Motherhood comes with its own set of challenges as well as many joys. Single/choice motherhood brings all of these in two folds, mainly because you are playing the role of two parents. If you are raising your child as a single mother, or planning to, we have gathered some tips for you based on the experiences of other single mothers.
There is really no way to sugar coat this: unfortunately a lot of judgement comes along your way when you plan to be a single mother in India. It might come from your parents, other family members or someone who knows you. Other single mothers suggest that it is better to simply pay no heed to such remarks and instead, be proud of the choice you have made as the love you receive from your child is infinite.
Identify your Support System
Single mothers have also mentioned on multiple platforms that unlike the judgemental clan, most of the time, there would be a set of people on whom you can completely rely when you are a single mother. They might some close friends and in case of a divorce, your ex-husband can also be a ray of support if you have parted on amicable terms and he wishes to help you in bringing up your child. One of the mothers has mentioned how her parents, although reluctant at first, later became her biggest supporters.
You have to be extremely careful of your expenses while raising your child as a single mother as you ought to have enough money to support yourself and your child. Fellow single mothers say that having a job is more of a necessity under these circumstances. It is also necessary to make your child understand how your budget works as they grow up.
Challenges in Society
Single mothers often find it difficult to find housing even in metropolitan cities. House owners are usually reluctant to rent their houses to a single mother and her child(ren). The schools might demand the details or signature of the father during your child’s admission process. You might also constantly get pressured to get married so that your child can have what the society defines as a ‘complete family’. We sincerely hope you find the courage to face these challenges and be successful in defining single motherhood boss-style.
Like we mentioned already, you would be playing the role of two parents. You would be the one going to work to take care of your family, at the same time, you would also be the one to take your child out to lunch or a friend’s birthday party. Often times, it gets really difficult to juggle between multiple roles. But you can work out a schedule; if you work the whole week, maybe you take your kid out during the weekend. If you are free in the evenings, you can accompany them to their dance/drawing class. You can also come up with specific activities which you can do as a family, for example, having dinner together every day.
Sitters or Nannies
Since you would mostly be a professional woman, you would need someone to take care of your kid(s) while you are at the office. While some of you might have parents or other family members that can lend a helping hand, some of you might want to hire child sitters or nannies. One of the mothers talks about how she didn’t like the idea of her daughter being with a nanny and hence enrolled her to dance, abacus and elocution classes. This way, her daughter would be busy after school till her mommy reached home and at the same time, learn something productive.
Children are curious beings. It is only natural that they ask you questions about why their family is different from their friend’s. If the child goes through a divorce, he/she might ask you why the father isn’t living with you anymore. Most mothers feel that it is important to be transparent with your children rather than being secretive about things. However, they also suggest that you should wait till they attain an age where they can understand the situation well instead of confusing them at a very young age.
Men and Dating
There is no rule that you should swear off dating when you are raising your child as a single mother. If you find someone compatible, you can definitely go on dates. A lot of single mothers have found love and gotten married and so can you (if that’s what you want!). One of these mother's advice to keep an open mind while dating and not see the man as a future father figure in your child’s life, but to see if he’s a compatible life partner for you first and eventually move on to his relationship with the child.
With education and awareness, the situation today has improved a lot when compared with how it was a decade ago. People these days are more accepting of a woman’s choices and are often supportive. So, if you are a single mother, raising a beautiful child, all on your own, chin up lovely lady and all the very best! You’ve got this!