving careers over the beneficial outcomes that a 2-parent household provides. (Of course you can have both, it’s just much harder to “have it all.”) Welcome to Mommyish!

    • rrlo

      I fail to see how fighting for women’s rights to have careers and sex for pleasure (over procreation) are related to the breakdown of the 2 parent household.

    • NYBondLady

      Is this a joke? Then please explain.

    • rrlo

      Not a joke at all. From your statement, it sounds like increased reproductive rights/ options for women and their desire for financial independence are negatively impacting the 2 parent household?

      “women here are that deluded…they pick freedom of casual sex (increased reproductive rights) and thriving careers (financial independence) over… the 2-parent household”

      If that’s not what you are saying, then I apologize. If that is what you’re saying, then I wholeheartedly disagree.

    • NYBondLady

      I know you disagree. That’s why I asked you to explain, I’d like to know what is the reason for the decline of the 2 parent household? Based on the comments here, you’d think it is because the quality of men have declined over the past 50 years while women continue to improve. But somehow I don’t think this would be correct (can you imagine if a men’s website stated that the reason single parenthood is on the decline is because women generally suck at life nowadays?)

    • rrlo

      I would say the decline of the 2 parent household is because of the increase in
      rates of divorce. (Unless, does a household with joint custody still count as a two parent household?)

      According to a recent survey, the top reasons for divorce were:

      1) Falling out of love – 27%
      2 ) Extra marital affair – 25%
      3) Unreasonable behaviour – 17% (not sure what that means – abuse, maybe?)

      None of which have much to do with women having careers or reproductive rights, and can happen in a very traditional household.

      You
      can “blame” the decline of the 2 parent household on the fact that
      divorce is more acceptable now – and falling out of love is considered a
      valid reason for seeking a divorce – when fifty years ago it would not
      have been.

      It is also true that women file for divorce more often than men, but it is also true statistically that men are more likely to cheat or have substance abuse problems. And I don’t know if working women file for divorce more often than non-working women.

      I believe the quality of life for women have improved drastically over the last 50 years – less women dying at childbirth etc. Not necessarily the quality of women – I wouldn’t know how to measure that.

    • Sara610

      Why does it have to be either/or? I have a thriving career and a very pleasurable sex life, partly due to the freedom of having reliable birth control and not having to worry, every time I sleep with my husband, that the encounter will result in a pregnancy that I’m not prepared for.

      My daughter is also being raised in a loving, devoted two-parent household, by a mother AND a father who are equally involved and invested in her.

      I’m not saying that working mothers don’t have to make ANY sacrifices–of course we do–but the idea that you have to choose between a satisfying career and sex life OR a stable, two-parent home is mystifying to me.

    • NYBondLady

      I don’t think you read the rest of the comment. I said it IS possible, just harder to do.

    • Sara610

      No, I read your whole comment. But if it’s possible to have both (even if it is harder), then why does choosing thriving careers and great sex a matter of picking it OVER a stable, two-parent household, as you said? Choosing one OVER the other implies a requirement of choice. If there’s no requirement of choice, you can choose to have one AND the other. As many women do, very successfully.

    • rrlo

      Yes, women bear responsibility for the children’s environment.

      However, women and their decisions cannot be held responsible for how much involvement a man wants to have in his children’s lives (unless they are actively cutting fathers out of the kids lives).

      Even if a single woman fails with contraception and decides not to have an abortion, the father’s decision not be involved in the child’s life is related to her choices.

    • rrlo

      Oops, the father’s decision not be involved in the child’s life is NOT related to her choices.

    • Sara610

      I see where you’re coming from, actually. I know this is going to be unpopular, but my view is that women do bear a certain amount of responsibility for choosing the men who they procreate with carefully. Having a baby is a major step, not to be taken lightly–and therefore, choosing sexual partners and using birth control fastidiously are major decisions that women AND men have responsibility for making carefully. (Of course, this requires universal access to and knowledge about birth control *cough TEXAS cough*, but that’s a discussion for a whole other day……..)

      I think the issue that many readers (including myself) have with the article here is the “one-size-fits-all” tone. ALL single mothers are in that position because they were irresponsible trollops who made bad choices. No provisions for women whose husbands suddenly turned abusive or alcoholic, or for naive girls who sleep with their boyfriends thinking a happy “baby makes three” future is ahead, only to find that the boyfriend skips town at the first sign of responsibility. There are too many shades of gray in this particular issue to assign all the blame to one party–every situation is different.

    • guest

      I agree. We are fighting for birth control access and abortion access, partly so that all births may be planned and chosen. I don’t say that to suggest women (particularly but not only unmarried women) feel forced or pressured to get an abortion or even to be on birth control given the side effects. But the reality is, women have a never-before-seen amount of control over whether they bring a child into the world (much more control than a man has) and as a result of that POWER I place some responsibility to bring a child into the world as responsibly as possible. I certainly think single parents can be responsible parents, poor parents can be responsible parents, etc. etc. Once a child is in the world, both parents should take responsibility for it, of course.

      Agree completely about the second part of your comment including the difference of each individual situation and the importance of respecting it. That includes women who leave abusive co-parent men, but also men who leave abusive co-parent women.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    Ah, marvellous, a good old fashioned romp through nonsense ideas! Best get my lady self back into the kitchen to bake a pie! Home, Jeeves, and don’t spare the horses!

    • Kay_Sue

      You left the kitchen?!

      You stroppy trollop!

    • Mel

      Well done with the “stroppy!” You win!

    • Kay_Sue

      I was excited to have the opportunity to use my newly acquired vocabulary tidbit.

    • EX

      Bet you put on shoes too.

  • MellyG

    It’s always good to be reminded that everything is the fault of ladies…..all of the world’s problems – all the fault of lady bits! Damn my lady bits causing so many problems

  • brebay

    I love how every time they look at this, they frame it as being raised by a single mother is bad for kids rather than being abandoned by your father is bad for kids. Yes, women get custody more often then men, but that’s because they ASK for it more than men, Men leave more often than women, default on custody (getting served and not showing up to court or filing an answer,) and men agree pre-trial to less than full custody more than women. When you look at the statistics where both parents were represented, both asked for full custody and went through the court process, the numbers are practically equal. Having an absentee parent hurts a kid, and fathers are absentee at higher rates than mothers. But, by all means, let’s blame the parent who stayed, not the one who left.

    • Lackadaisical

      Yes, the courts are not as unfair to fathers (or mothers) as most people assume and most people who decide on custody are professionals who care and are trying to figure out the best situation for the children. I do know fathers who have custody of children with an absentee mother, just as I know families where it is the other way round. Most split families I know are a compromise where both parents see their kids regularly, but obviously that is only possible where both parents want to be around.

      The other factor in public perception is working hours. While many mothers work long hours and there are plenty of stay at home fathers, in the area where I live (and this could be down to demographics and not true elsewhere) on average most mums I know have a work schedule better suited to being the main carer, with the kids spending most of the week with their mum while the father has them on their days off. A lot of younger kids I know live with mum most of the week and then see dad for a chunk of the weekend. While this is not a case of absentee dad it does skew peoples perception of how biased courts are. Hypothetically were my husband and I to ever split he would have to have the kids in childcare for almost all of the day if he had them in the week, which neither of us would want. That would not be a case of biased courts and jealous mum but would at to the statistics that people use to claim that evil courts and mothers keep dads away.

  • brebay

    Does it ever dawn on these people that their constant media harping on “traditional families” sends a message to kids daily that they are not as good if they don’t have two parents? I don’t think anyone has studied what the daily preaching of the “(conservative) family values” movement does to people who don’t have a traditional family, or any family at all. Yes, you tell people long enough that they’re less and they’ll believe it. “If you don’t have a family as we define it, you’re not of value.” If we can blame magazines for poor body image in girls, we can certainly address the constant message about how boys without fathers are destined for prison.

    • Lackadaisical

      Yes, telling people that they are going to be delinquents because their family isn’t the way tradition tells them it should be doesn’t help the confidence of kids, particularly if their parents’ relationship with each other is already bitter and difficult. It also tells people it is ok to write a kid off as a ne’er do well because you don’t approve of their family set up.

    • tristan the great

      No, it doesn’t, because it is highly speculative and without proof. History shows that the basic buildign blocks for all societies is the nuclear family. This “traditional family” is not somethign people made up. It is a proven construct that has stood the test of time.
      So, rather than place the blame on traditionalists, how about we blace the blame where it should lie, on deadbeat men who are’t willing to make the sacrifices to stick it out.
      If you are blaming a magazine for a girl’s poor body image, rather than an absent father who is not there to instill a sense of self worth in his daughter, then you are be greatly misled.

  • brebay

    Remind me again, just so I know I haven’t lost my mind, this party stands where on birth control?

  • Byron

    Reading this, it sounded like it spoke of women who had casual sex with multiple partners and didn’t know which one was the father of the kid. In this case the father doesn’t even KNOW he is a father and this is due to the choice of the woman in not knowing how to contact someone who she slept with or not wanting to let the person know that he might have a kid so that he’d get DNA tested etc.

    I mean, yeah, if you have sex with a girl you’re responsible too but there’s not much you can actually DO about it if she’s gone and you never hear from her again and have no number to call. Hell, I’d say the men are actually victims here because they’re being robbed of the joy of raising their children.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      How did it sound like that? Please, quote something that brought you to that conclusion because I am seriously confused.

    • Byron

      That’s the only way that makes sense I could come up with that shows the onus of responsibility being on the women more than on the men. Basically, it’s either that, or the writer’s a raving idiot. I was trying to give the benefit of the doubt for the sake of a more interesting discussion.

    • brebay

      I still don’t see how that puts the blame more on the woman than the multiple (obviously monogamous) men having sex with her.

    • Byron

      It’s the fact that women have the option to contact the father and they’re the one who find out they became pregnant. Even if the man has her contact details, would it make sense for him to call 9 moths after their one night stand and ask if she had a baby?

      Basically, in that one-off setting there’s not much the man can do but there are a couple things that a woman can but may choose not to do and in making this choice, she becomes responsible for the fatherlessness of the child. You can’t be an absentee father if you don’t know you’re a father in the first place. You need to be made aware of it and you must make that choice.

    • Kay_Sue

      You really think that scenario happens more often than men walk out on relationships when they don’t want to be a father? Enough to cause a societal trend?

      I’d like to know what rock you’ve been living under, because it must be a nice place.

    • Byron

      I didn’t say it was more frequent. I’m not sure what this even has to do with anything. It doesn’t have to set a trend in order for it to occur and if it occuring is what was being discussed, the argument has some merit to it.

      Weather you wanna say it’s short-sighted or doesn’t apply enough for it to matter or whatever you’re trying to say here, that’s a different issue.

    • Kay_Sue

      If that’s what the author is saying–if he really is only referring to women that never inform their partner that they are pregnant–then it would have to occur at such a rate to cause the societal trends of the study that he is referencing in his piece. So yes, by that measure, in order for any of your comments to be relevant to this discussion, the scenario you describe would have to occur at such a frequency to cause those results.

    • Paul Crittenden

      The US Census Bureau states their information is incomplete on this issue, as certain facets were not even explored. What I did read is that at least 60% of divorces resulted in the “binuclear family” as two homes are involved. This speaks nothing about cohabitation failures, so there is no data to support your assertion. The only trends I found were that marriages and divorces are declining, while births among unmarried but cohabitating parents are increasing, as was the percentage of men taking full custody of their children (it’s at its highest in history). I’m sure there are some that are part of your assertion, but I doubt as prolific or “trending”. Maybe you’ve got proof?

    • Kay_Sue

      My point actually wasn’t that it’s more likely or that it occurs more often–only that it, and the multitude of other scenarios that result in unwed motherhood are equally plausible, especially in light of the lack of solid research into what everyone seems to think is a major issue. Trying to portray one scenario as the main reason why there are significantly higher number of unwed births comes across as naive.

    • Paul Crittenden

      Naïve? That’s rich, but condescension would be your only angle, considering how narcissistic one would have to be to focus on blame, rather than the children these studies are addressing.

    • Kay_Sue

      Yeah, you’ve not been condescending in the slightest. Naïveté isn’t a negative trait, in and of itself, and so I don’t find it condescending to point out that only looking at one (or two) potential scenarios is naive.

      The blame for a child without a parent–whether that missing parent is a mother or a father–is solely on the shoulders of the person that decided to abandon that child, except in the cases where the custodial parent restricts access to the child (which is in abhorrent) or in the cases of women that may conceal that they are pregnant. Two people decided to have sex, a baby resulted, and one person decided to walk away–yes, that person is to blame. Yes, that blame should be assigned, because parents (regardless of gender) in these situations need to understand that children aren’t something you can just walk away from. Looking for personal accountability in society at large isn’t narcissistic; it is, however, pretty naive, I admit.

      But, I know that you’re not going to make this differentiation, which is fine–everyone’s entitled to an opinion. So I’m going to make this my last response to you, Paul, in the hopes of this not tying up the rest of my afternoon because I can’t leave a dead horse be.

      Thank you, however, for the reminder to be more clear in the things that I post. My initial comment that you responded to could be easily construed as sexist, and that was not my intention. There are more good men out there than bad ones, and I truly didn’t mean to imply otherwise.

    • Paul Crittenden

      That was one of the most egocentric rants I’ve ever read. The blame is inherent, and as obvious as the potential for hot coffee to burn you. Yes, both parents are to blame, and some people need warning labels. Too bad the children still need help, huh? But hey, as long as you can point a finger. Kids, today! Until then….

    • brebay

      Not much the man can do? Ever hear of a condom, Byron?

    • Gangle

      Are you suggesting that men have no control over reproduction? Last time I heard, safe sex is an equal-opportunity thing. And I think the percentage of women that choose not to contact the father (or possible fathers) at all is pretty low. I have known a few women who have fallen pregnant during a time of, erm, ‘promiscuity’, and as far as I know, the only ones that didn’t make some sort of attempt to contact the father were the ones who opted to terminate the pregnancy. Most of the ‘fatherless’ families I know of happened because the father scrammed or the mother fought for full custody due to safety reasons.

    • Paul Crittenden

      At the same time, Byron, unprotected sex merits a follow up, out of respect for yourself and your partner. Pregnancy is only part of the equation. There are many diseases you can spread nowadays that have no cure. Yes, ultimately the woman has the burden of deciding to go full-term or not, but you helped put her in that position.

    • Gangle

      If they guy has no number to call, then what makes you assume the woman has a number to call? In your own words, there is not much she can do about it if he is gone and you never hear from him again and have no number to call. So you could argue that the man abandoned the woman after sex with no way of contacting him in the event of a pregnancy. In that case you would have to say the woman and the child are the victims, not the man. It goes both ways.

    • ElleJai

      I understood the position of devil’s advocate you’ve taken up for this comment, and I share the genuine confusion of “wtf is with that writer?!”.

      However, may I suggest that you were potentially picking your audience unwisely?

    • rrlo

      Agreed. Everyone is too riled up (and rightly so) by the extremely offensive comments made by Taranto to get into a devil’s advocate type discussion.

    • rrlo

      If you read the original article by James Taranto – he lays out a bunch of scenarios of fatherlessness etc. and then asks the question what causes it:

      “So what does? In our view, a dramatic change in incentives owing to two major social changes..”

      Then, he answers himself:

      “first is the rise of female careerism–the expectation that most women
      will spend most of their adult lives (rather than just the period when
      they are single) in the workforce.”

      “The second is the introduction of the pill, which the Food and Drug
      Administration approved for contraceptive use in 1960. It made
      nonmarital sex far more easily available, reducing the incentive for men
      to marry.”

      Then he brilliantly draws the following conclusion “Female choice is paramount in the reproductive area…” and that “the vast majority of children who are growing up without fathers are doing so in large part because of their mothers’ choices.”

      If you follow his logic, he isn’t talking about women who have multiple partners and hiding her pregnancy from the father – he is talking about ALL women. As if before women had more rights and contraception there weren’t abandoned babies.

      James Taranto’s conclusions are pure drivel as he essentially blames children growing up without fathers on women and their choices. Everything in quotation is directly from the article – read it for yourself.

    • pixie

      The pill making non-marital sex more easily available? Tell that to anyone who was a teenager/young adult before 1960.

      Silly Taranto, are you forgetting condoms?

    • rrlo

      I know! Honestly, men should be just as offended by Taranto’s stupid comments as women are. The pill and contraception in general made the world a better place for both men and women – whether married or not.

      I don’t think any man would complain about being able to have sex without the risk of procreating every time.
      Ugh, reading between the lines I think it’s the control that the pill provides women that bothers Taranto. Because with a condom, only the man decides when he can have baby or not…

  • Paul Crittenden

    I don’t know why he puts the blame solely on women, but after reading her kneejerk diatribe, and some of the accompanying responses that assign all blame to men, it’s easy to ascertain all finger-pointers possess a plethora of misinformation and narcissism. Different factors exist in EVERY relationship failure, but the focus should be on the children and their futures–not your war on men or women.

  • Rowan

    Yup, he’s absolutely right. It was my choice to raise my son without a father. Far better to stay married to a lying, cheating alcoholic than to be a (gasp!) Single Mum.

    • Sara610

      Yup. My late MIL should have just stayed with her husband and let him keep beating her up rather than becoming one of the legion of Satan’s mistresses known as “single mothers”. Better yet, she should have been able to predict, before marrying him, that he would turn out to be an abusive wife-beater. Even though she was raised in a culture that taught girls, “You don’t need an education or skills to support yourself, just get married and your husband will take care of you!”

  • Lackadaisical

    For shame fellow women, it is our duty to use the magical powers of vaginas to prevent pregnancies when penises that are innocently minding their own business fall in. Better still we should remember that nice, good mothers don’t have sex outside of marraige but those poor, maligned absent fathers can’t be blamed for the consequences of sleeping around with those naughty women who do say yes.

    I do understand that sometimes the father doesn’t chose to be absent from his kids lives and that not all women are blameless when it comes to break ups and giving access to kids. However, just as two x chromosomes don’t automatically qualify you for sainthood with regards to motherhood and break ups they also don’t make us the villain either. I know a lot of single mothers and while many are jealous of time with the child and bitter at the break up, most of them are desperate for the father to have any part in the kids life whatsoever.

    • pixie

      I want to make a woman superhero that yells VAGINA POWER as she transforms. And uses the “magical powers of vaginas”.

      Clearly I need more sleep before I begin reading comment sections.

  • Bic

    The real problem is the variables are so great that there isn’t one solution to help the problem. Certainly men leave and have no contact, but i’ve also known women who want a fresh start and that doesn’t include their previous partner even if they had children together.

  • Notlikeanyonereadsthese

    1. Hymowitz is a columnist, not a psychologist/scientist. She does not have “findings” or “research”, she as a journalists opinion. This was not a peer reviewed scholarly article, it was a newspaper article.
    2. I am a psychologist.
    3. Research shows that all boys are more likely than girls to commit crimes. Yes those from single parent homes have higher rates, but it’s for both genders.
    4. It has nothing to do with needing a man or a woman as a parent. It is about having TWO ADULTS to wrangle them. Two sets of eyes to keep an eye, two heads to help with homework, and two sets of hands to make dramatic gestures with while lecturing. One person can’t be expected to keep things under control as effectively or efficiently as two people. It has jack to do with gender.

  • G.E. Phillips

    I can’t even entertain this. I feel sorry for the guy who wrote this.

    • G.E. Phillips

      Yay for whoever downvoted leaving someone who endangered my newborn’s life. Winning!

    • Sara610

      I think someone is going through and just randomly downvoting things. Some of these don’t make any sense at all.

    • laurie66bay

      Why were you having sex with an alcoholic? And why did you think an alcoholic would make a good partner to potentially have children with?

    • G.E. Phillips

      Not that I need to explain myself to you, but he had been sober for more than 3 years by the time I got pregnant. He fell off the wagon about a month before I had our son, and we were in the process of getting him back on track when that incident happened and I left. Thanks for judging, though.

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    Man, the term ‘fatherless’ really irritates me. My kid is ‘fatherless’ – she’s got 2 moms though, so maybe she’s ‘motherful’ instead of ‘fatherless’?

    • Sara610

      Doesn’t matter if she has two awesome mothers–the father is the missing piece. No dad, no magical penis in the picture, hopelessly damaged environment in which to raise a child. Sorry!

  • gothicgaelicgirl

    *blinks at screen*
    *blinks again*

    HEADDESK!

  • Cliff

    Funny how these guys define themselves entirely by how women behave. Thus entirely depriving themselves of agency. How manly of them. Tools

  • pineapplegrasss

    Why is it that single moms (unmarried) are so often looked at as the only parent? It doesn’t really make any difference, except statistically- about marriage and reproduction. A man doesn’t have to marry the mother of the child to be a good father. He doesn’t even have to live with the mother of the child to be a good father. There are plenty of men who completely abandon their children and create a situation where that child has only one parent, a mother, and vice versa. It annoys me how the term single mom is always assumed to be a situation of absent dad. And then statistics for unwed mothers are used, not taking into account what the family life is really like for the children. One could technically be a single mother and have a child with 4 wonderful loving parents and 2 thriving households.

  • Cori

    Just because a man isn’t married toto the mother of his children, doesn’t mean he can’t be a responsible, present father.

  • elegantapple

    I think people need to start choosing better partners, and I also think people shouldn’t get pregnant so quickly. Both parties, the man and the woman, are equally guilty. If a man isn’t ready to commit to a woman, he shouldn’t be getting her pregnant. If a woman has chosen an incompatible man, she shouldn’t let him get her pregnant. When it comes to divorced parents, where the mother has complete custody, it lets me know that she and her ex somehow weren’t compatible. That’s why I say try your best to chose good partners.

    I’m very thankful my father stayed in my life, even though he didn’t get along with my mom very well. He has done a lot and has been a supportive, responsible father. We don’t always get along, but I appreciate his patience.

    However, I think the feminists movement made women believe in this “I’m an independent woman! I don’t need a man” attitude, and that pushed men away. This attitude has made women feel that they can just get pregnant by any man, and if the men are no good and not around to raise the kids, the women can get on welfare and receive child support from them. It’s almost as if the government has become the father of some of the fatherless kids in America. Sometimes the mothers have to play “both parents.” You even hear about American men rejecting American women, and wanting to marry women from other countries due to this rivalry between men and women.

    Ladies, it IS kind of our fault. Our hands are not that clean!

    I’m not saying kids can’t grow up without a father and be good people. I’m not saying that women are the bad ones; I am saying that men aren’t the only ones to blame.

    • pineapplegrasss

      some of this I agree with, but an independent, I don’t need a man to have a baby type of woman would also not need SNAP or Child Support…

    • Mike K

      You are correct that both man and woman have the ability to prevent conception. But only the woman has the option to prevent birth. Every single child born fatherless (as opposed to those who become fatherless due to divorce or death) was a choice made by the mother.

    • elegantapple

      Why would any women want to bring a child into a compromising situation?

  • tristan the great

    “It just may be that boys growing up where fathers—and men more generally—appear superfluous confront an existential problem: Where do I fit in? Who needs me, anyway?”
    What kind of psycho babble crap is this? As a father (and I must admit a conservative) I just agree with the author 100%. Working men and women aren’t in a competition, they are PARTNERS.
    IMHO, there are many challenges that face men and their sons and may make them confront their place in the world, but strong, capable working women aren’t one of them.

  • wcvarones

    He’s got a point there!

  • laurie66bay

    I think Taranto makes some valid points. Its time we stopped closing ourselves off to potential ideas and solutions just because we don’t like the people or entities that propose them. I’m going to look more into this Taranto fellow.

  • Mike K

    His basic point is sound. Since the choice to keep a child is 100% in the hands of the mother, then for all scenarios where the father was never going to be in the picture in the first place, the mother is “choosing” to give birth to a raise a ‘fatherless’ child.

  • Arab225

    Love reading the comments from these petulant/naive women. Yes you ARE the cause of the problem since abortion was available to you but you refused and decided to give birth. Men can’t give birth to children so it is not illogical why they wouldn’t feel any kind of connection to the child unless they were married to the mother.

    Men should NEVER have to pay child support unless they consented to the child being born. It is ridiculous to say men’s reproductive rights ends at ejaculation….last I checked sperm donors don’t have to pay child support and if a man does not want the kid neither should he. This would force you women to abort thus ending father less children as we know it.

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  • Brian Sorensen

    You commenters have your heads so far up your misandrist asses, you can even begin to see the pain and agony that bashing and hating your ex’s and men in general causes your sons. I think he has a very good point, there are LOTS of mothers that do everything in their power to keep their ex husbands as far from his children as possible, as a way to get back at him and make him look like a deadbeat to the judge in family court. And all single mothers ignore their children to pursue their own interests, whether its their career or finding a new husband. And lastly, single mothers never take accountability for their epic fuck up, they blame everything on their ex husbands because its easier than admitting you selfishly fucked up. i am the son of a single mother who put her career before her children and kept out father away. In middle school and high school i attended an afterschool support group that focused on coping and how to end fatherlessness. almost everyone who went with me was fatherles. When we shared our stories of how our parents divorce was going, it was always the same thing, the pattern was obvious. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

    • Brian Sorensen

      The lot of you are just as much to blame as the fathers, some of the time, I don’t blame the man for leaving you, you all do your part to drive him up a wall and out of the house too. Take some responsibility for the fucked up things you did and the things you failed to do.