The Joys and Challenges of Single Motherhood: My Story Part 3
Hello, ladies, we continue with the third part of my story as a single mother – I focus on the joys and challenges and a little word from me to you. You can catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 if you missed those. I hope you are helped and not hurt by my story.
The first time I became a mother over 13 years ago, I was not only single but I wasn’t even engaged to my son’s father. It was simply a move-on situation, and although society generally frowns on such single mothers, I was so happy to not be bothered by any ‘stigma’. Honestly, my single motherhood experience then was easier than it is now. Today, after a six-year marriage ‘affair’, I am back to being a single mum to not one but three boys aged 13, 10 and 7. I will share three joys and three challenges before wrapping up my story.
The Joys in my Single Motherhood journey
- Nothing beats the open door policy I have with my boys. They can walk into my room at any time and talk, hug, cry, complain, etc. I know this is a stage and want to make the most out of it.
- It is a home we have and not a house. We are a closely knit team of four – oh, plus Ella our cat, and we have family meetings and discuss before making collective discussions. This never happened when I was married. The marriage and keeping a ‘married’ home issues were such preoccupation, I candidly didn’t have such valuable time to bond with my boys.
- I am the mum in chief. I make the final decisions about faith, finances, feeding, fights, fun and all. I find it a joy not having to negotiate those with a partner while negotiating my ‘likability’ too…
The Challenges in my Single Motherhood journey
1. I have felt at times I can’t have any meaningful me moments again until the next journey when the boys would have left home. This is a challenge for me because since I discovered I could love myself, I had designed and embraced the concept of “My Me Moments”. Those me moments which were whole outings for 24 hours or even a weekend when I was without the kids are now measured in hours or minutes before they barge into my room.
2. There have been a few times I have wished I had a partner to help me out, especially with grooming them boys the men’s way, you know. I can only, for example, talk from a girlie’s point, while adding stuff I read, say from some great books like Steve Harvey’s “Act Like a Lady Think Like a Man”. But that can’t beat what a guy they know will say he’s lived through or knows from experience.
3. The chances of having an emotional relationship during this single motherhood journey may be very slim to say the candid least. Actually, there has been none for the past four months. And, although it is now a conscious decision to be celibate, that was not my initial decision when I moved back to Cameroon in August 2015. I tried a few and failed floppily before I decided with the boys and for spiritual cum self-preservation reasons to be celibate.
When I was growing up, I remember a cousin of blessed memory who was a single mother. The innocent child labelled as ‘born out of wedlock’, ‘illegitimate’ and all. Such children were more often called with a ‘prefix’… poor this or that; while the mothers were subtly met with disdain. I didn’t know at that age, I was going to become a seasoned single mother someday. I loved my cousin and her son so much.They even lived with us at some point.
Yes, there is still a stigma surrounding single motherhood. If you are a single mum before any marriage, oh what a shame. What were you thinking to commit fornication without any promise of marriage?
Your married friends start shunning you and your marriage potentiality takes a big hit. If you are lucky like I ‘seemingly was’ and meet a man willing to embrace you and your ‘bastard’; but due to some ‘curse’ leave that marriage and join the ranks of single mothers again, ah sorry for you, period.
The single ladies and single mothers yet to be married, view you as ‘disgusting competition’ for the few eligible bachelors. Your previous married friends review your friendship simple. Society is equally severely subjective. A single father gets so much of ‘poor him’ while you the single mother gets more of ‘well you get what you deserve’.
All in all, it is up to you the single mother to tell yourself what you want to hear. To strive to be what you want to be. To love yourself the way you want to do. To feel only feelings you want and determine for how long. To hang around with who you want and when you want. To be what you want, how and when. To let nobody’s opinion of you become your reality.
I have shared my journey to inspire and motivate other single mothers. All is not lost because life turned out so. If I have been able to turn myself out this way, I think you too can. Don’t give up, keep the faith and this too shall come to pass.
Thank you for sharing your journey with us, Marie.
Over to you…
Can you relate to Marie’s story? Would you like to share a little of your journey with us as well in the comments?