Single Parenting.

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Surviving and thriving as a single mom.

I went to visit an old friend the other day, just to catch up on life and all that. She recently gave birth, and I was happy to see how she has grown after giving birth to her daughter. The bond between her and the baby is just so beautiful, totally out of this world.

“Motherhood is not only the proverbial hardest job you’ll ever have. I love my daughter more than I ever thought possible I’m lucky to have a kind, healthy child, but the reality is that motherhood is tough, especially when you are on your own” she said. I have heard a lot of single mothers say “I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t know it was going to be like this” because nobody talks about how difficult it is, perhaps they feel it would be disloyal to their children or think, as I do, that the blessing of a child outweighs the tough stuff. I personally, am not a mother yet, but I am surrounded by single mothers, some of them are my friends. From what I see, they are carrying a heavy load in their lives. What bothers me is the cultural bias against single parenthood and the negative connotations that come with it, all which single parents are forced to deal with daily.

Single parents get a bad rep. There is a cultural bias against single parents, an assumption that these households are less than or incomplete and children suffer the consequence. There is also a gender dimension too. There is an assumption that it is undesirable to be a single mother because the mother won’t be able to follow her own dreams, build a good life and become successful.

It cannot be denied that being a single parent is challenging. There are many single mothers that I know of, who managed to achieve some things in life, like my dear friend, whose name i cannot disclose. She managed to graduate from a tertiary institution and now she is in the corporate world. Many people might look down on you and think you are heading straight for failure because you just gave birth. People might automatically assume that you are less capable of having a career and achieving personal success than a person in any other situations.

I believe that there is life during and after bringing a child to earth. Everyone is capable of achieving whatever they have always wanted to. I mean, nothing is impossible. No one can completely take the place of an absent parent. But one person can make a difference in filling a few voids. There are many single parents who are productive and successful. Further, there are many people in two-parent households who are less productive and successful. I think people can come from a family with both parents that are lousy or come from a family with one parent that is great, or vice versa.

Written by Jolene Tshakane

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