To Be A Single Mother

To Be A Single Mother

*Phone rings*

Caller ID: *Name Withheld* Otherwise known as guy from the Insurance Company

Little background Info: I have not updated my premiums for the last three months. I think that is why NameWithheld is calling. No, I know that is why NameWithheld is calling.

Me: *Picks up call*

NameWithheld: Hi Renee!

Me: Hi *NameWithheld*?! How are you?

NW: I am good. Habari ya masiku?

Me: Mzuri sana. I have been meaning to call you for the longest time!

NW: I know! It’s been a while. Kwani you left Nairobi and you forgot about us?

Me: *Laughs* I keep telling myself each day that I need to call *Namewithheld*, I need to call *Namewithheld*, … Then something comes up and I just forget. A day is gone…a week is gone…and here we are now. It’s been months since we spoke!

NW: *Laughs* so how have you been? Are you still in…?

Me: No, no, no. I moved to Eldoret.

NW: Ok. So what’s up…?

Me: I quit marriage. And to introduce the elephant in the room, I have been unable to meet my monthly premiums. Getting my feet back on the ground has not been too easy.

NW: Sorry to hear about that.

Me: Don’t be.

NW: Go back to him. Clearly, things were better together *laughs*

Me: *laughs* Not an option my friend. Not an option.

NW: I know. I’m just kidding.

Me: Tell me, what are the implications on my cover?

*We talk money, money (yawn) money this…premiums that…cover that… yawn, yawn, yawn*

NW: …so, your money is safe.

Me: Great.

NW: What are you doing now…?

Me: Doing what I have perfected; quitting jobs since 1978?

NW: Sorry, what job did you say?

(Aside: NameWithheld does not get the joke because I quit my job and…aaargh, forget it!)

Me: I am doing freelance writing now.

NW: Oh, you should write about our Insurance!

Me: Sure. Pay me and I will do it! *Laughs*

NW: *Laughs*

(I was serious by the way)

NW: It’s been great talking to you Renee. We will catch up soon. All the best my dear.

Me: Thank you. And thanks for calling.

*I hang up*

I had this smile that refused to leave my lips at the end of this conversation.

Go back to him. If ever there was a funny joke.

Going back is ok sometimes. You can always go back if after careful consideration, long conversations and righting of wrongs you come to the conclusion that ‘things are (indeed) better together’.

But if you are going back simply because life is proving to be tough, then I don’t know what you expected.

Did I expect it to be easy? No! I never fooled myself that leaving my marriage would be easy. I understand fully what being a single mother means.

It means life being made difficult for you so that you can believe that you can’t make it on your own. Your name might even be tarnished so that you can be as miserable as you can ever possibly be.

It means being blackmailed. I have heard of men going to great lengths to use their children – their own flesh and blood – to control their estranged wives.

It means having to endure the question “Why did you leave your husband” ad nauseam and it being asked in a way to suggest that you just might be the one woman in the entire universe to ever commit a sin so grievous. You’ll burn in hell you!

It might mean having men assume that you want to have sex with them just because of you know, your (unfortunate) circumstances of being ‘manless’? (Poor thing?)

It means having your fellow woman look at you with suspicion because hey, you don’t have a man so you must be out to steal hers. (Some security advice ladies: Always go for men who cannot be stolen. It works wonders for your peace of mind)

If a woman leaves her wandering man, does she do it in order to come after your wandering man? Does that even make sense? You realize that there was that option right? That she could have endured his infidelity but she chose not to? So why would she negate that choice by going after a man who cannot keep it in his pants for his wife? Woman, please. My standards did not change with my marital status. If I respect the sanctity of marriage enough to leave an unfaithful man, I will still respect it enough not to cheat with a married man. Really.

Being a single mother is not easy, was never expected to be easy and will never be easy. The stereotypes can get annoying to the point of hilarity. But since when did I opt for the easy way out of anything?

The easy way for me was to think: Let me just stay put. Let me put up with this because of our finances. I will just stay and hopefully one day, someday (O God, I hope it is soon) he will realize that cheating is bad, that it is wrong, that it is evil. Hopefully he will realize that he needs to mend his ways and that I love him, and that I am a good person, and that he is lucky to have me and and…marriage is hard and…I will just endure this and…and be a good wife….and….and Bullshit! The easy way was bullshit.

If you expect to leave your husband and have it easy out here, please don’t. Stay with him and endure because single motherhood is not for the faint hearted.

To be a single mother you need to be able to take the stereotypes like a sport. Do you think you can do that?

To be a single mother, you need to toil for your children without trying to find excuses as to why they are wearing torn clothes. Why they are not going to good schools. Why they are not having a healthy meal three times a day.

To be a single mother, you need to chin up. We don’t want to see tears. Ati he broke your heart. He cheated on you… He is not the first man to cheat. He will not be the last man to cheat. Many have come before him and many will come after him. Move on!

He messed up your self esteem? (Oh, I love this one) I will use the words of Katt Williams (Yes, the standup comedian. The Pimp Chronicles anyone? No? Ok.) “It is called SELF esteem for a reason.” Your self esteem is your responsibility and if it is messed up, don’t blame him. Fix it your-SELF. He will not come and hand it back to you. He doesn’t have it with him. You do!

If he tarnishes your name, give him a field day. Allow him to burn the bridges so bad that there will be nothing for him to use to come back to you. The only people who will believe what he says about you are the people who know nothing about you anyway. So let him. When he is done, watch his confusion as he wonders what to do next.

To be a single mother, you face the challenges as they come and you fix your life.

This is how far I have come in fixing mine;

  • I am not vengeful. Or angry. Or sad. Not bitter either. Not depressed either. Not (Insert any other negative emotion here) either. I am none of those.
  • I do not harbor an ounce of regret (I really like that) and I have evaluated this very carefully. I have looked deep inside me. I have searched my soul. I have pushed my ribs aside and explored all the way to my throbbing heart and I have asked myself: What is it about my life that I wish I had done differently? I have sat in pin-drop silence and waited. Nothing. I come up with nothing every time. And I like that. A lot.
  • I have come to the conclusion that I am exactly where I am supposed to be at this point in my life.
  • I am happy (my heart just flipped when I typed that). In the end, after all is said and done, this is everything – I am happy.
  • Oh, and I am also broke 🙂


Image Credit: Getty Images


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