The other night, my husband who works at night, leaving me to take care of our newborn by myself, decided to stay home from work. As tired as I was, I took advantage of that fact and went out for some me time. About an hour or so after I’d been out, my husband called and said, “Aye, boo, she won’t go to sleep.”
Annoyed, I came home a little later and got my baby soothed, settled and sleep within 15 minutes. My husband was in awe and said, “She wouldn’t do that for me, but you come in and she goes right to sleep.” I didn’t feel like explaining that for the past four months since he’s gone back to work after taking time off for the first two months after we had the baby, I spent six of seven nights a week getting my baby into a routine.
See, men do not appreciate the labor that women put into childrearing. Even men like my husband, who’s in the home and by all accounts a good father, are not charged with delivering the kind of constant, consuming care that mothers are. Full-time fathers are still often just support for the mothers who set doctor’s appointments, fill out forms, manage children’s schedules, shop for their clothes, supervise or give baths, do hair, provide emotional support, plan vacations, deal with teachers and administrators and do all the other tasks that men view as not worthy of compensation.
There’s no job that requires the kind of effort, time and dedication that mothering children does. And as much as I don’t give a damn about Becky or her crotchlings, when reports surfaced earlier this week that LA Clippers star Blake Griffin was ordered to pay his white baby mama $258,000 per month from his nearly $30 million a year salary, I knew that was more than fair. And I also knew the flood and of tweets from bitter baby daddies who can barely keep up with their prepaid cell phone plans and who think taking kids to McDonald’s and movie counts as child support calling women gold diggers would follow.
Since, Griffin has disputed the claim that he was set to pay his kids’ mother more than $3 million a year in child support, and TMZ reports the couple’s agreement on support is actually just $32K a month. While the previously reported number represented around 10% of his income, this new number represents just over 1%% and still, I know men who don’t even make $32K annually will rant about how women always want a man’s money. And that’s because men place no financial value on the parenting of their children.
My husband works hard to provide for our family. He comes home after 7 AM exhausted as my day taking care of our children is just beginning. He spends 8 hours at work, an hour and half commuting back and forth, an hour getting ready for work and 6 or so hours sleeping. I spend my day making sure my children are fed, entertained, clean, hugged, kissed and taught. Ain’t no shifts in motherhood.
You best believe if we part ways, I want all the coin I’m entitled to ensure my children are cared for at the same standard. And if he ever comes up on some major coin like Griffin, I’ll be there with my shovel ready to dig for gold. And I promise you not a soul will make me feel an ounce of regret or shame about it.
Why should a woman not be entitled to not just enough money so that her children can live as comfortably as their father or better (and any man who really loves his children would want them to live better than him) but also enough to compensate her for “experiencing significant career interruptions” as a result of carrying and safely delivering children and carrying for them full-time? Why should a man whose work takes him from the home full-time, thus unable to care for his own children full-time not ensure that their mother doesn’t have to worry about money while she nurtures and supports their children? Why should women who “still do about twice the housework and child care” not be well-taken care of by men who can only work without worrying about who will care for their children because women sacrifice their time and careers?
When Blake was traded from LA to Detroit, did he consider how he would care for his young children while he is over 2,000 miles away for work? Did he have to worry if his children would be properly cared for while he’s on the road for weeks? While he’s on yachts and vacations with white girl after white girl (because it seems like the only Black pussy he’s ever seen was Black Panther, but I digress), is he worried about whether his children are receiving round-the-clock care? Or is he essentially free to act as if he’s only responsible for himself because the mother of his children is ensuring they’re cared for?
Further more, men largely still don’t view pregnancy, which despite however glamorous it’s made out to be, as what it is: managed short-term illness. Women sacrifice not just careers but often our health, and sometimes our lives, for children. Men are happy to use women as the vessels to continue their legacy (however uninspiring that legacy may be), smiling in pictures holding the newborn a woman has just spent nine months creating and suffered excruciating pain for hours or even days to bring into the world, but once men, through their fault or not, lose sexual and romantic access to the bodies that labored for them, they devalue them.
For perspective, while $32K a month is an unimaginable amount of money for most of us, Blake Griffin is making nearly $32 million dollars this year, or $2.6 million a month. For you social media mathematicians, that means that he is paying 1.2% of his astronomical earnings for the care of his children. That also means that he makes what he is paying for child support more than 81 times over.
Applying that same formula to a man making the $49,192 salary of the average man in the U.S. (which relevantly is more than $10,000 or 20% more than the average woman, without even addressing the racial disparities in pay), that means that he’d be paying $49 a month in child support. So unless we’ve traveled back in time to the turn of the 20th century and women can support their household on less than $50 monthly and still have money to kick back at the juke joint grinding to the latest ragtime banger, AIN’T NO FUCKING GOLD DIGGING!
But if you are still convinced that your children’s care isn’t constant work, the alternative to paying fair child support is to take on the role of full-time care for them. Certainly if you believe money that should go exclusively to the needs of your children is being misappropriated you wouldn’t want them in the care of a person who wouldn’t spend money earmarked for them properly. So why not just take your own children and then you don’t have to worry about paying support. Or is it that men know the kind of time being a full-time single parent requires and don’t want that kind of responsibility but also don’t think it’s worth more than the absolute bare minimum in cash?
Ironically, men who lambaste the child support system and see no financial value to a woman carrying for their children full-time are the first to post tear-jerking messages on social media about how their mother sacrificed so much to care for them. So you recognize how vital your mother’s care was to you, but don’t respect, appreciate or laud the same when it comes to the mother of your own children? You’d rather she struggle to take care of your children financially, which has mental, emotional and physical consequences to the children, than you make the sacrifices to finance the care of the products of your own dick snot that your alleged manhood requires?
Pay for your children. And not just their food and housing. Pay the woman who lost out of promotions and significant merit increases because time she would’ve spent working toward better pay and a higher position was repuporsed to take care of your children. Pay the woman whose emotional and physical labor make it possible for you to work without a second thought as to whether your children are safe and healthy. Pay the woman whose body you were happy to employ to satisfy you sexually, carry your seed and raise them up.
And if you’re unwilling to do so, then stop pretending it’s because she doesn’t deserve it and admit that you place more value in the work you do toiling away for an exploitive capitalist than you do the safekeeping of the offspring you claim on Instagram to love to death.