So let me set the scene: I’m at work, talking to one of the staff from a different department. We get chatting a bit more about holidays and I mention that I’m off to Dubai with my mum as I’m not with Kimaarah’s dad anymore. ‘Oh no, I’m so sorry, what a SHAME’ they say. ‘Oh no, don’t worry, definitely not a shame we’re much better off now’ I reply, holding back the urge to say something that might get me the sack. My reply doesn’t convince them and I wonder why that is?
Why is it, when people find out you’re a single mum, they have to come out with that one word you really don’t want to hear – sorry. And then to add insult to injury they add in something like ‘I don’t know how you cope’ or ‘it must be soooooo hard’ or even ‘I couldn’t do it myself’ *resists urge to slap this person*
But just imagine this, I do cope, everyday of my life. I cope because I have to, and also because I want to. Being a single parent doesn’t mean I’m alone, I don’t have time to feel lonely and I don’t want to either. I want to feel amazing, because I’m doing the best job I can for my daughter, making sure she doesn’t miss out on opportunities, working to show her that hard work and ambition pay off, trying to be the best role model I possibly can even when I’m tired on the odd morning and give her YouTube to watch while I get an extra half hour sleep (like when she wakes up at 6.30am on my day off 😳😩)
Is it a shame that my daughter gets to live in a happy home, without witnessing arguments, without watching her mum stress out over whether her dad will turn up that night or whether he found something better to do. Is it a shame that my daughter has been on 4 holidays since I split up with her dad, when she barely got a family day out let alone a holiday before things changed for the better.
To the ‘it must be so hard’ people – yes it’s bloody hard work. It’s hard getting up in the morning to do the nursery / work run, a full day of work and then coming home to play the ‘mummy’ role until bedtime. But I’m proud of what I do and I’ve found my own way of managing. We all do what we need to get through the day whether that’s as a single mum or not.
Kimaarah still sees her dad and I’ve never badmouthed him in front of her, as I don’t believe in it, it achieves nothing at all. What he put me through wasn’t right but he’ll have to live with his mistake for the rest of his life, that’s enough of a punishment. And if anything he’s the one who’ll be lonely while he tries to replace me and realises there’s no one else who will ever be me. In the earlier days that’s what kept me going and it’s only through telling myself every day that I’m the one who’s been successful, I’ve ended up a lot better off out of the situation, by telling myself everyday that I’m the one who freed myself from a miserable future. I started to believe it more as every day passed and now I know it’s true.
I know that people in relationships might find it hard to work out how we single parents cope but when you’ve had enough and you have to make the decision between being happy or unhappy, you’d pick being happy every time right? Or would you pick being unhappy just so your child can live with both parents for 18 years? As that’s what I find crazy to be honest. I believe your happiness matters just as much as your child’s, if you don’t feel at peace, if you’re not feeling confident or sure of your relationship, that will rub off on your child. Children know when there’s a problem even if they don’t know what the specifics are. By eliminating the biggest factor of stress in my life I’ve given myself a much better chance of being the mum my child deserves, I have nothing else clouding my judgement, I have no one influencing my decisions. Of course it’s stressful and it would definitely be nice to have some help but I’m not always alone! As I mentioned Kimaarah still sees her dad and I have an amazing family, plus working gives me the opportunity to be myself and do something I enjoy whilst giving Kimaarah a good lifestyle. As them Sonata dresses don’t pay for themselves. And of course I want to give her more in the future but I know this situation won’t be forever, eventually I’ll meet someone who will treat me how I deserve to be treated. So for now I feel very at peace with myself, I’ve got a good mindset. I know I can cope alone because I have done for the past 2 years.
I wanted single parents to read this and know there is hope, even in the days when you wake up and you’re already looking forward to bedtime, because there will be those days. But there’s also gonna be the days where you feel you’ve smashed parenting, you’re doing amazingly and no one can put you down.
So on behalf of all single parents, I wanted to say we don’t need you to feel sorry for us. Please stop saying sorry! It’s so patronising! And it’s not ‘a shame’. We’re living our lives just fine thank you. Next time you hear of a woman being a single mother, why not congratulate her for being so successful, even if her success was managing to get herself and her kids all fed, dressed and out of the house on time that morning! Because it’s a real challenge let me tell you!
If anything, I feel more sorry for the people out there stuck in a loveless relationship, with a wasteman who goes out every Friday night and doesn’t come back until Sunday afternoon, who you struggle to get any financial support from, who’s hardly around for his kids anyway and who basically treats you like his mum. Sure he’s just brought you that Michael Kors watch you wanted but who’s bed did he roll out of this morning? *Sips tea* that’s none of my business though …