I’m a. Single. Mother

You need to go to Cape Town for three weeks, the assignment needs to be wrapped up and you’re the resource. The first thought that springs to mind are my children; their little lives essentially stop in my absence. I break out into a little sweat while asking myself, “how will they get to school? What happens if they get sick? Who will reassure them that everything is fine if I’m not there?”

In other homes this isn’t remotely a train smash, in mine, it’s an earth-shattering event (perhaps I’m a touch dramatic), but I’m a single mother to two children and even though we have a fantastic live in helper, our worlds revolve around each other.

I’ve been a single mom for seven years and two months now and it remains the biggest chip on my shoulder – how did I manage to make such great children, yet I’m left raising them alone? Another statistic to the single, black successful female (addicted to retail). Often the argument is that if a father takes care of the child by means of child support then that isn’t really single parenting, but I emphatically disagree, it takes more than money to raise children. To be a parent is a full time, active participation, 24/7/365 thing, it takes everything from you – emotionally, financially and physically. It’s also incredibly fulfilling, one can absolutely never deny this factor.

To go at it alone has been emotionally devastating for me, especially because I’m well aware of where their fathers are and that they are voluntarily not being there. This means that I am the children’s sole provider in most aspects; it also means that I don’t get to share the ups and downs. There’s nobody there that fully understands the excitement of a first step, the first day of school. There’s also nobody there for the high temperatures at night when you’re deliberating if you should go to the ER or not – yes there are friends and family who have been nothing but exceptional in my journey, but there isn’t that support and load sharing with the human that helped you create the little humans.

Over the years I’ve had to do plenty of introspection, to acknowledge my role in the disintegration of the relationship between myself and the fathers, to unpack and put my feet in their shoes but often I find that it makes zero sense why men are absent fathers and allow mothers to raise children alone. Is it something that is taught? Is it a conscious decision to know that you’ve created something so precious yet you want nothing to do with him or her?

I was traumatized at raising a child alone and for four years I couldn’t even take any man seriously. So when I met someone who I thought was a great dad who understood the importance of a family and raising children together I felt at ease and we created a little human…little did I know that I’d relive that trauma of raising a child alone. It felt like a sick joke. What I have come to understand with time is that children change a relationship so so drastically. Especially unplanned ones. One minute we’re young wild and free, the next there’s a human that needs love, money and TIME. Time is the absolute toughest.

Parenting is insanely tough, it takes everything from you. As a single mother I’m in a constant state of worry – are they warm enough, do I have a financial buffer for emergencies, are they safe, and are happy? The happy part keeps me up – am I doing it right? All this is on me, while the co-creator is out there living their best life. It’s incredibly painful because they have never given a real reason, or any reason at all for that matter, as to why they’re not there. So in the midst of providing for the children in every aspect imaginable, you can’t even deal with the heartbreak that comes with the reality that someone you once cared SO deeply for is not remotely bothered with the absolute perfection you both created.

I’ve asked myself, I’ve tried to unpack, I’ve asked others and I still can’t come up with a real reason as to why more and more young men are opting not to be active parents and leaving women to raise children alone? “It is what it is” is my life’s motto because no matter how hard it gets or how heartbroken I am, as a single mother, I’ve got to keep it moving because the children need me as their mother to be together and for their lives to continue as absolutely normal.