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.

Photography

  • Palama Mamolao
    2nd May 2017

    ‘I was traumatized at raising a child alone’ the most painful experience I have ever had but with support from my family especially my St Mom,friends and professional help,I am more confident that I will raise an amazing human being.

    I have always respected friends that were single mums but never knew it’s hard especially because you first have to deal with the rejection from the partner,the hurt,etc and still show up for this little human being who you mean the world to.

    You will try for days on end to figure why is this person choosing to do this. Makes no sense. And let’s not forget the labels ‘crazy baby mama’ and I now know what pushes women to be CBM.

    We all wish for our kids to be raised by both parents especially if you come from such a home. Unfortunately life doesn’t work that way and never ever be a victim or be bitter because someone made a choice to walk away.

    You doing a great job raising your two kids.

    • Palesa Motau
      2nd May 2017

      Spot on. We simply carry on and raise super stars 🙂

  • Zandi
    16th Jan 2019

    Almost brought to years by this because you put to words what iv been struggling to for years. I’m a single mom of 2boys. Iv been doing what you’ve been doing for 7 years for only 4 years.
    Thank you for this.
    I understand my chip on the shoulder clearer now and I have hope….. That it gets easier, even to talk about.

  • Palesa Serutla
    17th Jan 2019

    This is me, in 2018 I found myself pregnant with my third child, totally unplanned as I was doing my B-tech, living with my partner, in the process of our lobola negotiations but as soon as we found out, things changed to a point where I had to move back home to my parents house, this was my second child with him, we had a two year old and it was over, just like with my first born I had to do this alone. I gave birth to my son the same year (18/10/2018), it has been extremely tough, lost both my parents, the only support I have is my two little sisters, I cried every day the whole of 2018 and I’m still crying now but my children need me, I cannot break down!

    • TheLooz
      17th Jan 2019

      Palesa, I am praying for you. It’s hard and let me tell you this, tears are perfectly fine. It is ok to feel overwhelmed, it is ok not to always have it together. While I also get the need to always keep it together, there is so much power in vulnerability, especially with the children. We are superheroes in their eyes, but I promise being huma is even better.

  • Shadi
    17th Jan 2019

    This is my daily struggle, I have been a single mom to my 14 year old for 9years now. When I fell pregnant I was not ready to be a mother, the father convinced me otherwise and was fully supportive from day until the day I broke off our engagement. We agreed to be fully present and putting our child 1st before anything. It was important for me to make sure she has a relationship with her dad, because I am daddy’s girl and was raised by an amazing man who was fully present. The 1st year all went well, after that it all went downhill. He is not available financially and emotionally, instead he would rather buy expensive car’s. I have forgiven myself for choosing him be the father to my daughter and I also believe is not a reflection on me as a person, as my decision was based on what I knew. I have sacrificed my career for 5 years just to make sure I am fully present, being able to drop and pick her up from school was more important. I have realised the importance of family or a good support structure. Today my daughter is in Grade 9 and very independent, I am working hard to catch up career wise and studying part-time. I am grateful that I am able to fully provide for my child and take her to a good school. There is always light at the end of a tunnel

  • ThandekaM
    18th Jan 2019

    Hi. I’m a new mom and I knew I was going to have to parent alone the minute I told baby daddy I was pregnant and he suggested I abort. As much as it was not in the books, I didn’t want to do abort the baby. After long, exhausting phone calls and texting, him convincing me to abort, I told him he was free to be absent and I wouldn’t judge him. And he did just that.
    So every time I want to be mad at him for not coming to see his daughter, I remember I promised to not judge him and that he was free to be absent. So far, I’m doing just alright with little one, and I pray everyday for strength to keep pushing.
    I love what Shad I said about forgiving yourself for choosing this kind of father for your child and that it is not a reflection of me, that is totally what I remind myself everyday.
    Strength to you gorgeous mommies.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: