There is no greater job in this world than being a mom, the responsibility of taking an innocent small human and guiding them into being responsible citizens of the world, that indeed is the highest honour.
Sometimes being a mom comes with its own perils, especially when spouses divorce or go through a separation. It becomes tougher for the parent who will be left with the children and in most cases, it is the mother.
Mothers find themselves raising their children on their own for a variety of reasons. According to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS), about 45% of homes are headed by a single parent. That’s nearly half the homes in Kenya.
Whatever circumstances led you to becoming a single mum, there are some things you need to remind yourself especially when the going gets tough.
1. Take it one day at a time
Set realistically attainable goals. Avoid planning too far ahead. Don’t aim for a perfect household, seemingly perfect life and perfect kids. There will be times when just being able to serve a homemade meal, do the dishes and have clean ironed clothes will be enough. Start off with a simple routine and once you have settled you can add on other tasks that you didn’t seem to have time for.
2. Have trusted confidantes
Surround yourself with people who support you. Avoid people who criticise you or who are very negative. It’s better to have a few trusted friends or family members or both who you know you can rely on for support when you just need a break. These people can also chip in and babysit so that you can have a self-care day or help pick up the kids from school.
Have a group of single mum friends with whom you can exchange your experiences. This will show you that there are many women in a similar situation to yours and you needn’t worry. You will have people to walk the journey of single motherhood with you.
3. Don’t worry about money
You might have lofty goals when it comes to providing for your little on and that’s okay. However, don’t beat yourself up when money becomes tight. Remember that you are doing the best you can and that your child will appreciate whatever little you have to offer.
4. Have confidence in your situation
Inasmuch as being a single mother is not a strange thing, don’t be surprised when some people criticise you. Your situation, though not traditional or ideal, is yours and you shouldn’t apologise for it.
5. Remember to live your life
Yes, your little one needs you and being the only present parent and sometimes sole breadwinner can be draining, physically and emotionally. But you also need to go out, socialise and enjoy adult company. And when you’re ready, date.
6. Dealing with your ex
This might be a bitter pill to swallow but it’s important for your kids to see the two of you getting along no matter how hurt you both are. Avoid speaking badly about their father in front of them. Find a way to communicate that allows you to rein in your emotions before you speak.