Keeping It Real as a Single Mumma

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There is an African proverb that says “it takes a village to raise a child”.

While that is true in the broader context of communal living, for a single parent it’s a bit more complex.

As a solo mother for four years now (yes, I am a professional single😅) , these are some of the things I and a few other single mummas I know go through:

1) We question everything we do.
From curfews, to how lenient we should be to how much we should spoil them; we never really know.
Or am I the only one who doesn’t really know? LOL
Part of me wants to spoil them silly to make up for cutting them off from growing up in a ‘complete’ family environment.
The bigger part of me doesn’t want to give in too much in case my beautiful full-of-life child grows up and becomes a little brat.
Don’t judge us.
We do that fine on our own.
Thaaaanks.

2) We struggle to find balance.
We have to work.
Obviously, because hello? People need to eat.
Bills and (loans..haha) school fees and grocery shopping and cash power and petrol and church things.
Because there’s no one to help you out, you have to try and work extra hard to meet those expenses. 💩
The struggle is trying to find the balance between that and spending enough ‘quality’ time with your child.
How does one find this balance?
Am I spending enough time with them or not?
Dear Lord am I negelecccting them? 🙈
Seriously.
If some other single mumma out there finds their balance, hook me up. 🤔

3) You are everyone and everything to your child.
That’s a huge, huge blessing.
You’re lucky if you have the support of immediate family members.
It’s different though when there’s just you two.
You are not only mum, you are also dad, sister and brother (if the child has no siblings). *coming soon please* 😂
Did I MENTION how exhausting that is? lol
You can’t say “GO and talk to your father” if you’re cooking and they need help with homework.
You can’t say “GO outside and play with your sister” if you’re trying to clean and they want to ‘help’ (by making a bigger mess than what was there to begin with).
No.
Because there is only you. And there is them.
And I thank the good Lord for the brains that invented television.
You are our hero.

4) Nights alone are precious.
Those nights where your child goes to sleep with their dad or family members are like a mini vacation.
You can eat what you want. Or not eat at all. (What even is food?) 😉
You can drink what you want.
You can watch what you want.
You can play your radio or guitar as loud as you like.
You can go wherever your petrol lets you. 🙄
Basically, YOU are the child.
Does it make us love our little chatterboxes any less? No.
Thank you and see you tomorrow my little love. Lol.

5) Everything is magnified.
Successes, failures, scratches and bruises on their bodies.
You worry and stress like crazy over every little cough, every runny nose.😑
Every bad report, every C, D, E grade makes you feel like the world’s worst living mother now and forever.
I think this is because you don’t have the other person to shoulder half that worry or to take half the blame.
So you end up worrying enough for two people and half your village. Lol.

6) You always have to be there.
When there are two parents, one can go to a kid’s school thing while the other goes to work.
When you’re flying solo, you go.
You ALWAYS go.
No child should be dancing and singing for their parents only to look down and see no one there for them. 🤧
So you go wherever they dance, recite or play.
Without compromise.
The absolute end.

7) You have to find a way to put up with the hard stuff.
Children ask you difficult questions like why you left, why you don’t love their dad anymore.
Why couldn’t we be like a ‘normal’ family like Zion and Becca who both live with their mum and dad. 😔
That’s when that you start second guessing yourself like,
“Did I make the right choice? Should I go back?”
Those are some of my darkest times.
I want to give my child the ‘complete’ family unit she deserves, but I know without a doubt that… no.
Just no. 🛑
Please go away and come back with your questions when you’re finished with university and you can afford your mumma’s round da world trip. 👊

8) We feel like failures.
Nobody enters in to a relationship planning to fail.
No, I didn’t invest all those years with him with the intention of spending them alone with this 9 year old image of me.
So to actually fail- (spectacularly I might add) and have your little one call you out on it is like…..
Don’t even try, missy.
I don’t negotiate with terrorists.
Try again when you’re 16 and can cook your own food.
E Sa Amelia!

9) You cannot badmouth the other parent.
Even if you have a thousand and one things to say about their father.
You don’t.
You never ever badmouth them or your relationship (or what’s left of it..RIP) to them.
And you never let family or friends badmouth them in front of the children.
That’s just low and wrong.
Even if all of it is correct. (According to you).
😎

10) It gets lonely sometimes.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t miss the part where I have to ask someone’s permission to go anywhere or do anything. (not this city gurl thanks 💅)
I also don’t miss the guilt trips when I have to go or be somewhere for work or fun.
But there are times, especially after a long day or week that I just want to crawl in to someone’s arms and cry.
And maybe vent a bit about how life is sooooo unfair. 😂
There is nothing that compares to a genuine bear hug from your little one, yes.
But sometimes a girl needs adult company and adult conversations.
So what do we do instead?
We go online and write long, meaningless things that we could be telling that person (that I haven’t seen in three weeks…. Atapana, e fa’alelei afea le ta misa? Lol)

11) We are terrified of meeting and falling for another man.
At least I am.
Who could love me?
Why would they? *insert dramatic sniff* 😂😜
If they did, would they love my daughter too?
WOULD THEY LOVE MY DAUGHTER AS THEIR OWN?
Would they be a partner in every sense of the word?
It’s not like we go looking for love a second time.
Sometimes it finds us.
And then we run away and we find all the reasons why it wouldn’t work.
Because um…been there, got the tee shirt and the child. Didn’t work.
Leave me alone.
I’m done. (For the 100th time 😂🙋‍♀️)
Toot brye.

You see where this is going? 😂😂
There is so much self doubt that surrounds us single mummas.
If it were about anything else I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad.
But when it comes to our kids, nothing should be spared or overlooked.
Those precious little souls are our future.
But their future lies in our hands.
If we single handedly mess it up- it’s OUR fault.
NOT the community’s fault.
Not the village.
Not the church.
US!
That is what makes it soooo stressfulllllllll aye? Lol.

So!
If you are a single mumma going through any of those things above, I’m right with you. 😂😅

You are not the only one, sister gurl. I see you.
All we can do is try and then try some more and then drink a (very small👀) glass of wine, sleep it off and try again tomorrow.

And for what it’s worth, I think you’re doing a great job! ✊
And if nobody has told you today, I am proud of you. 😘

#TheSingleMumma


Marlene Kathleen Mulipola