Dear Cotten Kandi,
I am a single mother raising a 7 months old baby boy. I also have a full-time job and although my son’s father babysits while I go to work I think he is using our son as an excuse to not work.
This is a man I had an on and off relationship with for nearly 2 years. Although we frequently practiced safe sex, I admit, there were times we didn’t and as a result I became pregnant. I knew immediately that I wanted to keep my baby but decided early on in my pregnancy that this was not a man I wanted to be with and eventually marry. We decided it was best we not be together. No matter how hard we tried we couldn’t get along long enough to foster a healthy relationship. I would rather our son have two loving parents in his life, despite that fact that we are not together, than to be raised in a home with parents who hate each other.
For most of the pregnancy this man was there for me, accompanied me to doctor’s visits and we even managed to get along really well. Unfortunately, prior to the baby’s birth he lost his job! I can’t begin to tell you how devastating this was. Thankfully I have a supportive family who decided they’d help me anyway they could. I pretty much worked my entire pregnancy and went on maternity leave for the first 3 months of our son’s life.
Its been 4 months since returning to work and my son’s father still hasn’t found work. He’s been unemployed longer than our son has been alive. When I explain to him that I need more financial assistance and that our child is not my family’s responsibility he becomes disgruntled. For the entire 4 months that I’ve been back to work he’s decided to stay home with the baby. Don’t get me wrong I appreciate his efforts and am glad he wants a relationship with his son but I also think he’s gotten lazy; and I mean lazy! I know he is also saving me money for not having to put our son into daycare but I’ve had enough!
He’s settled in on being a stay at home dad and is not actively seeking employment. I think this is unfair to me because after I get off work I still have to pick up our son from his home and do my motherly duties. Why can’t he do the same? Two paychecks would be better than one.
Cotten Kandi, am I being overly dramatic or are my concerns justified? Please help.
Overworked & Overstressed Single Mother
Dear Overworked & Overstressed Single Mother,
Let me start by saying that although I respect your desire to keep your baby you must have known what you were getting yourself into. This was a man who, beyond the bedroom, you could not get along with. This was the same man you knew you could not see a future with and yet you did not always practice safe sex. Furthermore, this is partially your fault. Obviously it is too late to turn back the hands of time and now you must deal with the hand you were dealt.
You could not have known that your son’s father would lose his job. Life is unpredictable and sometimes unfair but you are fortunate enough to have a man who wants to play an active role in your child’s life. Be thankful.
If you feel your child’s father uses babysitting as an excuse to not find work then don’t let him babysit. You may need to find that daycare or rely on a trusted friend or family member. However, this will cost you!
Keep in mind that if your goal is to receive child support once this man starts working, depending on how much he makes, may equate to very little. So you may be better off having him as a babysitter.
On another note, men have worked outside the home for years while the women stayed home. Although you are not man and wife your son’s father being his primary caretaker may be an even exchange.
If your concern is that you not only work and provide for your child but that you are also his primary care taker after work and on weekends then you may need to discuss splitting the custody; both parents sharing the responsibility. That includes financially, emotionally and spending quality time with the child.
He hasn’t worked in at least 7 months but its hard to believe he hasn’t been receiving unemployment, especially with a new born child at home. Speak with him and compromise. Try to come to an agreement you both can agree on. If he’s not willing to oblige then consult with an attorney on what actions to take and take him to family court.
I wish you all the best.