Shame On You, For Shaming Me

SHAME: verb (used with object), shamed, shaming.
to cover with ignominy or reproach; disgrace.

There are people in this world who believe being a single parent is the downfall of the American people. In 1992, I vividly remember then Vice President Dan Quayle publicly shamed Murphy Brown, a fictitious character from a TV series called Murphy Brown.

While giving a speech to Commonwealth Club of California, May 19, 1992, he said, “Bearing babies irresponsibly is simply wrong. We must be unequivocal about this. It doesn’t help matters when prime time TV has Murphy Brown — a character who supposedly epitomizes today’s intelligent, highly paid, professional woman — mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another “lifestyle choice.”

I’d laugh about him shaming a TV character if it weren’t for the fact that politicians have followed in suit. Such as, presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who said we should shame young women who have children out of wedlock. He mentions the fathers walking away from their responsibility as well, but is shame the way to get compliance with the idea of a two parent household or abstinence?

Well, let me tell you Mr. Presidential Hopeful and former Vice President, I got the guilt covered. Plus, didn’t you sanction my choice with your stance on abortion.  Your double talk is confusing, but just for the record, let me give you glance in to my guilt ridden, self-shaming exercises I practice on myself on a daily.

  1. Every morning as I go off to work. I lament leaving this perfect being I built in bed to trot off to a job where I make good money, but there could always be more. The thing is, I need to make sure my human is clothed, fed and has preventative health care.
  2. I have felt the need to keep the secret that my husband and I were separated for fear of people’s judgemental looks.
  3. There isn’t enough time.  I make promises that turn into little white lies because they can’t happen when I want them to.  I want to take her to the park, but I get sick. I want to take her to her favorite play place, but mommy has errands she has to run on the weekend instead.
  4. I wonder if she’s worried about her parents being separated. We have been this way since her birth, but imagine some time in her life, she will be like me and want to go all Parent Trap on me and try to get us back together.  Children don’t understand the very grown-up reasons parents are not together.  They shouldn’t.  And while the Parent Trap was a great movie, I hope she skips this pre-teen fantasy stage of life.
  5. I don’t want to date because men think single moms just want to replace the child’s father.  Nothing could be further from the truth in my case.  I’d like to find love again, but for all the right reasons.  My child is part of the package, but not his responsibility.  She is my own and I bear sole responsibility for her with joy and honor because I brought her into this world.

Your version of shame’s only function is to cause rejection and to make an individual feel disgraced for their actions. There is no room for your judgement in the world of single parenting.The simple reality is…single parenting happens.  Whether the parents are teenagers, adoption, death or divorce. it simply is what it is. If you want to make a real change, realize that despite your personal beliefs, people need support when parenting. Teenagers need education about pregnancy and its ramifications so they may make informed decision. Single mother’s don’t make horrible children or bad parents.

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