Thursday, December 04, 2008

women over 40, not wanting sausage :-)

Although this is misattributed to 60 Minutes correspondent Andy Rooney, the words about women over 40 pretty well describe many Choice Moms I know, even the ones younger than 40 who just don't want to deal anymore with pleasantries of domestic bliss. :-)

(You can find out who actually wrote the words, and when, at Snopes)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think. If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting. Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it. Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40. Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one . You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her. Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress. Ladies, I apologize.

For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', here's an up date for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Are we single by choice, or chance?

I recently had a brief chat with a young man who, like many do, presumed that Choice Motherhood is a conscious decision to be SINGLE and a mom, rather than to consciously become a MOM who happens to be single.

Since he's in an interesting orbit of new young friends I seem to have connected with recently -- and thus I actually KNOW him personally -- I felt the need to correct his perception rather than let it slide as an errant comment.

But it did remind me of a debate that was on the Choice Mom board not long ago. One fairly young woman who was still dating in the hopes of finding a mate before she pursued motherhood made the comment that no one would really CHOOSE to become a single mom.

And it sparked, of course, a mini-firestorm of posts, reflecting a variety of views about whether we are single by choice, or by chance.

Some of us are single because we want to be.

Some of us are single because we haven't been properly inspired to marry someone.

Some of us are single because no one has properly been inspired to marry us.

Some of us are single because a serious relationship ended and we haven't yet been able to develop a new one.

Many of us become single moms because it seems a better option than being a childless woman.

Here are a few of the perspectives that were shared on the board:

Catherine joked:
I personally would rather have a husband IF and ONLY IF he was ridiculously good-looking, fantastically witty, full of joie de vivre and could be readily stored in a freezer when I was sick of him; I would also prefer a man with an athletic physique coupled with psychic powers, a peerless sensitivity, and the ability to turn into a pizza when I was hungry. I know I am being flippant, but there's no harm in my admitting to being fussy. Let's face it, there are absolutely loads of men out there who seem like Mr Wrong to me. Mr. Perfect probably doesn't exist, but dreaming is great fun, as long as you get on with your life's business simultaneously...

Natalie added:
Frankly, I never even thought about this until this discussion today. If you had asked me BEFORE I became a Choice Mom, I would have THOUGHT that I'd prefer to have a partner to raise children with. But now that I think about it, in the actuality of parenting my daughter for the last almost three years, I really do not think that is my preference. I really love our family and its dynamic, small as we are. I'm sure it is in part revisionist history on my part, perhaps subconsciously making peace with my life, but I have a hard time even imagining it any other way.

I love the time my daughter and I spend together and don't relish the thought of dividing my time and attention to another person. When I speak with my friends with children and partners about family life, I no longer have even a twinge of "I wish I had that" (though I sure did before my daughter came to me). Perhaps it is the "control freak" part of me, but I like not having to negotiate (or argue) with another person about parenting decisions. I am really happy with things the way they are. Whatever standards I had for a man when I was "single" (funny, I actually no longer think of myself that way), that bar is so much higher now. He would REALLY have to add value to my/our life. Anyway, just musing on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, and joining the group who do not "wish I had a partner to share this journey with." Who would have thought?

What about you? If you don't yet have a child, do you wish you had a partner -- or not? (And I know a fellow Choice Mom-in-the-making who is interested, like I am, in doing some research with women in their 20s for whom this is becoming a first choice...we'd like to know why.)

If you are now a Choice Mom, have your feelings about being partnered changed?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Creating out-of-the-box friendships with men

One of the lengthier discussions on the Choice Mom board this past week has been an unusual one for us. A woman remarked that as a single woman marching toward her own goals, she was noticing a pattern that she seemed to be considered threatening to certain married couples.

It launched an interesting conversation on the board, with various perspectives. Some women believe going out to lunch with a married boss is inappropriate (one of the situations that precipitated the original post). Some believe it's inappropriate only if the woman herself has feelings toward the boss (which she didn't). Some believe it's inappropriate only if the spouse has issues with it (as she reportedly did). Some women believe it's the couples responsibility to communicate about their trust issues, and the woman shouldn't have to be the moral arbiter.

There are any number of perspectives, of course. And while this might not seem like a Choice Mom issue, it actually does become one after you have kids. Because all of us do want strong role models for our children. All of us do need to continue to balance our lives with friendships and social interactions that don't always include the children, but aren't necessarily limited to dating and girl's nights either.

Navigating our friendships with men -- including married ones who might be the fathers of our kids' friends and thus part of our playdate scene, and men who might be good companions socially, without being a "date" or "love interest"-- is something we will continue to do as single moms.

Our perspectives always vary, of course, based on personal experiences.

Me...I've always had more platonic male friends than girlfriends. I grew up a tomboy in an all-boy neighborhood. I had seven poker buddies in high school (we eventually referred to each other as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves). I became a sportswriter in my first life. My longest-lasting BFF friendship is with a gay man I've known since 9th grade. My favorite roommate of all time, and the friendship I miss the most (he's in LA now), is a guy I did nearly everything with for a few years -- and we never crossed the platonic line.

Having grown up with so many male friendships, I'm just naturally more comfortable with men than women -- which is ironic in a way, since my work now is so focused on women and motherhood.

On the married man front, it is sometimes tricky to navigate friendship with someone else's mate. And I agree fully that if a partner is having issues, it is up to that couple to communicate and respect what it is so that trust can be maintained -- or deeper issues dealt with. And there are times when it's clear you have to back away.

Right now two of the best male role models in my kids' life are married men whose spouses love the fact that I am generally the Sunday afternoon playdate with their husbands and our kids so they can have hours to themselves. One of the wives has asked if we can simply make it a regular outing. And now another Choice Mom and her two kids have generally joined the gang: four adults, seven kids, occasionally a grandfather....a great combo.

The Choice Mom and I have talked about the fact that WE don't have the same option to "hand off" parenting duty on a weekend day. But we don't mind. And we have some babysitting co-op time with the moms during the week. It's been a great balance, and we love the opportunities it gives our kids to have such regular contact with very involved, active dads. Without the "messiness" of it becoming a more complicated relationship.

It also is a circumstance of my current social life that the easiest evening interaction I can have without kids is with a single man who is many years younger than I am. He happens to be a night person, with no child or spouse to be home for. My young housemates both tend to take night classes, or work, until about 9 pm, so my childcare time tends not to happen until the kids are ready for bed. So it is the most logical combination of demographics that -- since I don't want to "date" or get involved in a major relationship, or go out one-on-one with my married male friends -- and since my women friends right now tend to be married moms who don't want to go out at night, this young single man has become my outlet to balance out the Mom time.

We all need to find the friendships that balance out our lives. Some might look askance when we seem to be stepping outside of borders, as if friendships can be only with women, only with people our own age, only with single moms.

We don't always "fit" into boxes when we are single women with children we opted consciously to have without a partner. Making the choice to parent alone is one way to raise eyebrows. But it won't be the only one.

The more comfortable we are with drawing boundaries that work for us, that don't encroach on someone else's, the happier and more balanced we will continue to be.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Study about changing family definitions

from BioNews


By Katy Sinclair:
A survey of 3,103 men and women, conducted by vitamin supplement company
Vitabiotics, has found that 45 per cent of women surveyed would consider
asking a male friend to father their child in the absence of a suitable
The report by the company reveals that both men and women have concerns
about fertility issues, with two thirds of the women polled that were not in
current relationships expressing doubts over their ability to conceive
naturally, and 26 per cent of men voicing similar concerns.
Three quarters of those questioned thought that fertility issues could
cause serious problems within a relationship, possibly leading to a breakup,
while more than one in three men and women stated that they would reconsider
staying with a partner who could not conceive.
The most intriguing trend to come out of the survey was women's
willingness to consider alternative means to conception in the absence of a
suitable partner. Women between the ages of 28 and 31 were most likely to
entertain the idea of turning to a male friend in absence of a partner,
while half of the single female survey respondents thought about meeting a
partner on a frequent basis. Many women questioned also made it clear that
they would consider a 'second best' option in the event that they were
unable to find their 'ideal' partner.
Psychologist Linda Papadopoulos commented on the changing social norms
of parenting, which were challenging the conventional nuclear family unit.
She stated that 'reconstituted families, same sex families, and single
parents are much more prevalent these days, and rather than ascribing to the
'norm' it seems that women and men are more flexible with their definition
of 'family''.
- BBC News Online 16/9/2008 'Women consider 'friends as fathers' '
- BBC News Online:
- The Times 16/9/2008 'Half of women would ask man friend to father child
- The Times:

Thursday, September 11, 2008

When women get stuck: one night stands, breakdowns

A radio caller in my local area recently went on the air to say she was interested in finding someone to sleep with her merely to help her conceive a baby that she would raise on her own.

Some weeks prior, another local woman -- a Choice Mom I have never come in contact with -- reportedly had a major breakdown and tried to kill her two adopted daughters. This after being hospitalized because she was afraid she was going to do harm, precipitated partly by great financial and obvious emotional stress.

Two depressing stories. Obviously of interest to the media. And not indicative of the Choice Mom community in general.

But it begs the question: How many single women ARE there who decide that the easiest, least expensive method to motherhood -- short of deciding to marry Mr. Good Enough -- is to have a one (or two- or three-) night stand?

And how many single moms around us are struggling and we don't even know because they haven't found us online or are afraid to speak it out loud?

Let's talk about it openly....publicly even....and help more women find out that the Choice Mom community exists to offer support and insight so that smart and safe decisions can be made on behalf of all of our children.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ban on unmarried adoptions cleared for Ark. ballot

By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press
A proposal aimed at effectively banning gays and lesbians from becoming foster or adoptive parents was cleared Monday to appear on this fall's ballot in Arkansas. The measure would prohibit unmarried couples living together from fostering or adopting children.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels certified the proposed initiated act for the Nov. 4 ballot after verifying that the Arkansas Family Council Action Committee had submitted 85,389 valid signatures of registered voters. Supporters needed to turn in at least 61,974 valid signatures.

"Arkansas needs to affirm the importance of married mothers and fathers," Family Council President Jerry Cox said. "We need to publicly affirm the gold standard of rearing children whenever we can. The state standard should be as close to that gold standard of married mom and dad homes as possible."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

gay/lesbian discrimination

Here's the latest discriminatory practice I learned about from American Fertility Association this week:

"Effective January 1, 2008, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama requests that Blue Cross and Blue Shield exclude domestic partners (same sex partners) from ART benefits including diagnostic services related to fertility/infertility that have a fertility or infertility diagnosis.
"Interestingly, two other related issues hit the news media this week. The California Supreme Court reached a unanimous verdict that physicians cannot use their religious beliefs as grounds to deny infertility treatment to gay and lesbian patients. And, singer Ricky Martin announced the birth of twin sons that were born with the assistance of a gestational surrogate."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Christian debate: strong women, weak men?

Very interesting (long) article titled

The Biblical Challenge of Being a Strong Woman in a Weak Man’s World

written by Illinois baptist minister Bob Bixby.

Excerpt: "She is willing to respect the men in her life, only she silently cries out for a respectable man. Little by little the average Christian woman is coming to the conclusion that the men in her life are, in the main, boys in grownup bodies. And boys cannot be trusted with grownup matters."

Comments welcome here from those in the Christian community who want to discuss.

-- Mikki

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

McCain and two-parent adoption

Let's talk about this here. It's not just gays and lesbians that should be outraged by this. It is, of course, a fact of life that roughly half of the country agree with him. Let's vent here about it....


By DAVID CRARY, AP National WriterTue Jul 15, 3:44 PM ET

Advocates for gay and lesbian families are denouncing Sen. John McCain, an adoptive father himself, for opposing adoptions by gays, which prompted his presidential campaign to clarify Tuesday that he does not seek a federal ban on the practice. Only one state, Florida, outlaws gay adoptions, which have become commonplace in much of the nation.

The Republican nominee-in-waiting was asked for his views on the subject in an interview published Sunday in The New York Times.

"I think that we've proven that both parents are important in the success of a family so, no, I don't believe in gay adoption," McCain replied.

McCain then remarked that he and his wife, Cindy, were proud to be adoptive parents of a daughter born in Bangladesh, and he encouraged others to adopt. Asked if those adopting should be a "traditional couple," McCain answered, "Yes."

The responses were condemned by gay and lesbian groups.

"He's completely out of touch," said Kara Suffredini, public policy director for the Family Equality Council. "There's no reason, except for the sake of red meat for his base, to throw up screens in the way of children in foster care getting homes."

Jody Huckaby, executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said McCain's comments were especially dismaying because more than 100,000 children are in foster care waiting to be adopted.

"Sen. McCain would deny loving homes to children who desperately need them simply because of an outdated prejudice about what a family may look like," Huckaby said.

On Tuesday, as criticism of McCain's comments spread, his campaign elaborated on the candidate's views.


An estimated 65,000 children have been adopted by gays and lesbians, according to advocacy groups. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychiatric Association and the National Association of Social Workers, among other groups, have expressed support for gay adoptions.

"It is an insult to these professionals and the children whom they represent to suggest that the door should be closed to people other than a 'traditional' married couple," said Ellen Kahn, who coordinates family-related projects for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group.

Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, said McCain "needs to read the research and rethink his comments."

"His implication is that every adopted child should have a mother and father," Pertman added. "That may be the ideal, but if we stick to it, we would have far fewer homes for kids. Single people — gay and straight — represent a significant number of adoptive parents."

States have widely varying laws regarding adoption by same-sex couples, but only Florida has a law explicitly banning gays and lesbians from adopting as individuals.

Conservative activists in Arkansas have been working to get a similar ban on the ballot in November, but have struggled to generate public support. Earlier this month, they turned in a petition with 65,899 signatures — only slightly more than the required number and well under the initial goal of 100,000 signatures.

Recent national polls suggest that support for the concept of gay adoption is growing. A 2006 poll by the Pew Research Center found a near-even split on the issue; a 2007 poll by CNN and Opinion Research Corp. said 57 percent of respondents felt gays should have the right to adopt, while 40 percent said they shouldn't.

A gay adoptive father in Atlanta, Ken Manford, said he and his partner have felt strong support and acceptance from neighbors and acquaintances since they adopted a son from Guatemala nearly seven years ago.

"If Sen. McCain came and sat down with us, I'd tell him we've proven that both parents are important in our family," Manford said. "It doesn't matter that both those parents are men."

McCain's Democratic rival, Barack Obama, supports adoption rights for gays and lesbians.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gasping at single living

from Ruth

It seems that the older I get (and I’m hardly old at 33!!) the more people are baffled by my single status and the more I have to contend with their bizarre questions about my “lifestyle”. I was recently at a friend’s wedding and was having a conversation with one of the guests (a married man) and when he found out that I was single, he was absolutely stunned that I had somehow managed to buy my own home and (gasp!) a car as well! And then (here’s the kicker) he inquired as to whether I had a job!

I almost felt like saying "No, I just beg for money on the street". It's just so ridiculous, I am far more likely to have a job than a married woman! Who does he think supports me?? Daddy?? He just couldn’t seem to believe that a woman can successfully live without a man. And the funny thing was that while I was talking to him, I was thinking to myself "Boy, if only you knew what I was planning for next year!" I think his head would have exploded if I'd told him about my SMC plans!

Anyways, I just laugh off comments like these now, but in the past they were hurtful because it seemed that married people didn’t feel I was a real "grown-up" woman because I didn’t have a family to take care of (I’ve even been asked if I cook for myself! What do they think I do, order pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner?).

As an interesting footnote to this story, I was having lunch with my (single) brother the next day and he also owns his own home and I asked whether he hears similar comments about buying a house alone, but (no surprise here) he never does! Is our society still so male-biased that a man is presumed to be more capable of living on his own than a woman?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sex in the City: men, marriage Part II

from Ruth

The upcoming premiere of the Sex and the City movie got me thinking about the series (which I loved for the most part) and I find it really sad that a series like this that was supposed to portray single women as strong and independent, and that was groundbreaking in so many ways, still had to end its final season with all four women in relationships.

Even for a show that discussed just about every taboo subject in the book, it was considered too shocking to portray a woman who doesn't find "Mr. Right" yet still lives happily ever after. I just find it so disappointing that the show couldn't depict at least one "happy ending" that didn't involve a relationship with a man.

What's the moral then, "It's OK to be single and have fun for a while, but in the end you've got to settle down?" Just a sad commentary on how little our society has progressed on this issue.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Men, motherhood and marriage

from Julie, reacting to the lengthy ChoiceMoms discussion group thread about Choice Moms, marriage and the pressure to marry.

Reading this made me conjure up this image of a bunch of men blogging about caring for children on their own and trying to fit into society's standard of being married.

How silly the image! Men are just so different than least the ones I know.
I think a lot of these discussions about whether we should be married wouldn't exist if men were more nurturing. I don't think it's odd at all to not want a marriage if the one you are marrying is more work to care for than the child you are raising. The men in my life have been sorry excuses for role models. I don't really want to get married because I have yet to meet a man that would enhance my life more than he would drain me of my reserves. Who needs that? I'll raise my child by my own will, thank you very much.

This isn't to say I don't want that close and loving relationship with a man, but he needs to be someone who contributes to my well-being and I his.

I think our parents desire us to get married because it's just the only way they see life as a "normal" progression. They aren't taking into account the lifestyles of women these days. When our grandmothers were young women, they had three careers to choose from (nurse, teacher, prostitute:-), but now, women can run for President, among thousands of other career choices. So this entire concept is beyond foreign to them.

I think raising a child on my own is not a selfish endeavor. It is a biological urge that is hard-wired into my brain and I WILL NOT apologize for it. My reproductive rights are equal to all of the married people out there, happy or not.

Being married and staying married is no test of character.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Divorce on foot

I attended a conversation with three local historians last week that left me with several interesting morsels that have been rattling around in my brain since.

One of them talked about our tendency to think the past was somehow simpler and less complex than our intricate lives today. As example, she talked about how we tend not to notice that there was "divorce on foot" in past years. We know about the many widowed heads of families who ended up being single parents by default, but we tend to forget that many men headed West to explore and have adventures and try to find a new life -- often leaving behind wives and children in the East. In a time when divorce was unacceptable, it was a way to leave marriage behind.

I'm intending to do further research to learn more about how prevalent this might have been. To be sure, many of these men never took the step toward family life. But another interesting side comment the historian made was that many of the women's colleges and other female-oriented activities (including development of the settlement houses) that started in the East were partly a result of a lot of determined single women wanting to make something of their lives, some of them undoubtedly bypassing the lack of good marriage material in their midst.

Is today's Choice Mom much different?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Honoring Grandma

My grandma Jean died Monday, age 96. She was the only grandparent I ever knew, and a true matriarch in many ways. She raised her two kids alone, after her husband died in 1945 in a tragic accident, by putting herself through cosmetology school, setting up her own beauty shop, and staying focused on her kids, being frugal, and nurturing friendships.

In some ways, she was my Choice Mom model. Although her path was definitely not by choice, she actively decided not to bring a stepfather into her kids' life, and did not remarry until both kids were off on their own. She dedicated herself to doing what she needed in order to survive. She developed fun friendships that kept her balanced and lasted more than 50 years. Her one surviving friend Arline came to the cemetery, age 93, and joked to me that Jean, Harriet and Mary were waiting in heaven for her to join them as the fourth in their card games.

We were proud of the fact that we had opportunities for four-generation photos with the matriarchal line. From my mother down to my daughter, we share the middle name Jean, a strong-minded bent, and a love of travel and experiencing city entertainment. My daughter, at age 8, showed a great deal of patience with Grandma Jean's late-year crankiness -- kindred spirits in many ways as they were -- both loving pink, butterflies, nail polish, pretty jewelry and clothes, knick-knacks, just the right hairstyle. I consider it a gift, in fact, to have seen my daughter's tenderness with my grandmother in the last few months of her life.

My grandmother is the one whose ancient typewriter many years ago, when I was my daughter's age, launched my writing career. I used to write poems at grandma's house, when my mother was busy with concurrent college and nursing work. One I remember distinctly writing in the kitchen area of grandma's apartment was about "My mother the whirler." Not long thereafter grandma gave my parents the typewriter for me as a Christmas gift. They'd kept it hidden somewhere in the house, and I burst into tears when they brought it to me, I was so overjoyed with this first communication tool of my very own.

Grandma didn't understand computers, the Internet, websites. But her friend Arline loyally sent me a check in order to buy my "Choosing Single Motherhood" book when it came out. And my staunch Catholic grandmother, whose viewpoint was the only one I worried about when I announced my decision to become a Choice Mom in 1999, quickly reassured me that she thought it was perfectly fine for women to have kids on their own. That she knew I was always very independent and capable.

Much like she was. She lived on her own until she was 90, and even then moved into an independent-living facility until she fell at 94 and needed to go to a nursing home for care.

She was tired of living by then -- having lost three husbands, four sisters, and countless cousins and friends she kept faithful contact with over the years. But I saw the resolute twinkle in her eye on one of my last visits with her, when I teased her about yet another male admirer who apparently had taken a fancy to her in the home.

She was a grand lady -- quite able, as the priest pointed out, to remind people of what she needed. She was always meticulously dressed and made up. And more than anything, she was proud of family -- and is undoubtedly happier now that she is rejoined with so many people she has missed for so long.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Is Mr. Good Enough Okay?

For this Valentine's Day month, Choice Mom Lori Gottlieb pondered whether she actually was too picky, as critics like to suggest when women in their 30s cannot find a partner before it's time to raise kids.

You can read her views in Atlantic Monthly and hear her perspective on NPR.

When her essay link was posted on the Choice Mom discussion board, women quickly stepped up to disagree with her notion that settling for a business partner in household management and childrearing was the route to take. Of course, Lori herself is a romantic who does still want to fall deeply in love. And many thinkers who are afraid that becoming a mother first will preclude them from being a wife - or silent Choice Moms who might agree with Lori today that settling might have been the greener side of the pasture - will find her thoughts very interesting.

In 2005, also in the pages of Atlantic Monthly, Lori wrote about why settling for somebody isn't always better than nobody. But now, with the challenges of dating while parenting a toddler, she looks at her married friends and realizes that, "Marriage isn't a passion-fest. It's more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business."

And as many of us know, couples with kids don't spend that much time together anyway.

"So if you rarely see your husband," she writes, "but he's a decent guy who takes out the trash and sets up the baby gear, and he provides a second income that allows you to spend time with your child instead of working 60 hours a week to support a family on your own-how much does it matter whether the guy you marry is The One?"

As readers of this sporadic blog know, I have had my own thoughts about what marriage means -- and why more women aren't choosing it before they have kids. Back in October 2007, I wrote here about how married moms I know are dismayed at the lack of household management help that actually comes from a mate, and that failing at that makes men seem less valid as a lifetime partner for an increasing number of women.

Lori's view in her essay is that being able to have help around the house is the major benefit to marriage, and that it should, indeed, become the major prerequisite to "settling" down with a partner. Dating with that view in mind, she says, might actually help more women find someone before they have kids, which requires babysitter money -- and a tremendous amount of effort simply getting beautified before the Big Night Out.

Just the day before I read Lori's essay, I was asked by a TV reporter if the Choice Mom trend meant that men were becoming insignificant. I stumbled in my answer, and realized later -- of course -- that the sound bite quote is, "Men who make great husbands and fathers are never insignificant. It's just that women are less in need of a husband and father who is not great, and today, if they have the financial and emotional security, they don't have to choose that option."

So I agree with Lori that dating tends to prime you for a passionate connection, but weddings and children tend to turn that relationship into more of a two-person job, with roles and responsibilities assigned and hopefully agreed upon so one of them doesn't decide to look for a different place of employment...and hurt the kids in the process.

But I also believe strongly that many of us don't actually need a partner to raise our children well, if that is our primary goal. We do need to deal with the stress of handling the job alone -- which, depending on temperaments and other distractions can be considerable -- but luckily it's a job with great benefits.