I am a proud single mother of two. My dark ebony daughter turned 12 last month and my handsome intelligent son is 9 years old. They are a blessing to me and I treasure them the most. They are made of gold and all beautiful spices. They give me a sense of purpose and they are a source of my inspiration in this world. They ground me and I am who I am now because of them. I don’t how life would have been without them.
I have a very soft spot for single mothers regardless of their circumstances. I don’t judge. The fact that they are taking care of kid(s) alone, for me, this makes them heroines. There are many challenges to single parenting, but so are the rewards. Moreover, I can relate to that.
This is my life. This is my story.
Personal circumstances such as separation, divorce, abandonment and even death, leave the main custodial, remaining parent having to cope with all the care-giving, nurturing, role-modeling, challenges, rewards, obstacles and joys meant for a partnership of two. It can be overwhelming yet wonderful, nightmarish and extremely tough, all at once!
From my experience as a single mother, I know that you can encounter a lot of challenges ranging from oppression based on myths, stereotypes and prejudices. You are judged so harshly, devalued and considered as a failure. In short, you not a noble woman. This is classic from African society.
The stigma is so real and extended to the kids. The society tends to believe that kids raised by single women do not get full attention, supervision, love or discipline to which children from a nuclear family receive. It’s as if you are a different class of people!
Sometimes kids who are raised by single women, whether previously married or not, develop a tendency of becoming delinquent, but this is not always the case, because some of them, in fact, majority of them become successful individuals in life.
Yes, there are two sides to this coin! I have seen both.
You will concur with me that people are always curious to know how you ended up being a single mother. First, trying to explain yourself and the circumstances that led to that…! One of my friends was so frustrated and was almost giving up dating. I told her, ‘just come up with a one page summary of who you and what you looking for. Then tell the man he will get the rest of story as time goes. And then let things fall into their place’ Hahaha!
Similarly, there are single fathers out there raising kids on their own. Unlike women, men have more social power over women in an African society. They are hardly judged and the society is somewhat more lenient to them. That is why some of them end up in the generation of kids who refuse to grow up. They shirk responsibility; they sulk, and throw tantrums. They don’t know what it is being a responsible and a hardworking man, husband and father.
Single motherhood comes with a unique set of emotional challenges that can, at times, feel overwhelming. Single mothers are subjected to revolting and harsh realities on a daily basis. They grapple from self-doubt and anxiety over money to the stress of making decisions alone. Oftentimes, feelings of desperation and being stressed out are very typical. Single motherhood demands are nothing to scoff at; they can seem like insurmountable challenges and steep hills to climb on any given day! They are not to be underestimated.
That is why out of desperation, some single mothers end up making some terrible mistakes continually like settling down with mediocre men. It is worse if a woman is not strong and financially stable or if they exhibit a sense of vulnerability. People will take advantage of them. It can get worse if they don’t respect themselves that much.
My advice is this, know your worth and stick to your morals. Examine yourself and your personal relationship with God. You are not cursed as some may think but blessed beyond measure.
What does God say about single mothers? God’s gentleness, applies across the board whether you are single, married, widowed or divorced so do not judge anyone or hold an opinion. God knows each person intimately and knows each situation completely and He understands. He does not condemn single mothers. He cares about all of us regardless of our status, gender, race etc. The same thing He has to say to everyone else, He says to single mothers; repent of sin, trust in Christ for forgiveness, communicate with God through prayer, listen to His voice through Scripture, lean on God for strength in trials, and put your hope in the amazing eternal life.
According to Jeramiah 1:5 ‘’before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you…’’
Remember you are the role model to your kid(s) and a sole provider. Whatever you do, affect their lives positively or negatively. Oftentimes, they suffer from stigma and emotional problems. Know your children. Be very close to them. Talk to them and let them understand what is going on. Be real. Do not allow them to lose their identity especially in their formative years because of your status. You also need caring and supportive friends and families around you to give you moral and sometimes financial support. Parenting in our traditional African culture is such that the responsibility of taking care of a kid is not only for the biological parents. It is a shared responsibility.
“A single hand cannot nurse a child”…African proverb.
If not single by choice, you need to pray hard for the right man to come along. You need a respectful and responsible man who will bring something on the table. Someone who will bring the best out of you. Someone that you are a blessing to. A man who will walk with you in the valleys and on the mountains of life. This calls for full commitment.
Ask yourself, does he know God? Is he adding value to your life? Is he responsible enough and is he able to take care of himself? If he can’t take care of himself, definitely he can’t take care of you…move on swiftly.
This should be a deal breaker.
Cardinal rule number one should be; he loves you equally with your baggage and no bargaining about that. Rule number two; refer to rule number one! He takes or leaves it.
Women do have the strongest sixth sense and gut feeling. I mean they are able to spot that truck from a far…you can feel and read the motive beforehand. Nevertheless, they tend to ignore or are blinded by so-called love, only to wake up in reality when they are disappointed.
Be careful, stay out of trouble and be independent.
If you are successful in life, some men may also feel intimidated by the level of your success. If you see that angle in him, that is a red alert. Run very fast. I don’t encourage women to forgive, love or be kind to men who disrespect or abuse them. Some may end up abusing your kids too. Protect your kids as much as you can and shield them away from negative influences. Don’t carry unnecessary baggage, you already have more than enough and it’s tough.
Life is too short to be unhappy and be disillusioned.
Whatever happens in a woman’s life … marriage is not the end of this world; it’s not the ultimate thing in life. You must survive one way or the other, and there are a hundred and one other things to make you happy apart from marriage. So, do not feel sorry about being single if the right man doesn’t come along. Don’t feel pressured. Don’t compare yourself with others. We are all blessed differently. Don’t get worried that the “biological clock is ticking…’’
Set your boundaries and your bars high! Keep your head above water….
Eventually you will get there if God says so. Don’t lower your standards for the sake of someone who doesn’t deserve you. The consequences are so painful to deal with. It’s a cruel world! All the time be content with yourself and appreciate who you are. We will never be equal. Stick to your lane!
Do you know there are people who are admiring you out there?
You are such a resilient and phenomenal woman surviving without any collaboration, tending and toiling for your family. When the going becomes tough, go down on your knees and pray relentlessly. Prayers work big deal.
Some women choose to live without men. They decide against marriage for several reasons. These women see the uniqueness in singlehood because it allows them the freedom to make decisions on their own. To them it is better to stay single and have children than to marry, only to divorce. Consequently, it’s also a better option than being in an abusive marriage or in a stagnant relationship.
Lastly, remember one thing, don’t stop living. Do not allow your circumstances to weigh you down and feel pity for yourself. Work hard, perhaps extra hard and pursue your dreams. Read books to nourish your mind! Go out have fun but be cautious. Dance like no one is watching! Listen to your favorite music, food for the soul! Eat good food and keep fit; you need a sassy healthy body! What am I saying here? You need to reboot and reset to factory settings to regain more energy to carry on. Find a hobby or an activity that brings happiness to your life and your kid(s). We live once. So enjoy life and eat it with a big spoon, within your means!
A single mother is a woman of strength, hope, courage and goodwill.
We all have a story, a beautiful story to tell that inspires others. What is your story?
Cheers and Happy Women’s Day! I salute!