“Happy Father’s Day, Mummy!” - Tale Of A Single Mom
“Some days are harder than others, but my mother keeps me fearless. She inhabits my world, both as a mother and father and makes me feel strong. Happy Father’s Day, Mummy.”
This is what 19 year old Purnabha has to say for her mother. Priya Ahlawat is a mother of two, raising them on her own. This Father’s day, we asked her to share her story with us and her experience in parenting as a single mother.
When and how Priya became the single parent
My husband died in May 2014 when my daughter was in the 11th standard and my son in 9th. Though I was mentally prepared, but all this still came as a severe blow to me. I could never imagine a life without him. He had been ill for quite a long time then and had suffered a paralysis attack in July 2003 due to an enlarged heart. He tried to maintain a happy facade. “Bohot bada dil hai mera”, he used to joke around. Every other month he would confront some or the other problem till his body couldn’t take it anymore. Finally, my parents brought me here (Rohtak, Haryana) on the 13th day of the funeral.
Who’s a father?
In parenting, I believe the parents need to be engaged equally. But being a father specially calls for preparing the kids for the big bad world outside. It doesn’t deny the possibility of being their accomplice in mischief, even getting scolded together by the mother. But at the same time, it means to guide their behaviour, discipline them and support them through the thick and thin.
A day in the life of a single mom
I have a very busy schedule. I work as a teacher in a nearby school to maintain a financially secure home. My parents are quite aged so I have to take care of the house on my own and support them too. My daughter is presently in her 2nd year of college and my son is in the 12th standard and this is a very crucial year in academics for him. I have no other choice than to stay on my toes from morning to night. Whether it is for their PTM, admission matters, or any other requirement, I make it a point to be there with them.
Fighting the “Log kya kahenge” syndrome
“Log kya kahenge.” This saying never stops haunting me. As it is, it’s very difficult to survive in a Man’s World. And it gets really tiring to face their constant questions and jabs. The society has its own way to make me feel inferior as a parent, guilty and irresponsible. I personally don’t care about the stigma around single mothers. But for the sake of my parents, I have to.
Felt the need of the father figure
Yes, lots of times. It is hard, as I’ve never been good with being strict with the kids, and my husband used to take care of that. But I am trying my best. My father has taught me to be a fighter, not a quitter. Giving up is not an option. So I live by the mantra “sky is the limit”.
Purnabha is a really close friend of mine, and I have seen the mother-daughter duo tackle things head-on. Ms. Ahlawat is truly an inspiration, but more than that, she’s the coolest person you’ll ever meet. She’s the kind of person with whom you can share anything and she’ll welcome you with open arms. I’ve seen the two face adversities, but I’ve also seen them bounce back the very next day. That, I feel, is the fighter spirit which helps them in #MakingItWork.
Let’s celebrate this spirit this Father’s Day and break the stereotypes. What do YOU think being a father means? Share your thoughts in the comments below!