Right now in the United States for the first time there are more single families than married families—it's close with single mom families running at 51%. Some of these women are living with men who are not working. The benefit is that the men stay home with the kids, while the women work.
Many times it is not that these men cannot find jobs, they just prefer to stay with their girlfriend’s kids because it is less stressful and they are good with the kids. Women are frustrated by this, but they don't know what to do because she can avoid daycare and the kids may be really attached to their mom's boyfriend. However, at the end of the day Mom may feel like she is getting used. Her boyfriend laments that he cannot find a job and, although he may begin a job, he cannot keep it. Last week I worked with a couple where the boyfriend had six jobs within the past three month.
As you read this you may wonder what kind of a woman would put herself into this situation. It happens very easily and before she knows it she is in the middle of it. Day care would be cheaper than feeding, housing and clothing her boyfriend. The problem is she gets attached to having a partner—someone who says he loves her and also seems to love her children.
For many of these single women their choice of a boyfriend is only as good as their self esteem. If they were abused or hurt from their child's dad these women pick up boyfriends who continue the cycle. These boyfriends may be conniving with not treating the children well, but threatening them with "secret pacts" not to tell their mom. This can be a matter of life and death for the child (and mom in many cases). If you are in this situation you understand the trap it is and how difficult it is to get out. Below are a few tips that may prevent you from getting into this messy trap. Or if you are in it, there are a few solutions to getting out for you and your children.
Tips for avoiding the trap and getting out
1. To avoid this trap never, never let anyone move in to your home and don't move in with them until you are married. You and your kids have been through enough. They have you and as long as you are safe and happy they will make it.
2. If you have someone in your home who is "free loading" off of your income give him an ultimatum. For example, "You have 6 weeks to find a full time job".
3. Day care is cheaper than a live in boyfriend. Put your child in a safe place where the environment is safe, secure and offers additional learning and socialization for them. If your boyfriend is so good at caring for your kids then maybe he could work in a day care center.
4. If your child's dad is not around then find a role model for them that you don't sleep with—their grandfather, brother, or even a godfather. You don't want to get a man involved who may break up with you. Children don't understand that the boyfriend left you, not them. This creates instability in your kids' life.