I never imagined I’d be a single mom one day. I grew up believing one day I would marry, stay married and have kids. Nothing prepared me for this lone parenthood journey. Absolutely Nothng!
Now….that’s not a complain. I have been on this journey for 7 years and I’m getting better at my solo parenting life, taking each day as it comes and intentionally staying happy for myself and my amazing children. It’s not as easy as it sounds, but It’s a job you do with relish and pleasure, and with the understanding that “You are doing your best.”
While I won’t like to go into the context of my lived experience, and why I became a single mom, I don’t wish whatever led me to this journey on my worst enemy. We live in a world where people only ask the “why” questions when they meet a single mother instead of understanding the “how”, they are ready to judge and throw you under the bus even without having the full picture.
If you had to choose between being a single mom or being married to a man who is destroying your soul, you would choose being a single mom every time. I’ve been through some experiences in my life but nothing quite prepared me for my separation. It hit me hard, it hit me deeply.
With two children who are just 1 year and 7 months apart, I had to teach my mind to be stronger than my emotions. I had to learn how to filter my connections and disengage from folks who were bent on misunderstanding my plight.
The Emotional Struggle Of Being A Single Mom
I quickly got used to being a single mom. It wasn’t too difficult. I had been living in an environment where I constantly had to fight to protect myself and my children. The hardest part I think was the emotional torment I was going through which everyone suffers during a messy separation.
When you are a single mom, you don’t always get the luxuries others get.
You can’t ask your partner to watch the kids while you go to the gym or walk around the block.
I am not too much of a social butterfly but I know the importance of socializing, and having support. When I started coming out of my shell to share my story and build a support system, things changed.
Starting From Rock Bottom As A Single Mom
Moving out of my home country was one of the most difficult, yet necessary decisions I had to make. I had less family support and the responsibility of solo parenting became even greater. I remember how I couldn’t sleep that first night as a lone parent.
Adapting to single parenting was a little tricky and I sometimes felt like some people don’t understand how difficult it is. Single parents hardly ever get a break, unless they have a strong support network or family willing to step in but all too often that is not the case.
Financially raising my children on my own is difficult. As a single mother the income was much less than that of a couple with kids and I often felt the pinch on the purse strings. The money goes as fast as it comes, that’s even If it comes at all.
Working As A Single Mother
My plan to dive right back into work was stalled because I wanted to be a present parent. I was so attached to my girls that I almost made a decision to be a stay-at-home mom, but how do we survive If I don’t get up and play my part. The sacrifices I had to make even while working has stalled my career growth.
Sadly, the world would view you as weak or incapable, when In actual fact you are slowing down so your children can fly in the future.
Don’t Judge Single Mothers
The thing is I do think there is a stigma even in today’s society when you are a single parent. Rather than sit and judge it would be better for people to help and support. It’s better to ask questions than assume a woman just woke up and decided to be a single parent.
You never really know how or why they ended up a single parent, so please the next time you see a single parent, let your sense of empathy over-ride your judgement and assumption. There are women who have gone through situations they are still healing from. Don’t judge or nail them to the cross.
Some parents split up, others lose partners to cancer and horrible diseases, others were just unfortunate to meet the wrong partner, and while they can walk away from that person, they won’t do that to children they brought into the world.
I guess the point I am trying to make is we should worry less about why someone is a single parent and think more about what we can do to help and support because single parenting is not easy.
One thing I really didn’t expect was the intense isolation that comes with being a single mom. When you’re married, you’re often so used to your partner’s constant presence that you can crave having the house to yourself—an evening alone seems like bliss from a distance.
The Mental Stress
This is the part of the journey no one warned me about, but it’s the reality of every single parent. There is one parent to go around now and my kids definitely feel it. You feel it too. You are constantly on a think and plan mode, what they wear to school, what they eat, making the best decisions for them, putting them first. It’s alot for one person, and it affects your emotional wellbeing sometimes….
Anyway, I’d rather learn how to de-stress and handle what I can than go back to what broke me.
Vetting Of Potential Partners
With all this independence and empowerment, I’ve become very unwilling to give up or even share my new life with anyone. I’m being cautious. I’m wary of needing someone too much, of leaning on them instead of myself.
Perhaps this is the effect of living with an abusive partner who stressed me mentally and emotionally, and now I don’t want to give up the healed version of me to someone who probably has his emotional baggage too.
I set my dating boundaries from the get-go, It probably makes me come off as a little on the edge. You know what they say about life being a teacher? You learn the hard way, but don’t become hard, be smart. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case for abusive partners, they move on easily.
When a car hits a person, the accident victim might spend the rest of their life nursing the Injury. The owner of the car probably won’t feel the impact of the accident. He would still live his life and drive round, while the victim nurse the pain. That’s what I tell folks who judge and are quick to say, things like, “Oh, but the person you claim is abusive has moved on”…
In conclusion, before you judge another single mom, remember you didn’t live through their pain, If you don’t have kind words to say to a lone parent, please, don’t say anything at all.
Life is hard for many already, don’t make it harder. We are trying to make lemonades from the lemons life threw at us.
Are you a single mom? Would you like to join a group of for single mothers for financial support and empowerment ? Join Single Moms Ville
I dedicate this article to all the single moms out there, and to Late Dr. Olabisi Igbalajobi , who was a member of our community, and one of the first women I I spotlighted as a Columnist in Guardian Newspaper. May her gentle soul rest in peace.