With a teenager you hardly think much about being a single mum, this is because like in the case of my teenage daughter she is well on her way to being an adult. Side by side we look like, sisters or cousins though we are twenty odd years apart. She can cook, clean and practically live on her own if she had to. My main function is to provide a home, food, clothes and schooling for her.
We chat about everything be it fashion, men, gossip anything almost except detailed graphic sex (shiver just went down my spine), today’s children know more than we do or did when we were their age. We both love to review books, movies, songs and even adverts and can easily agree to disagree. I can come down hard on her for not doing her chores, then she gets into a foul mood but we always work it out. We are buddies as much as we are mother and daughter.
Being my daughter’s mum does not constantly remind me that I am single or any shortcomings that I face as one but with my two year old son, it’s another story.
I for one, do not know how to teach him manly stuff like peeing. When he doing his thing, he thrust his little pelvis forward (his own idea) and pees without holding his organ to direct the flow of his pee though it doesn’t look very comfortable, he does the job so well without messing his pants. I often wonder if this is the correct way of doing it, whether I should try to teach him something else and if it’s wrong will he grow out of it. I worry that if he develops girly habits, he might get teased by his peers as he grows older.
As I am not employed currently, I find shopping for groceries a tedious and very stressful task, because he wants to grab everything and really doesn’t understand why I cannot buy the stuff I used to when I had an income. So our shopping excursion for basic stuff, usually end in screaming matches and hectic tantrums, much to the displeasure and disapproval from other shoppers, that leaves me feeling more stressed as to how I am going to make it on my own as a parent than not having enough to meet our basic needs.
He seriously demands attention. Sometimes I just need help, because if I become too busy for my son while doing important stuff, he will start looking for ways to get my attention. This can start from emptying his toy box and throwing the toys everywhere to demanding food or whatever. He can pull the worst card of them all, peeing everywhere if he doesn’t have a diaper on, if he does have the diaper on, he will demand that I take him to the toilet.
I worry myself sick to my stomach if I have to get home late, or when I am late to pick him up from daycare. Sometimes I wonder if for some reason I cannot get home because I have fallen ill somewhere or worse, how he would cope, how my daughter would cope with him. Just that thought can drive me insane, I have to take a few deep breathes, calm down and pray that I get home safely. It is such times I wish I had a loving partner who would take care of my kids should I die.
I can list a whole lot other negatives but I think I am doing an awesome job juggling both roles. I do not have to fight about what is best for the child, how he should be or act, which school or whatever is best for him. And my parenting skills don’t have to be questioned by in-laws or extended family except my own, which I can effectively deal with without upsetting someone in the process.
While I do need help sometimes, ultimately I feel blessed and celebrate every new word or action learned without needing approval from my ex. What if we couldn’t find common ground on parenting skills, what would do, would I be able to cope. What if he had issues with the way the way he was raised and wanted to correct the issues on my children’s life?
After a harrowing day, I do not have to go home and try to please someone else (African men have huge egos), especially if I wasn’t happy to. An African wife is still expected to perform all the wifely duties even if she is dog tired from work, regardless that the husband is unemployed and stays at home. I have nothing against marriage, bless those who are happy, but sometimes it can be more disastrous and not beneficial to anyone to stay in the marriage. I can whisk a quick meal without thinking if it will be satisfactory or pleasing enough to him then rush to bed to cuddle with my son (another uphill task at hand, I have to wean him off my bed) drift off to sleep, looking forward to another day…