Single Mothers At The Steering Wheel Of Life
Indian single mothers are always under pressure to perform more than other mothers to prove how good or worthy they are as a “mother.” This is not only for their child and family but more so to society and the world at large around them.
Being a single mother qualifies her involuntarily to be examined and judged by society at large; if she is fit enough to bring up a "good" child without a man? These people from the larger society do nothing to support her, value-add to her life, give her due dignity or space, but their sense of entitlement gives them the license to scrutinize and pass judgments on her life.
However, the Single Indian mother in 2017 doesn’t care about what our patriarchal society thinks of them or dictates how they should live their life. Here are some awesome badass women who show us how they do things differently.
#PEOPLE LOOK AT YOU WITH PITY, TILL YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR OWN SELF AND WALK YOUR OWN PATH.
1)Mala and Evani
Mala Paul, 39years, Director of Communications and an NRI elucidates, “My single motherhood has been in the U.S. I have friends who are single mothers in India and from their stories I can tell I have been lucky in that way. It is much harder being a single parent in India than it is here.”
Joyeeta Banerjee, 46 years, Teacher says “Being single Indian mother is not exactly a cake walk. People initially look at you with pity but our society is changing so when you walk with pride people start walking along. So every now and then I pat myself saying - Hey I did a good job.”
Mrinmoyee Mukherjee, 39 years, Manager - Business Development tells, “As a single mother it is always about managing double duty, so though it's not an easy job but the sunny side is it’s double the love too.”
# DON’T LET OTHERS MAKE YOU FEEL GUILTY. JUST FORTIFY YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CHILD.
Shebanti Chaudhuri, 50, Key Accounts Manager says. “Fortify your relationship with your child. Yes, he/she will miss the other parent, but you can slowly counter that feeling by being there for the child in both good and bad times. Simple things like; going on vacations mother – son vacations, work miraculously to really build understanding and a stronger connection between us.
Be strict when needed. Remember values you adhere to will now be your child's guiding star. Seek help from anyone for the sake of your child's essential needs, like tips on education, technology or medicine. My challenge was initially to be there to fill the void in my son's life as his dad or let's say close it. The next thing I had to do was, comprehend the financial situation and combat them all. I had to finish projects my late husband had planned for us as a family. The best part has been securing the dream house he had planned and partly invested for us.”
Mrinmoyee reconfirms, “In our society, there are a lot of free advisors. The "practice what you preach” mindset is absent. So stop worrying about having to take every decision single-handedly because you know what's best for your child. Go ahead and do as best that you can. Never let feelings of guilt or negativity overtake you. Enjoy the small and big things with your son/daughter. Make the most of that opportunity.
2) Joyeeta with Swaraj
#DEALING WITH CHALLENGES: MAKING MISTAKES IS FINE, AS THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO LEARN IN LIFE.
Mala recollect that the biggest challenge is being everywhere at the same time. It is most likely one has a full-time job and to juggle your child’s school, co-curriculars, chores, commute and social life sometimes gets a bit overwhelming. Unlike India, there isn't any help there, which means one is responsible for everything both at home and outside.
Mrinmoyee felt because of her strong mindset she wasn’t daunted by challenges but financially at times it was backbreaking. With that managing picks/drop-offs for school, hobby classes, sleepover, birthday parties and social life for the child can get overwhelming to manage single-handedly. Yet all that is still manageable but the biggest challenge is handling inquisitive people around you, who just want to interfere in your personal life.
Joyeeta suggests hacks for these real-life practical problems, “Challenges are always there; financial, emotional and social. But when I look back I see myself more in control. In hindsight, I learned to manage finances, chores, responsibilities, crisis moments and meltdowns single-handedly with more panache each time. I have made mistakes and that is fine as that is the way we learn in life.
3) Shebanti and Satrajit
#SELF LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE
Joyeeta shares that it is important to keep oneself happy. Treating herself to that “me – time” like going to a movie or a salon, just helps her unwind. “It is important not to pretend and behave like a superhuman and have false expectations of one’s own self. It takes a village to raise a child and here you are practically doing it all by yourself. I had no support as my greatest support system; my sister is far away in another country and my parents are not alive. But with the help of a great bunch of friends, I juggle all my responsibilities. My friends stand by me like a pillar; when I fell, got hurt and was about to sink, they made sure that I learn to float and eventually swim. My heart is filled with gratitude for them.”
Mala explains, “My most important tip is to believe in yourself. Also, if possible to have an amicable relationship with your ex when it comes to parenting is vital. Kids need both parents and learn from them both. The hardest task is to let go of the anger and hatred towards your ex (no matter who has been at fault) that teaches your child the biggest lesson in their lives and makes them resilient.
The biggest stigma about being a single parent is that in some way you are messing up your kids. It is absolutely not true. Know that kids need to be brought up by parents who love and trust each other, not the other way around."
# WOW MOMENTS
Mala says, “The most important wow moment is your ability to be the role model in your child’s life. As a mother there is nothing more badass than teaching your child to have the strength and power to do right by themselves and teaching them that valuable lesson by virtue of your own strengths.
Remember, when you are true to yourself, is only when you can be true to others that include your child.
Mrinmoyee shares it’s in simple things, “Every time that project the mother-daughter duo makes that is a wow moment. The moment you decide to single parent a child is itself a wow moment.
Joyeeta captures it well, “There are millions of wow moments. Doing things which you never imagined you could do it all by yourself, your child respecting you for who you are, living a decent life independently and challenging yourself once again with the belief: Yes, I can do it and instilling hope in others with your own life. All these are wow moments.”
The crucial thing is when you look back at your life, one should be proud as a single mother that you didn’t settle for less, compromise, lived with a false sense of security, under hypocritical moral codes and faking love.