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Going solo: The joys and challenges faced by single mothers

20 Mar 2021 By HUBERT VAZ

Mother’s Day is that time of the year for children to acknowledge the role of their mothers in shaping their lives. It is also an occasion for mothers to walk back through time and cherish precious moments on the journey of nurturing their children. However, some mothers had to shoulder a dual responsibility, physically as well as emotionally, as destiny would have it so. And they did so with no regrets whatsoever.

On the occasion of Mother’s Day today, three ‘single Moms’ in Oman share some aspects of their journey – the joys and challenges of being on their own and striking unique bonds of togetherness with their children.

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Dr Laila al Kharusi

What do you see as the key challenges for a single Mom? 

At the beginning it was hard to adjust my entire life to me becoming the primary custodian for our children. Especially when I had a two month old and a two year old, and I was working 45minutes away from home. It was hard. If it wasn’t for my family I would have really struggled. I also found it awkward going to play dates and seeing parents around, as I went solo. But once I adjusted my perception of what the new norm is, it became easier. I realised quite early in my divorce that I can either play the victim, complain and feel sorry with myself, or accept change, embrace it and just get on with life.

What do you see as the key joys for a single Mom? 

Not having to share my kids with their dad, I get to have them all to myself when they are with me, and we have the best of time together going on adventures of a lifetime. And for that, I am so grateful.

How did you emotionally compensate for an absent parent? 

It was different for my family. My children’s father was never an absentee father ever. He is always there for them and for me, too, if I asked him. We have a good schedule between us, on when to see the kids. We decide together on everything related to our children. We even spend birthdays together and celebrate occasions together. We have never allowed our separation to diminish us as a family.

What type of support did you receive from family members?

All the love that I needed. All the attention that I needed. All the space that I needed. All the advice that I needed. I lucked out with the best parents and siblings, Alhamdulillah!

What advice do you have for young single mothers?

I think to feel defeated is ok. But to be defeated due to a change of circumstance is a choice. You can decide whether you want to be empowered or not. No husband, no person, no one can do that for you, except yourself. So my advice is, choose to be content and to never allow a change of circumstance to define your happiness or peace of mind.

What wish do you hold for your own mother and for your children?
I pray for them to always have peace of mind and to always live earnestly. After all, it has become a rare commodity nowadays.

 

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Fawzia Abdulaziz

What do you see as the key challenges for a single Mom? 

It is seriously hard to be a single parent. One of the key challenges, I would say, is the emotional challenges of a child – he/she will always want to be with both parents, especially when they see their relatives and friends are very much with both parents. A child will always see this as a ‘complete family’. The other challenge is having limited time, and fatigue, especially for a working mother.

For me it was not easy to manage these 2 challenges initially, since I had decided to focus more on my career. However, I truly worked on my time management in order to spend quality time with my daughter so that she doesn’t feel lonely and gets the same feeling as if she were with both parents. But one thing I must add that I never felt I need financial support from anyone because I truly worked hard to earn more, and hence, provided my daughter with the best of education and moral support. 

What do you see as the key joys for a single Mom? 

What really makes me happy is, when my daughter tells me that she wants to become like me – that she wants to become a very strong woman who appreciates and value independent women. Such statements makes me more stronger in life, especially if it comes from our children who appreciate the amount of sacrifices we have made for them. In life, some challenges we enjoy to accept, and hence, we own them. Being a single mother was very tough, indeed, but somehow I enjoyed accepting it, to be very honest. It made me stronger, independent, a dreamer and a decision maker.

How did you compensate emotionally for an absent parent?

I have compensated the emotional part by spending most of my time with my career. During this period, I started working very hard to become very  successful, and my aim was to reach senior positions where I work. My parents were a great support for me, and they still are. Also, some of my very close friends truly stood by me during my initial journey. And last but not the least, I started working on my few hobbies to close the remaining loop.   

What type of support did you receive from family members?

I received emotional support from my parents on how to be focused and firm in order to overcome any obstacle or setback. 

What advice do you have for young single mothers?

I emphasise, that a woman is not a weak creature. We all should work on our weaknesses in order to stand more stronger and powerful. I always say ‘dream big and create your own vision/goals’. One failure should not break us down, we have to lift ourselves every time we fall in order to achieve what we want from life. Self-motivation is the greatest we possess.

What wish do you hold for your own mother and for your children?

I always wish good health and a long life for my mother. May the Almighty bless her and keep her safe always. And I pray to continue with the beautiful relationship with my lovely and only daughter. I wish her all success in her career and her personal life. 

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Sangeeta Kundnani

What do you see as the key challenges for a single Mom?

Being a working Mom. As a working mother, the biggest challenge a parent would face is to be manage time efficiently. It is also difficult to balance work and parenting – taking care of oneself and children, managing work and home, all by oneself. Apart from physical needs, it is very important to cater to your child’s emotional needs as absence of the other parent  can cause numerous questions and thoughts in a child’s mind.

Also, the financial strain on a single mother is very important It is true that, ‘money cannot buy happiness’, but lack of financial support can cause stress and anxiety. Often, single Moms feel guilty about not providing enough for their kids. In such circumstances it would be difficult to prioritise self-care.

Equipping myself for these challenges came with practice, and I mean it – only with practice. Initially, it was difficult, but soon I started to live in the moment and accepted the fact that parenting was like being in a competition.

A child learns and observes everything at home, so creating a healthy and loving environment for your child is very important. I also learnt how to budget my expenses as children’s needs increase as they grow.

What do you see as the key joys for a single Mom? 

After I learnt to parent single, nothing that could stop me. I became a multi tasker and performed multiple roles. This feeling of achievement comes from within and no one can take that joy from you. Being a single parent also empowered me – I started taking control of my life, gaining confidence and taking decisions by myself. I started living a life the way I chose to and even enhanced my career prospects by doing an MBA in Shipping and Logistics. I currently work as a Line Sales Manager in shipping.

How did you emotionally compensate for an absent parent?

To be honest, it was tough. There were many anxious days and sleepless nights. But once you see your child adjusting well, given the tough circumstances, you gain confidence in what you’re doing. There were times when we would cry together, laugh together and fight with each other, just like any other family. My strength has always been my ability to never give up in times of difficulties. I believe in myself, and my perseverance took care of me.

What type of support did you receive from family members?

My siblings and their spouses were like pillars of strength for me. They supported me as much as they could. Sometimes, I would have longer days at work than usual, my sisters would always take care of my daughter and ensure that she was well. My daughter grew up with my siblings children and the emotional bond between them, which continues till date, is highly admirable. My gratitude will always be there towards my siblings.

What is your advice to young single mothers?

To all the beautiful single Moms out there, my advice is never give up in life. To give up, is the first step to be defeated. Keep yourself occupied with your job and the activities which give you positive vibes. Keep away from what doesn’t give you joy. You are empowered to manage your family, your job and social life. So, be happy and spread your happiness everywhere. Try it out – believe me, it works!

On the occasion of Mother’s Day what wish do you hold for your own mother and for your children?

I pray for my Mom to be in eternal peace, wherever she is. The strength and power I inherited from her didn’t go waste. My wish for my daughter is that she remain as she is. I am proud of her for managing her life so beautifully. My good wishes and prayers will always be with her.

 

 

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