So what if Jamie Lynn Spears doesn’t get married?

by singlemomseeking on March 20, 2008

jamie-lynn-spears2.jpgToday, at Slate, advice columnist Emily Yoffe refers to “the archetypal unwed mother” as “a Jamie Lynn Spears—a dopey teenager who dropped her panties and got in over her head.”

Ouch. “Dopey teenager.” Does this writer know Jamie Lynn Spears? Has she met her? This woman knows how to belittle.

First off, Emily assumes to know exactly how Jamie Lynn got pregnant (and she might be right, but does she really know what happened?). Are you as offended as I am to hear her scold Jamie like this? There isn’t one, tiny reference to Casey-the-boyfriend, and what part he might have played in the panties-dropping.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for two-parent families. I didn’t grow up in one. I wouldn’t mind having one myself. I’m sure that Emily gets a lot of email from scared, needy, unsure, single pregnant women. But why does she assume that “out-of-wedlocks births are a national catastrophe”?

“Dear Prudence” does not suggest that pregnant women should “marry the jerks whom they had drunken procreative sex with and hope never to see again. Nor do I recommend entering into a union with a clearly unstable, unsuitable partner. ”

Yet, Emily does side with the technician in Juno who made “disparaging remarks about children born” to single mothers. She ends her essay by asking: “Why is it verboten to express the truth that growing up with a lonely, overwhelmed mother and a missing father is a recipe for childhood pain?”

Single moms, speak up. This writer needs to hear that our families are not a “national catastrophe.”

How dare she scold us like this. She must know that every mother, married or not, has moments of being lonely and overwhelmed. Don’t you agree?

P.S. If you haven’t read Ms. Single Mama today, there’s quite discussion about whether children of single parents are worse off.
Photo from PR Photos

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

VJ March 26, 2008 at 1:12 am

Not to inject any unneeded controversy here, but it’s entirely possible that the father of Jamie Lynn Spears’ fetus is not the current BF, but a much older man. That was part of the rumor mill when it was ‘discovered’ back when.

And no, we don’t need more battles between single moms & married moms. This has been going on since time immemorial. And we’re just barely getting better at it with the use and wide spread acceptance and availability of modern contraception. Amazingly, the US is still the worst at this of all Western industrialized countries.

So it’s not a new phenomenon or ‘problem’, and yes, it’s intimately tied to many things in society, including the economy and the prospects for men to be able to contribute to the support of their children & families. But no one ever thinks about that much. Everyone’s just fixated on the sex & ‘underage’ teens angle & the finger wagging goodness we feel inside by imagining ourselves as somehow superior, to those poor dears right? Cheers, ‘VJ’


mommypie March 25, 2008 at 7:17 pm

I actually read the article before I read your post and it had my blood boiling. Obviously not a single parent, how dare this woman pass judgement on people she knows nothing about. Seriously. Walk a mile in my shoes and THEN talk to me about it. Broad generalizations in general are dangerous ground.


Dr. J March 24, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Jaime Lynn is hardly archetycal, if I may get back to the original question. And, to move beyond anything I may think about her or her sister, hardly worth comment if it weren’t for Ms. Yoffe. This really gets back to the “settle for” discussion.

In Ms. Spears economic position, why should she settle for the mysterious drunken lout who coupled with the outed drunken Jamie lout to inseminate and conceive this (unfortunate?) child. Jaime, you’re on your own.

The question’s answer transends all our particular preferences and beliefs. It’s none of our business if she chooses to bring this child into the world. Good or bad, she can pay for it. But, good or bad, what if she couldn’t pay for it like the housekeeper at the local Holliday Inn? What about the single woman with no education (or,celebrity, God help us all,) but who wants and loves her prospective child, first or second or fifth? What is her basis?

It is unfortunate that only the MOM has the ultimate right to choose, all else considered. What if the man, with the same indifference to marriage, but with the same commitment to parenthood, chooses to challenge the MOM prerogative. Celebrity is the worst gage for depenibility. If we’re going to discuss this topic, let us get down to the least common demoninator.

When this happened to me in 1986, the decision was made for me. The decision to do what we did was consensual, but the decision to “take care of the consequences? was not. Nontheless, I agreed to the abortion for the sake of the relationship.

15 years later, my different pregnant girlfriend was desirous of relationship but not willing to terminate the pregnancy. And I? With the possibility of finally having my own child/children?Hell no, absolutely not, over my dead body,” etc. I “settled” for the relationship (marriage) as preferable to a single/mixed family.

Within 3 years the disharmony was evident. And with a second son, I chose to make it work with two parents, no matter what. So it goes, as Kurt would say. Have the children been damaged? Yes. Do children need to see that all is not sweetness and bliss, and parents make it work in the long run? Yes, as an ideal.

But to settle for marriage, children, security, convenience at the expense of stability and nurture? No. And, who is to know when our perceptions lead us the right way or the other? Listen, Virginia, I don’t know, and neither do you.

To be a single parent and say the most important thing is to be a single parent to this,my child, is fine. But don’t praise single parenthood if you regret dual parenthood and blame the lack of it for any or all your problems. Praise single parenthood for what it can provide to the child/children. Strive for dual (separate but equal) parenthood for what it can provide to the child/children.

If we settle, as an alternative to free choice (with all the aforementioned anticipated consequences) we will not accept our decision, regret our decision, and fail or be inwardly miserable.

I’ll take blind faith (now that all else has failed.)

Dr. J


RandomEsq March 23, 2008 at 9:16 pm

I appreciate any readers. But, please? Not to hear a man’s point of view or anything like that – just to hear my experience, as an individual.

You’re very kind. -R.


singlemomseeking March 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Random Esq:
More reason to send single moms your way! Or, is your plate too full? How many single moms can you handle?… Okay, that was a terrible joke. You seem to have a lot of female fans.
Looking forward to hearing about your summer.


RandomEsq March 23, 2008 at 7:00 pm

I found my journal from the summer and so, just for you, I’m going to start a series called “Excerpts from a summer.” I hadn’t read it in a long time.


RandomEsq March 23, 2008 at 6:23 pm

SingleMomSeeking, I can almost hear that ring of surprise in your voice. Yes, me. I studied biology and was planning to go to medical school before I decided that I wanted to go to law school, instead. I decided to spend the summer doing volunteer work through a college program and did not choose where I went…it was chosen for me. The only input I had was that it was related to the medical field. Next thing I knew, I was standing in a pregnancy clinic and someone was shoving a baby in my arms. They told me I’d be working in a pregnancy clinic but, I’m ashamed to say, I never thought that I’d be in contact with *babies*.

I may blog about that summer some day. I went digging around for my journal from those months and have not found it yet – but really, my POV is only what it is and not representative of any group. Truly.

What I remember most about that summer is not to bounce around an 18 month old too much. And that they all eat 1) cheerios, 2) bologna, and 3) graham crackers. And that single mothers deserve some godd*mn respect.


singlemomseeking March 23, 2008 at 6:03 pm

Random: You? A Lamaze coach? Please, please blog about that. I’m serious. It’s always good to hear a single man’s POV. Thank you.
Assumptions? Me? You’re not going to let me live that one down, are you?

Ms. Single Mama: I’m in full agreement with you about Knocked Up. Single moms, what did YOU think about the movie?


elvagreen March 23, 2008 at 5:52 pm

Every mom has the opportunity to be single mom. Even the married one. So we can’t scold single moms. I know lots of happy single moms on Not every one is misforture.


RandomEsq March 22, 2008 at 7:47 am

(continuation…I accidentally hit submit)…

It is ridiculous how I keep hearing, “Jaime Spears got pregnant” and I never hear about the guy that got her pregnant. She didn’t pick up the pregnant at the corner store. I suppose some of that frustration is both with the media and the society in general which seem so comfortable pointing a finger at a woman who has sex but says nothing about a man who may spread sperm like it’s grass seed.

I spent two months volunteering full time at a pregnancy center when I was 21. I knew absolutely nothing about babies, mothers, birth, etc. I gave pregnancy tests to teenagers and watched their babies while they went to parenting class. I was a Lamaze coach and witnessed a birth. And you know what someone (someone I like and respect and know meant no harm in it) asked me when I said my sister gave birth a few weeks ago? They asked if I would learn how to change a diaper now. Most of the time no one means anything by it and maybe it is a safe assumption sometimes – but it still makes me want to sigh and say, “You know, I’m not who you have in your head.”

Anyway. Interesting post, SingleMomSeeking. Thought provoking.



RandomEsq March 22, 2008 at 7:28 am

Having been on the receiving end of assumptions, some unfair and some perhaps more flattering than I deserve, I can say that I agree in that Yoffe has filled in gaps to a story she does not know and from that, drawn an opinion which she did not just keep to herself but splashed on a wall. This seems rather short on common sense and I would imagine Yoffe was jumping on the coattails of that portion of the public who would prefer to scold Ms. Spears.

I think we’re all probably guilty of filling in gaps – many times it may safe and sometimes it isn’t. I’d like to think most people have the common sense not to then voice them for everyone to hear


singlemomseeking March 21, 2008 at 4:45 pm

SoloMother: Yes, I’d advise waiting… FYI, I found out by “Googling” Ms. Emily that she never wanted kids. She thought she’d be childless until she met her dream man. Now she has a daughter.

Anyway, Susan, that’s very noble of you to send her a prayer. You’re a good woman.

Amy: Ah, yes, that’s very true! I’m so fortunate to know your daughter!!

Elissa: here’s to a peaceful home.


SoloMother March 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm

I’m thinking I’ll wait til I’m ready to read that woman’s article. Doesn’t sound like something I can read without cursing.

My child, and I, are so much healthier, happier, and stronger now that we’re not a ‘traditional’ family anymore. I’m gearing up for the hell that will be the ex’s visit next week, but for the most part? we’re a happy single parent family, and we don’t need anything more than we have. Including some Ms. Emily telling us how messed up we must be.


Susan March 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm

You know what? I can’t even get upset reading Ms. Emily’s know-it-all-bull-hooey because (I’m guessing) she has never once walked in the shoes of a single parent. I also wonder whether her tune would change if she or any other critic’s daughter wound up in the same situation.

So, while I’m not particularly religious, in the spirit of the season I’ll say a prayer for her instead! I’m normally not that good (you know, I AM only a single mom), but I’ll try to do my part today 🙂


Amy March 21, 2008 at 11:18 am

Someone please explain to me why my daughter’s teachers are always saying to me, “Gosh, you’re daughter is the most mature one, the most grounded and the most happy one in the class.” This has been repeated year after year. And, I’m a single mum—AND, she doesn’t see her dad more than twice a year.


Elissa March 21, 2008 at 8:59 am

I am a happier, more stable and frankly more efficient parent as a single mom of four than I ever was as a married (to a jack a$$) mom of four. As proof of this my 6 year old told me a few months after the divorce that I “don’t yell at us anymore since daddy doesn’t live here!” The pressure of being afraid of which man was going to walk in the door at night – the “nothing phases me” man or the “a dirty kitchen is the end of the world” one – was contributing to me being the yelling mom. Not that it’s all his fault but I know I’m a better mom now and that makes for happier kids!


Rhiannon March 21, 2008 at 6:03 am

Wow.. just wow. I had no idea that my child must be so obviously miserable. I mean… she’s always laughing, full of energy, hugs, kisses and I love yous… but if Ms. knoweverything says it’s so, then it must be… better get my kid to a shrink pronto. /sarcasm.


Kat Wilder March 20, 2008 at 9:04 pm

It’s very easy to point fingers (and wag them) at those who have — pick one or all — made mistakes, aren’t doing the right thing, are dopey teenagers, are immoral, etc., etc.

Here’s the thing: Life is not one size fits all. What a concept! Maybe if people get off their judgmental high horse and accept that we are different — not better or worse, just different — we can actually create a society that supports those whose paths don’t look like what we’ve been told it “looks like.”

Oh yeah, and support ALL moms and dads, in whatever arrangement they come in, because of the kids — our future!


Crazy Computer Dad March 20, 2008 at 7:30 pm

I pulled out in front of somebody today in a parking lot. I was tired, didn’t even look that way. Didn’t see them at all. Does this mean that working single fathers are the cause of all accidents in the United States or most of the industrialized world. If we just didn’t have them would everything be better? Where am I going with this? A celebrity teenager that makes a mistake should not be news. The fact that she is taking responsibility is noteworthy, but probably still not news. Teenage sex is not news. No need to make an example out of her. I’m sure that nearly every middle school or high school in the country have mothers and fathers taking classes right now and walking through the halls. My guess is Emily probably didn’t have a lot of other things to write about, and probably didn’t do much homework.

Teenagers are not responsible for the rise in single parent births in this country.
Look here:

If anyone needs a recipe for childhood pain, I suggest you lookup the divorces where children are involved. I went through a war between two adults when I was six and seven. There are things I will never forget about that time. LOTS of things I will never forget. Being in a caring, stable, and loving single parent home is by far not the worst thing that can happen to a child.

There are those that struggle more than others. Those that have to work multiple low paying jobs just make ends meet and somehow try to parent. If anything, single parents need help, not scorn. Mistakes will always be made on both sides of the finger pointing though.

The scolding and the finger pointing is just a way of making themselves feel better about not doing anything of substance to help fix the problems.


Ms Single Mama March 20, 2008 at 4:33 pm

Yes, married or not … there are so many mothers who struggle with mommyhood – because it’s hard no matter what! And it’s a hell of a lot harder if you’re married to a jerk. Believe me.

Have you seen Knocked Up?? I HATED that movie. It just tells girls that – hey if you do get knocked up – don’t worry the man will fall in love with you and hey – he’s the father so you should love him. There are a few exceptions, but in my experience when you marry someone for the wrong reasons it usually doesn’t have a fairy tale ending.


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