Baby Mama Drama, or Why His Kids Matter more than Hers

Lindsay M. Monte, Northwestern University

Using data from the Time, Love and Cash among Couples with Children (TLC3) study, this paper examines family processes in unmarried stepfamilies. I find that one of the central factors in unmarried stepfamily’s instability is conflict with, and jealousy of, the other parent of a partner’s other children. However, while both mothers and fathers in this sample have children by prior partners, it is the fathers’ exes who cause the most problems, leading to the colloquial moniker, “Baby Mama Drama.” The repercussions of this gender-specific conflict affect not only the father’s new family, but also his relationship with his prior children, presenting men with a troubling paradox in which being a father to all of his children precludes the promise of stability in his new relationship. The ramifications of this conflict are explored.

  See paper

Presented in Session 14: Gender Dynamics and Reproduction