An Open Letter to Men Who Complain About Child Support

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Dear men who complain about paying child support because she’s taking “your” money & spending it on “herself”:

Ask yourselves this: other than paying child support, what else are you doing for your kid?

How many times have you taken your kid to school and picked him up? Talked to his teachers about how he’s doing, socially & academically? How much homework do you help with? Do you know the names of his best friend, his best friends’ parents, the little girl he has a crush on, the kid he hates? How many playdates do you supervise every week? How many field trips have you chaperoned? Continues on the next pages…

How many nights?

How many nights have you rushed home from work, exhausted, and then had to get dinner on the stove? Where are you when Johnny is asking a million questions while you’re trying to get him off to bed so you can take care of your own responsibilities, like paying the bills, or doing some laundry?

When was the last time you got to use the bathroom in peace, without having your child walk in on you? How many nights has your child gotten out of his bed and crawled into yours because he was having nightmares and couldn’t sleep?

How many doctors’ appointments have you taken him to?

How many times have you left your job because he suddenly spiked a fever at school, or had an asthma attack and forgot his inhaler? How many nights have you spent with him in the pediatric ER because he fell, or started throwing up, or just didn’t look right and your instincts said, get him to a doctor right away?

Any system can be abused.

Just as not all dads are deadbeats, some mothers are selfish and spend every dime that comes their way on themselves – whether on their appearance, their new man, or their drug habit. If that describes your situation, your child is in danger and you owe it to your child to alert the authorities. If you’re in a position to provide better care, you owe it to your child to seek custody.

The abusers exist

But, they are not representative of most women who receive child support. I cringe when I hear comments like, “I pay for my kid and every time I see her, her hair and nails are tight.” If she works or has another source of income, what makes you think she’s spending “your” child support money on her hair and nails? Is she not supposed to be groomed? Would you prefer to see her with chipped nails and a raggedy weave, just so you know she’s not spending a dime of that support check on herself?

Courts split responsibility for taking care of the child’s financial needs between the parents according to income, per a predefined formula. In cases where the child’s father makes more than the mother, courts will expect him to carry the lion’s share of the financial burden. When she makes more money – as is increasingly the case with African-American couples – she bears most of the burden. And yet, even in those cases, men still complain about paying the tiny portion the court deems to be their fair share. They’ll say, “she makes enough to take care of the kids. She don’t need my money.” To the selfish bastards who think like that, I say – grow up.

Once you pay child support, it’s not your money anymore.

A lot of men resent the fact that child support goes towards expenses like rent and utilities, as if a child doesn’t also need a safe, warm place to live. If a mother is spending $500 per month to take care of your child, and you contribute $200, that means she contributed $300. If she happens to also spend $200 on her hair, that does not necessarily mean she’s spending “your” $200 on her hair. It may mean that, thanks to your contribution, she has some income left over to treat herself to hair appointments. So? Who’s clocking what you do with the rest of your money that isn’t going towards child support? Oh. Once you pay child support, it’s not your money anymore. Let it go.

Stop talking about celebrity child support awards

And men, unless you are a wealthy celebrity, please stop talking about celebrity child support awards. Men get shook when celebrities are hit with large child support orders. They argue the woman – no matter who she is, whether one night stand groupie or wife of many years – is a “gold digger” who “don’t need all that” to raise a child. You can look at it as a windfall or some kind of groupie Lotto all you want to, but if he didn’t want to pay, he should have used protection. By and large, celebrities pay their child support without complaint. When Diddy had an issue with his child support order, he didn’t go to the barber shop and trash his baby’s mom. He did what he was supposed to do – he went to court and asked for an equitable adjustment. If you feel like you’re paying more than your fair share, you can do the same.

Parenting is more than having the local child support office garnish your paycheck. If you’re not doing your share of the heavy lifting – if the only thing you contribute to your child’s life is that monthly or biweekly check – please shut the entire hell up about what the mother of your children “does” with that child support check.

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