I’m a TV junkie. And I’m not discriminating because I will watch whether it’s a poorly scripted reality-based or an hour long, edge-of-the-seat drama. (Thanks, Shonda Rhimes) My drug of choice is reality television which I can’t pull myself away from peering into the lives of these seemingly chaotic authentic people. What I find most enjoyable about people’s willingness to tell any and everything into a live microphone and into a camera lens is also what makes me cringe. While many of these relationships are rumored to be constructed by executive producers so many “real” relationships are being destroyed by growing tensions to be the break-out star by any means necessary.
A couple of years ago, (yes, I lost this blog entry but the issue is still relevant) I watched as a boy man completely throw his girlfriend and baby mama under the proverbial bus or better yet, clapperboard. The scene started with a group of professionals and lovers debating the pros and cons of marriage. To the dismay of the women at the table, the men having their fair share of beers started a more boisterous rant about why marriage was unnecessary when you could easily make a home and a baby without the legally binding union. With raised glasses, the men toasted to the baby mama. With clinched teeth, I winced and a bit of hope chipped away from my own reality.
Maybe marriage in the 21st century was outdated. There are few farms to tend, no double digit kids (without their own show) to provide for, no homes that need 24-hour nurturing to maintain, and no reason that two people have to need each other for survival. Yet, with social triggers pulling away at the seams of the union of marriage, little girls still dream of their wedding day. Adolescent women still envision their dad walking them down the aisle. And adult women still wonder if Mr. Right will be at the opposite end of the bar waiting for her arrival. I assume that the hope that exists for those ladies is not to gain the title of someone’s baby mama.
Likewise, guys might not dream about the perfect wedding day tux however the thought of throwing a ball into the folded arms of a child or passing down the moves that made them a high school standout must lend to a moment of pause. Maybe not nurturers at heart, I moreover presume that no man wishes to be a by-stander in the rearing of their children. Yes, we all know of men who wash their hands of parenting responsibilities but we also know of men who do not want to be baby daddies but just fathers.
How painfully clear that point was made when a friend collapsed in tears as he spoke of how disappointed he was that the courts and his baby mama had taken away his ability to father his child. He had the wherewithal but not the right. He’d loved his child more than life itself even though he’d disappointed his own morals by bringing a child into the world without being committed to the mother.
The reality of the sexes is that even though the divorce rate is declining so is the marriage rate (trust my statistical findings but the footnotes were lost with the original blog). Also, more than enough children are born outside of marriage and are left as innocent victims in the game of vow or no vow. It is that social commentary that is the most heartbreaking.
As much I relish the world of television, the difference between it and what happens in the real world is that some tears don’t go away after the credits roll. Relationships won’t be magically repaired by the next episode. And kids don’t always get a spin-off show sometimes they just get the short end of the stick. So, if we do toast to the baby’s mama, let us also raise our glasses to the kids caught in the middle and their futures.