Black Mothers To Blame For Single Black Women?

Credit: tacojim
Credit: tacojim

This post has more to do with someone else’s thoughts rather than mine.  Recently, I wrote a blog for Zabeth’s Corner called Why Are 70% of Black Women Single? I received an email that stood out from the stack I receive every week.  This was a perspective I just recently began to consider.  For instance:

Is there any link to black mothers and how they impact their daughter(s) growth as young women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s and older? It seems a lot of black women are single because so many of them get that speech as young girls that if they wait for the perfect black man everything will be ok. Yet many black women are waiting for years while going through one deadbeat relationship after another with no real prospect of finding a suitable mate….

This is not blaming black men for a change, but looking at the women, mothers.  Because if you look at it, this whole thing of black woman singlehood started happening just around the time when the rate of female headed households rose, meaning more time women spend with children.  Here’s more:

It seems that many black mothers are often setting high and even unrealistic expectations for their daughters and even further more ridiculing and criticizing her from her choice of career to even her choice of mate(good and bad). This explains why many black women are often despondent to their lives with little desire for things when they’re being told by their own mothers about how God will make a way for them and when this is being told over and over for years to the point that many are seeing how much of their lives are lost as a result of their mother’s “advice”. There’s that constant struggle for young black women to be independent, but when they have to deal with their mother’s ridiculing and often critical comments about her it’s also a battle of building what’s being slowly torn down…
The email goes on to question: are black women often the targets of their mother’s negative and sometimes abusive ways?

And before you start typing about black men, let’s stay focused!


  1. Cocoa says:

    Whoever is writing these articles is clearly hoping to attract a successful black man for themselves lol. It is perfectly obvious that you’re attempting to display a woefully thin veneer of concern for black women. I see through it as none of your pictures or articles are really highlighting the beauty or brilliance of black women. You actually intend to demean black women in a subtle way in the plain-as-day hopes of attracting a successful (and sexually satisfying) black man for yourself. Keep it 💯. What you want from a black man is painfully obvious.

  2. Ashhanti says:

    My mother has nothing to do with the reason why I am still single. I’m still single because my standards are too high for my appearance. You have to be a Scandinavian blonde to get a scientist, college professor or a great artist. I’m an artist and college instructor myself and my artist guy-friends feel threatened by me. My situation is not a case of a person in a humble position asking for the Moon. I just want someone comparable! These are my choices in men and they are very hard to find much less acquire for marriage.
    I want to marry someone who inspires me. Therefore, I would prefer be alone than settle.

  3. Nana says:

    I don’t dispute that people are still getting married. Your last statement infers that you agree that in our community sustainable marriage is not occurring at a comfortable rate to sustain the institution. As far as having children, women can’t control whether or not they marry (they can decide but only if the opportunity presents itself) but they can control the pregnancy odds. The problem comes in when their spirit transfers to the child, whether a loving or resentful spirit, and what that means to future psychopathologies.

  4. Maryann says:

    @Nana not at all. Marriage is happening everyday. There are many that believe it can’t happen, and thus they are fulfilling their own prophecy. Then there are the women who buy into the media and marketing of marriage as outdated, and everyone is having a baby. Don’t be duped. Except the Black community, out of wedlock stats show most children are born inside a marriage till this day.

  5. Nana says:

    So here’s my next question, Maryann:
    Have we reached the point (particularly in the black community) where marriage is now considered an alternative lifestyle?

  6. missing_pieces says:

    This post reminds me of the movie “Not Easily Broken,” with Tarahji P. Henson and Morris Chestnut- it was pretty good and made the same point.

    I definitely have a over critical black woman for a mother. I love her very much and I know I get a lot of my strength from her. However, I don’t want the type of marriage my father and she had. I think she has taught me what I don’t want instead of teaching me what I should be looking for in a mate- which is unfortunate but I’d rather learn from her mistakes then make huge blunders of my own. Still, I don’t personally blame her for the reason I’m not married or being in the couple of awful relationships I’ve had. If anything, I think it is my father who is emotionally unavailable, verbally/physically abusive and controlling that has shaped my view on men- not my mother.

    Which actually brings me to Maryann’s post on Zabeth’s blog.

    Maryann, I agree with a lot of what you said. It actually made me think about some of the things I’ve acted in the past with men. Now, I can rule out 95% of the guys I’ve met/dated as completely WRONG and wouldn’t have made good husbands. But I think I attracted those men because I had trust issues (even a disgust/ dislike) of them at times in my life.
    I’m afraid to open myself up again to a man and I think a lot of young (and older)women have had their hearts damaged so badly, that they just say “screw it, who needs the aggravation?”

    I am especially afraid to be totally dependent or should I say co-dependent on a man. I am not one of those “I can do bad all by myself Tyler Perry/Madea chicks.” However, I like interdependence, which to me is between bitchy autonomy and submissive slave- either extreme is not good. I think I need to make my own money though ( a lot of it) for me to be comfortable with settling down- this could be an issue in my next relationship or maybe it won’t . I’m not ready for marriage- I admit, I want too much right now: traveling, writing screenplays and novels are my main focus. I can honestly say looking for a guy, dating and relationship ish is on the back burner… for now.

    I guess the reason why I’m not married today, is timing couldn’t be more wrong.
    I don’t have the mentality and head space for it now. Call it a cop out but I like to call it temporary self-preservation. The socioeconomic environment I presently live in is conducive to men who want to move in with a chick, knock her up and then live off her while they only work a piece a job or not working at all. I see women who do it ALL in order to have a “strong, black man” laying up in their bed- no matter what quality and incompatible of personality he has. I just say “that won’t be me.”

    Once I move to LA ( I know, the land of unemployed actors, filmmakers and musicians, lol), we’ll see.

    Also the 70% may also include black lesbians that want to but can’t get married by law- I know there are a lot of heterosexual black women who are single not by choice but their are QUITE a few black women who may be reported in this statistic too that are gay.

    My point is, black women are still single for various reasons besides the ones you mentioned in your post. I mostly agree with your last point:

    “She has no kind of “plan”. She dates with the only purpose of “having fun” or to “see what happens”. She had this same plan at 23, kept it at 33, and will do it at 43. Her go with the flow method, lands her floating out there with no direction while everyone has settled down.”

    I think I am as well as other black women in the age range of 28-40 are guilty of this at some point in our lives. We were making strides in our careers and living, loving and lusting for life and for men and got caught up; Some of us weren’t taught to have a plan either (that could be one aspect to look at from the black mother).

    Thanks Maryann for the food for thought, I’m definitely going to think about this particular post and the one you wrote for Zabeth’s Corner.

  7. Nana says:

    If there’s a question of black women putting God first, tell me where the church is where there are more black men than women? And I know plenty of sisters who grew up with daddy at home and still haven’t married. It’s not always the root that kills the flower; sometimes you end up with a negligent gardener.

  8. lamard says:

    What has happened to the black family is their lack of having God in their lives.
    Most black women will not listen to a man period. And this is why they make the worst choices in men. They love a man that ain’t shit, and treats them like shit.
    Now tell me where does that mentality come from. Until the black women puts God first
    she will always be at the bottom. And remember when you have God in your life,you try to
    have morales………….get what I SAID,TRY………..GOD ALREADY KNOWS OUR

  9. Joreather says:

    Our mothers are our 1st teachers. Therefore they have a lot to do with what we do & how our confidence is developed. Some of us have an innate ability to find inner strength. Knowing one’s history & a liberal education combats ignorance.

  10. Nafeesah says:

    I agree with Jay that white and latino girls are always getting encouraged by their mothers to pursuit their dreams where black girls are conditioned to work and basically focus on making money and thinking about their dreams last. As a black woman I’ve seen the damage many young black women have been through as a result of their mother’s negative and often nasty comments. Just like today for example I started a new job as a home health aide and my mom asked how it went and then tore into me when I didnt ask about payment. Right now I am focused on the fact that I got a job and happy to begin making money again. My mom said she wasnt trying to criticize, but that what she said was ‘constructive criticism’…she doesnt realize when she is in fact putting me down for not doing enough to get paid the same day. It’s that kind of nonsense that makes me feel as if I am not doing enough to better myself. Yet black mothers have damaged their daughters by ridiculing their efforts and if the effort doesnt consist of burning yourself out for a paycheck you’re not motivated and are lazy. I look at what I am doing as an accomplishment and if my mom doesnt see it that way OH WELL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Zabeth says:

    I’m not saying I agree or disagree, but I’m going to make 2 comments about this post:

    1.) “I’m single and still waiting for my knight in shining armor. I am 42 and my mama always told me don’t bring anyone home who earns less than 100K. I resent that right now by myself.”

    Is this a matter of black mothers being too critical of their daughters or is it a matter of BW not being allowed to have standards for a mate? Is it a matter of black mothers wanting their daughters to have more than what they had?

    Believe it or not there many men (and women) out there who make at least $100K. In todays world $100K is not an unreasonable amount of money- but that does also depend on where you live. I think perhaps, BW are conditioned by society, their communities, and even sometimes their families to not have “unrealistic” standards for a man. Well that begs the question, what is unrealistic? Is wanting to be with a man who can support a family unrealistic? Is wanting a man to have at least a college degree (in todays world that IS pretty basic) unrealistic? And if you think white mothers don’t want their daughters to have standards about the men they choose, you better think again.

    2.) Family structure is key.
    Too many black children don’t see what a stable, functional, two parent home is. Therefore, they grow into adults who don’t know how to create stable, functional, 2 parent homes. This is why the baby mama/baby daddy culture in our community HAS TO STOP. I encourage BW to embrace marriage to a quality partner- regardless of his skin color.

  12. Nana says:

    Should the question be whether black women are to blame for single black men? I raised both genders and both are now grown and single. My daughter has distrust issues because of her early years with her father. She grew up with him in the home until she went to college but she’s still dealing with emotional abandonment issues (same with her brother). My now-grown son keeps running into women who are used to arguing and putting up fronts. There were only two things I told them growing up: 1) don’t have sex with anyone you don’t want to have a baby with and 2) don’t marry anybody you wouldn’t want as your friend.
    I’ve had my marriage experience and checked it off my list of things to do but I don’t speak negatively of it with my children. Some young women I’ve talked to say they’re tired of the games and the sexual double-dipping/sharing and work over a brother real hard to make sure he’s man enough to enter a relationship. If that’s raising standards too high, then I guess the statistic will stay high.

  13. Nikki says:

    Kim, You may some excellent point, but I lost you at the end. There are plenty of good men around black white or any other color, but if a woman is screwed up by her mama she will continue to get screwed—period! “Other” men is not the answer. Black mothers are lost and tired. I made a vow never to be one that is, but will groom my daughter early on to be a good wife and find a good mate.

  14. Hi, I have written about this on blogtalkradio as well as created a program for it, tab mother and daugter program.

    I lived through this and had to fire my mom. I love her, she did the best she could, but the abuse was beyond almost repair. I attracted one dud after another, there needs to be a better way to cmmunicate to daughters all around.

    Black moms have alot to deal, but when they chose one dud after another the way they handle their daughters, the cycle continues. Black women need to step out the box and stop looking for BLACK MEN! Black men, have chosen every other race with no problem since Martin and Malcom X died. Black women are holding themselves captive to the idea of a GOOD BLACK MAN. There a BILLION MEN ON THE PLANET!!

  15. Jay says:

    As a black male I can attest to this. When women spend too much time with other women they get more cynical and less realistic. Why does realism have to be bad? It is what it is. Young hispanic and white girls don’t have their mamas telling them how bad their daddy is or how all the white men are dumb or in jail. They give their girls promise and push them actually to get married and settle down. Black mothers need help, true, but they need to help themselves.

  16. Nikki says:

    I’m single and still waiting for my knight in shining armor. I am 42 and my mama always told me don’t bring anyone home who earns less than 100K. I resent that right now by myself.

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