Sunday, 28 February 2016

SINGLE PARENTING

The friendship between Jan and I was a peculiar one. It dated back to when I was in my penultimate class in high school. Although we were in different schools and I was a year younger (but a class ahead), the chord struck the day we first spoke at a debate competition.

We made sure to keep in touch regularly thanks to Facebook but at some point, I became engrossed with school work while in the university and I hardly had time for social media inter alia.

It was a rude shock when one day I was browsing through my news feed and I saw Jan cuddling an infant. One million thoughts started racing through my mind. I was mad at the fact that she had a kid and was probably married without my knowledge, I was amused that she was now a mother, I was confused as to who her spouse was and I must admit, I was more confused/amused than mad.

Being the loud mouth that I am, I commented under the picture thus 'madam, weldone; you are now married without my knowledge. So much for friendship' and immediately, I got a message alert from her. On opening it, my greatest fear was confirmed. My dear Jan was the latest addition to the statistics of romance gone awry with a kid as the fallout of the unfortunate relationship.

By the time she started to narrate how she didn't know how she found herself in such because you see, my babe is very street wise than I am, I became sorry for her; sorry for the kid who might never know what it feels like to grow up in a family where the father and mother adores him, where each milestone growing up is captured alongside family moments, etc.

Much as we like to condemn single mothers (and fathers), I like to remind people who are quick to judge that it could have been any of us (so Jan darling and other sweethearts of mine known and unknown who were brought up in this environment or who are single parents, this article wasn't written to spite you).

My very effervescent friend is now a shadow of herself, she is frustrated. I know this because she takes it out on me.
I don't know how it feels like to be single and still act like a parent but I try to empathize always.

Here are some tips to cope as a single parent.

1. Build a strong family routine and stick to it. Allocate time for chores and time to spend as a family.

2. Establish ground rules since raising kids by yourself means you don't have anyone there to back you up if they won't play nicely.

3. Find opportunities everyday to praise good behaviours.

4. Set boundaries and limits. Children need to understand

5. Don't feel guilty. Don't blame yourself or spoil your child to try to make up for being a single parent.

6. Take care of yourself. Arrange time to do activities you enjoy alone or with close friends. Eat a healthy diet.

7. Lean on others. Join a support group for single parents, call on trusted loved ones, friends, etc for help.

8. Stay positive. Try to keep your sense of humour when dealing with everyday challenges.

9. Don't waste time being angry. Fine, the relationship didn't work out that's why  you are left to care for the infant alone. Being bitter is just a waste of time as this is unproductive.

10. Be financially stable. You need to save money for unexpected costs and eventualities.

8 comments:

  1. awesome post sweety....
    Thank you for always impacting knowledge always

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  2. This is my cup of water on single motherhood. I tink it arises frm different reasons and angles. Its also gender fault based and non gender fault based. Gender based-the guy or female or and both. Non gender- situation and circumstances. While no one can actually know the true intent of anyone, there are however pointers and signs that should not be ignored. So if he is the guy that is irresponsible, d babe shld know or rather wld know and vice versa. For situation and circumstances, i would just say life could be unfair! Thanks for the post

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    1. Single parenthood is more of unfair circumstances, especially in Africa. I mean here, you hardly see a woman wake up and say she wants to raise her kid by herself because the mentality is even when things are bad, she'll stay because of the kids.
      The bottom line here though is being a single parent or a product of one isn't the end of the world.

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  3. Nice one. Sometimes things we don't expect happens. However the ones I have a problem with are the ones that get pregnant just to trap the guy or get money....

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    1. Of course, I don't support that but trust me, those Africans that do it regret because there's no concrete mechanism for child support and Co.
      How's school?

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