There is no such thing as a real man. “Manning up” does not exist. Let me explain.
Being a man in today’s world can be confusing. Our fathers and their fathers spent their days smoking cigars, drinking whiskey neats, “reading” Playboy and grooming their beards – or something to that effect. They were raised by men, taught by fellow men and lived their lives like men. A very clear picture was painted of what a man was – and what it wasn’t.
Nowadays, men struggle with finding an acceptable male identity. Boys are increasingly being raised by women. Adolescents look up to the soft, overgrown child-actors found in their favorite movies and television shows. Men no longer wear denim jeans and a wool button-ups or the classy three-piece suit. Men get mani pedis, subscribe to GQ and long gone are the days of chopping wood for the fire – we are tethered to e-mail 24/7 and devour our Netflix subscription to watch the latest Mad Men episodes, asking ourselves, “is Jon Hamm’s character a real man?”
There is no such thing. It is a lie we all tell ourselves.
There are many misconceptions about being a man. Here are a few of my favorites from Ben Bransetter’s article, 35 Lies Men Tell Themselves on Thought Catalog:
1. If I wear a fitted cap and a polo shirt, I’m a douchebag. If I wear skinny jeans and a scarf, I’m a hipster. If I wear Caterpillar boots and a camo hat, I’m a redneck.
2. Cops and soldiers are the epitome of manliness.
3. I should require no help from anyone.
Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy, a blog written by a community of parents across the country. Katie became unexpectedly pregnant after a one-nighter and has gone on to raise her own “oops baby” without the father’s involvement. Her story shows the perspective from a woman having doubts about her pregnancy and becoming a mom – one that I obviously can’t explain myself.
We constantly hear about baby mama drama – but men aren’t excluded. Baby daddy drama is alive and well and I believe Katie made the right choices which led her to avoiding long term issues with her child’s father.
I feel that now is an appropriate time to finally ask everyone to stop using the term “baby mama” and “baby daddy”. It screams “I’m ghetto and uneducated” and you can use their real names. Personally, I say, “my daughter’s mother” or “her mom” or “the person that had giveth birth to this little child.” All three are perfectly acceptable. Just be respectful. Moving on. My remarks start with “CP”.
An unexpected pregnancy can throw a wrench in life plans. Believe me, I know. Like Chris, I faced an unplanned pregnancy long before I was mentally or financially prepared to be a parent.
In the five years since my “oops” baby came into the world, not a moment has passed that I’ve regretted the choice I made to have her. I’ve had to make some difficult choices when it comes to her father’s involvement (non-involvement). The three most important pieces of advice I dish out when it comes to a father’s role in an unplanned pregnancy are:
The single biggest frustration I’ve encountered while learning how to live as a non-custodial parent (a.k.a. single dad), has been dealing with my local child support enforcement agency and adapting to paying my ex her child support payments – both from a financial standpoint and also a psychological one.
I’m willing to bet the majority of non-custodial parents actually wouldn’t mind paying monthly child support if 1) it was a reasonable amount based on the child’s real-life needs and 2) 100% was guaranteed to go to expenses directly for their son or daughter. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
Because of this, a landslide of issues land in your lap the day the child support summons gets served to you. Since I am writing a blog post and not a novel, I’ve chosen to cover three of the most important aspects of living with child support payments as a non-custodial parent and not as a deadbeat dad. The two are not synonymous.
I joined three other guests to discuss how our “Oops! Baby” affected and changed our lives – for better or worse. This was my first opportunity to be on a live broadcast and I’ll be honest – I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I love blogging because there is a “save draft” button, spell check and I have the opportunity to filter and choose my words carefully – not something I can do very well off the cuff. Those reasons, plus blogging doesn’t make me induce sweating. Being on camera does, especially when I’m speaking with four lovely women who have shared my same experience – except they were the ones actually having the baby. Luckily, while we were waiting for the show to go live we were able to chat and not only did I find that these were all fantastic, smart people, a couple were even fans of the site which helped put my nerves to ease, although not entirely as you can tell while I’m on air.
Watch the segment below and meet my fellow “Oops! Baby” guests:
This post is simply to announce a time-sensitive update. I’ve had to put a couple big posts on hold for now, but I promise the no B.S., hard-hitting stuff is coming soon.
HuffPost Live Interview
I will be featured on HuffPost Live to discuss “oops babies” and everything that comes along with an unexpected bun in your girlfriend’s oven.
Date: Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Time: 6:00 – 6:30 PM PST / 8:00 – 8:30 PM EST ***UPDATE: Time changed to 6 PM PST. Should be live between 6-6:05 PM.
Just click on the link above at the appropriate time and join in on the live discussion by posting text or video comments as I talk with Nancy Redd and the HuffPost Live hosts.
Our time was cut a little short, but overall a great, diverse discussion on how an “oops baby” changes your life – for better or worse. You can watch the recorded segment and see my response to viewer’s comments on this post where I break it all down.