All Hail the Single Mother!
This one is for the special humans!
There are many of them out there. We all know at least one or two. We all live close to one.. We know her name. We have her number. We know her daily hustle. We rarely notice her super power though. Because most times, we see the label that society has attached to her before we see what she is capable of.
Star is different, you will notice her without a plan. In her, lies power, strength, and a vibe that not everyone can comprehend. Her unwavering courage is her daily energy to do things. For most days, she has to push herself beyond what this courage has to offer. But she has to do it behind closed doors, when no-one is watching. Because she has a picture to paint; a reputation to maintain; a standard set by society to match up to. When she is not at her daily job, Star is most likely to keep indoors. She has way too much to do, sometimes it feels like the day holds less hours than it should, because there is so much to get done. And that’s the life she has known for the past two years.
She is often called woman, not out of respect that she is one, but out of ridicule that she no longer fits in the ‘girl’ category. Star rarely stops to think about when exactly she crossed over, but society has given her an identity already anyways. She was only 20. She didn’t apply for it, nor did she get to choose it. She didn’t have that freedom. She fell in love with a man, but he chose to get away. He went just in time after she had just broken the news that she was carrying his child. She thought they would talk about a ‘short-gun’ wedding’. You know, just so she could tame the embarrassment before her family and the nosy women in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, he didn’t have so much time left.
People have since called her all the ugly names you can possibly think of. Because in their version of life, ‘mother’ probably doesn’t fit her description. She is too young for it, yet she is actually living it. The sad reality is that all the names she has been given don’t even mention how much she can do, let alone the struggle she is currently going through. But yet, within her lies magic, super powers. For every new day, she has her daily house chores, a baby to keep healthy and happy, and a lousy job to help make ends meet. Lousy because it brings in less than she puts in. It has taught her to fight hard, and the art of staying away from her only son for a couple of hours. But nonetheless, she brings food to the table, so she is okay with it, and thankful it is available. Regardless of all the pressure, she still can’t let go.
Her son, her only child, the only reason she got to wake up every new day, and the next. Her only concern is the double edged job she took on with him, because now she has to play both Mum and Dad. She dreads that one day that her son will look her in the eye and ask about her father, and why he doesn’t stay with them. She actually last heard from him some months ago, just before he left for greener pastures ‘abroad’. But the neighbor’s nosy wife, Fanny, just two blocks away from her house says she has seen him a few times on the street down-town. (She has always offered free unsolicited information anyway). But he didn’t look like he even wanted to be noticed, he probably prayed to remain invisible in moments like this one. Only his prayers don’t get answered all the time. Fanny even waved to him and it was clear he saw her. But he chose to look way at both times. It was a weird moment for both.
Fanny felt disappointed. Ignored. But at least she had the guts to drop by on one of the evenings after work. She couldn’t sleep without mentioning it to her neighbor. And by this, no one would say she is not a kind woman. And once she realized that she is all she got, she tried to figure things out her way. In the best way only she can, she learnt to be strong for herself. And boy, she learnt that so well. She decided she’d be her own hero, and her baby boy’s. She will be the mother to her son, she will also act up like the father he never had. Or the one that is always far away from them. She will also be the extra hand that could probably help out with a few extra chores. She wakes up early enough to get everything running, and late after the entire world is off to dreamland. She has to figure out how to survive, against all odds. Every single day.
The last time her circle of friends heard from her, she had just landed this cool job at the National Bank’s city branch. She was a corporate. But she never saw any of them again, and they have no idea she left that job as soon as she learnt of the pregnancy. On some of those days when things got hard, she kept her baby in one hand, and sought solace in a bottle of Vodka in the other hand. And she would never pass without being judged for this one. Now she is not sure if she can call them up or let them decide whether they are still friends or not. No-one ever really stopped by to check how things are. Because, what if…’what if she got it figured out?’, ‘what if she is too sensitive or not ready to talk about it?’, ‘What if she won’t let them carry her baby?’, ‘What if she says they are all intruding in her life’? Or maybe… just maybe, they are all too busy figuring out their own lives? Too busy, that stopping by to engage her for a few minutes sounds like too much to ask? But well, life must go on. She gets too occupied with the nitty-gritty details of this that she forgets to celebrate how far she has come. She only realized how long it has been at her son’s first birthday. That’s the only day that time seemed to stop and she could trace back when it all started. How she got here.
To the world, it looks like she chose that life. So they have most times blamed her for all the decisions she made. She has tried to keep a deaf ear, but it haunts her in the middle of the night. Because, then their voices come back, this time even louder. She has stayed up most nights, trying to block them out, but all was in vain. When you find her down the street in the course of the day, she is a different woman from who she was in the middle of the night. She seems to have it all together. Because well, society has trained as such. Her first born child is now attending the nearby private kindergarten. It’s a decent school. He looks healthy. Well, according to the look of things. A few women across the street want to be like her, only they have no idea what it took to be her. I am not sure they can brave the process either. Because it has been a hard-knock life.
But that’s not the point today! The point is that Star has made it to this point! And so can any other beautiful human in the same line of hustle. Your job and mine is to stop by as often as we can, and check on the she-ro in your circles. Even when she seems to have it all together, the girl in her frets sometimes, the new mother in her is only getting used to that road; and the human in her needs a friend, or possibly an extra hand. We all have a Star in our lives, she needs to hear that she is doing a good job. She needs a pat on the back to keep doing what she does best, knowing that she made the right decision to keep her baby. She needs to know she is making progress, and that the world is counting on her, watching how well she thrives on this journey!