‘Life would be easier if I were a single mother’, I said jokingly while talking to my girlfriends one day. They all laughed and agreed. ‘Yes, seriously. At least we will not have to bother about our husbands complaining, teaching or expecting so much, as it is they themselves are no less than kids’, a friend of mine said and we all shared a laugh.
It was a light hearted conversation and we were not exactly making fun of anyone, or judging anyone. Those were just the statement made in a fun mode.
A few days later, my husband had to travel to Bangalore, and then to Delhi… just a matter for 10 days. Huh! I can do this. It would be fun I thought. During the day, generally my husband used to drop her to the day care but now I had to do that, okay, no problem but that was the same time my maid used to come. So, I rushed to the day care a little early, dropped her and came back, then the maid came, all the work then I started the office work, then cooking then buying groceries, brought her back, prepared dinner, played with her. A little tiring but okay. The first night, my daughter refused to sleep. She wanted her father, she wanted him to be next to her. What should I do??? I tried distracting her and after a lot of effort I could make her sleep. BY the time she slept I was too exhausted that I could not sleep. I poured myself some wine and sat alone and after almost an hour I could finally sleep.
The next few days were even more difficult, for me as it was a lot of work and I had no one to help; for my daughter because she was missing her father. All the time she would say, ‘Papa, papa, papa’ and looked sad.
It was then the statement came back right on my face, ‘Life would have been easier if I were a single mother’ Would it be easier??? I don’t think so. I could see how difficult it might be for single parents to perform twin roles – both of a mother and a father, every single day. For me I knew that my husband would return after ten days but for the actual single parents – they know that it is always going to be them and their child – no one else.
They know that no one is actually going to come and share the things they do – I am not talking about the chores – that anyone can help with but what about the moral and emotional support that a single parent provides a child with that can’t be shared.
A single father has to play the role of a mother to the daughter – inform her about her body and her changes just like a mother and he does that with all the ease and love.
A single mother like a father helps her boy grow up and learn about his body and she does that with all the ease and love.
A single parent’s life is not like ours where even after some small conflicts we know that the father is going to be participating in the father-child race or the mother is going to be there when needed. Theirs is a different one. Are they weaker or sadder? Hell, no. They are string and happy to perform all the responsibilities but what makes it difficult for them are the moments that are lonely sometimes, and a lot of hard work always; always knowing that they have to do it all by themselves and the peace with which they embrace this fact and raise strong kids. Knowing that when they are awake all night with the baby, no one is going to take turns so that they could close their eyes for a while; knowing that if the child falls sick, no one will be there to take alternate leaves so that the office would not suffer; knowing that being a stay at home mom (equally difficult task) is not even an option for them; knowing that there is no second option when it comes to the child’s needs. Difficult moments can be – when they walk alone, when they worry alone, when they cry alone, when their child asks where the other parent is….
Still they do it, so well. How I know? I have a friend, not from India, who is a single mother. I have known her when she was a teacher, now she is the principle of the best school in DR. She is a strong woman – a woman of character and substance and her little boy is the sweetest.
The feeling I have for her – I am proud of her, she is an inspiration. I asked her how life has changed after she took up the role of a single mom and this is what she wrote, “Well my friend, mine has not changed a lot because I did everything and now I am doing the same”
Be it a single dad or a single mom, life is not always very easy for them, there is always a lot of hard work and a lot of strength required. I today sincerely apologise for the statement I jokingly made… I salute all the single parents who are definitely doing a great job and raising kids efficiently… more power to you