Are you a single parent? Have you gone through years of trying to make ends meet with your priorities tilted towards your child and then be judged by people who think they know what is best for you, try to boss you, and think they know what’s better for you then you do, and also try to exploit you? Then you know what I am speaking here. (More of these might ring better with those mums living in the South Asian region.)
Dealing with motherhood
You have a kid. You know how the drill goes. People are happy. Everyone wants to see the kid, comment on the kid, get to know what your plans are for the kid. They would tell you how much the kid looks like the father, one of those things you wish they could shut up on, and they would not. In the midst of the big twirl of those who pop in and pop out to see “the kid” you lose track of time, and reality hits only when immediate festivities over. You are with a kid for whom you are to fend, and need to figure out how to spend enough time between your child and the money venture which will ensure that he is not starved. You have no time to sit and think of what just happened in your life, why you are stuck to deal with most of the drama of bringing up a kid on your own (if you did not plan for it, and expected for your partner to be there in the process) but you know you will manage. (Even if you do not thinking you would sure makes a better choice.) You would take up a job that seems decent enough (you cannot be picky as you used to be) and then try to finish up the work and put up with shit you never would have put up. Feeding and clothing your child has become your priority, and you forget most of the rest. All the idiots who come with it, and the bullshit you need to put up with. You have become a mum, a single mum at it!
Putting up with shit
You are usually not the type to put up with anyone’s shit. (Probably why you decide to become a single parent and not to tolerate your partner giving you shit.) But that life style on other fronts in yoru life seems to have changed. You will find yourself working without contracts, without pay on time, with people giving you shit over god knows what. You decide your career becomes based on whether you are capable of taking care of the child. In the process of doing that you try not to lose track of what you believe in, not to lose yourself, and not to end up in jail by killing someone. So in the process you realise Buddha would have been proud of you if he were around: All that patience and tolerance (though you aren’t necessarily one of his disciples) and you find your friends asking you “why are you in a Buddha mood?” You wish to reply with many reasons, but instead you choose to smile. You go into your deep trance of I don’t give a fuck, and realise you have so much endurance when you see some people alive in front of you and talking rubbish away. You name putting up with shit with a better term: patience!
Shopping lists filled with diapers
If you ever were one to make shopping lists, then your lists would be completely different. If you were never to make one and were the spontaneous one, then you have started to believe in lists. Spontaneity seems a relic of late when it comes to your shopping. Your list is filled with baby products, kids products or even teen products depending on how old your kids are, and you become an expert in mind calculations. You know exactly how much you have spent as you spend it at the super market. (The older version of you would have been surprised that you had a clue as to how much you had in your account.) Your purchases for you are calculated, decided with care while you will still have some busy body asking you how you manage to spend so much money on yourself with a kid to be taken care of. You smile with all the desire to stick a sock down that person’s throat without doing that of course. (Older version of you would have been so proud of you!) You smile, walk away thinking of that new way to put up with shit called practicing patience.
Everyone is an expert at bringing up your kid
Everyone seems to know what to do with your kid better than you do. They would advise you on what to call your kid, what to feed your kid, how to dress your kid. In short how to bring up your kid. They will tell you how much time you need to spend with your kid and money does not make children happy. You wonder whether they think you are stupid, or they are smart or whether they intend to feed your kid when you decide to quit work and stay home with the kid. You think of all the money you could have spent on socks which should have been stuffed in these mouths, and decide it would be under that list of things that would not be featured on the priority column on your shopping list. You decide to put them on mute mode, nod your head hoping you nod it at the appropriate time and switch off. Bliss!
Everyone is an expert on what you should do
You think they would know better on what you need to know with the kid. Oh NO! They know what you need to do with your life. When to date, not to date, to marry or not to marry. You have so many people having opinions on even what you should wear or not, that you probably could put up a poll every time you decide on something in your life. It would have been an interesting venture too, and helpful in social analysis. I should start doing this for a change, and see how many blogs I could write based on people’s polls on what I need to do with my life. A new thought, actually this should constitute cheap entertainment given the financial difficulties of going out for constant amusement with the prices of diapers sky-rocketing these days.
Dating. Hold on, you said “dating?”
You have lost the notion of what constitutes dating. Dating might not be a fun affair, nor something easy going. It becomes part of life analysis. Would you waste a few moments with a man who is not going to play any role in your life? You probably would not because you would rather stay home and play with your kid. Coffee or any meal spent on anything not worthwhile (of course you have your own judgement and what not constitutes worthwhile) is a waste. So dating becomes not the easiest thing you realise. And you even try to define what dating is, what the other person thinks dating is, and realise most men have no clue what they are doing even at the age of 60! You honestly hope you would not be that clueless when you reach that age, or wonder whether you would be that good at playing clueless at that age. (For those wondering whether I dated a 60 year old, no I have not. At least not yet. Maybe when I am 55 or 62, who knows. Always leave my options open. This has been the better choice in life.) On top of all that you have a kid sometimes who hate your date, and goes “No no naughty uncles!” or you have one who wants to know why the play mate is lost when you calls dating off. Too much drama, you most likely decide not to date anyone for a while. Just to give a break to your brain. Too much analysis and putting up with shit on many fronts could be bad for it.
The list could be longer. But I think you get the drift. Then again you know it’s all worth it when you see your child and he/she smiles. Mummy can be there hero, the one who is around at least at night or few hours and makes sure that life for them is as comfortable as it can be on any level of life that any single parent reading this lives on. You decide to smile for the world, for your child and yourself and move on. Because life moves on be it whether you are single parent, a married parent, or a parent at all!