It was a busy Sunday afternoon at the mall. My son (who was about ten) and I, were striding through the throngs of mall-goers when he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks.
“Oh my God!” He exclaimed. “What? Why?” I panicked. “Look”, he whispered, pointing straight ahead. I glanced over to where he had his gaze fixed on, and saw that it was a huge poster of a young man. “Who is that?” I asked in all naiveté. For a moment he stared at me in disbelief before shaking his head slowly and responded, “You don’t know Lionel Messi?”
Some of you might be able to relate to moments where you feel miserably uncool, what more as a parent. Well that certainly was such a moment for me.
My son is now sixteen and still makes fun of my limited football knowledge, but he constantly (and patiently) keeps me updated on live scores and predictions. As far as football is concerned, I take pleasure in taking him out shopping for jerseys, boots and video games; and if you must know, I even made him French toast with cut-out letters of ‘M-E-S-S-I’ right after the earlier uncool incident, which turned me into a cool mom overnight.
I notice that typical moms usually push away football-related stuff to the dads. However, it’s not the issue of football that I’m highlighting today, rather, and more importantly, it’s the issue of handling things on your own as a single mom, and how cool the experience can be.
I was separated at 29 after being married for slightly over a year. The first few months post-separation were a bit fuzzy as I was a young, working mother dealing with the experience of raising a son who was only about 5 months old then. My life has been a whirlwind of emotions ever since.
Most single mom stories I know of are somewhat grim and depressing. Or perhaps, the stories have been relayed in such a manner to seek the attention of others – in the form of sympathy or support. Today, just walk in to any book store or browse online, and you’ll come across books and articles that focus on the complexities of single-motherhood and their survival guides.
But let me assure you, there is no real set of guidelines on how to go through life as a single mom, because single moms don’t come with manuals. It’s also not about being a mère parfait (perfect mother), rather, it’s about establishing and being in an amazing relationship with your children.
So let’s get back to why I say there are cool things about being a single mom that the society doesn’t normally see:
- As a single mom, you’ll be surprised by your own strength, resilience and perseverance in handling daily and new challenges. There are days where you’ll look back and wonder how you’ve surpassed so many phases in life and still holding on strong to your values and principles. At the end of it all, you’ll realise that you’re no quitter.
- As a single mom, you’ll appreciate the good stuff more and you won’t be sweating the small stuff. There will be many upsets and distractions, but along the way, your attention will focus on positive vibes instead. You’ll move from having a pessimist to an optimist mindset, and this helps you in your career, business and social interactions.
- As a single mom, you’ll have a better perception of life and of the people around you. You’ll develop an understanding of various characters and personalities, and not become a fault-finder or a hypercritic. You focus on forgiveness and kindness, and because your children mimic your behaviour, this is turn will make you a positive role model for them.
- As a single mom, you’ve gone through a lot in life, so you’re able to share your life stories with friends and families, and exchange views about what works and what doesn’t. Because of this, you’ll become a good listener and a great confidante to the people around you, especially your children.
- As a single mom, you’ll have time to reflect on your strengths and weaknesses. You’ll learn to accept and appreciate yourself. You’ll know what makes you happy, or sad, or angry and you’ll be able to get a grip of yourself, especially during trying times. This makes you mentally stronger to face the days ahead.
- Finally, as a single mom, you’ll have an amazing bond with your children that is beautiful beyond words. Trust me, I’m living to tell the tale.
One of the key things I encourage single moms (and other parents) to do is to communicate with your children. There is always a two-way communication where you need to allow them to speak while you listen, and vice versa. The cool thing about this is, from a very young age, you’ll be able to understand them, their needs and their interests.
As a young single mother then, I enjoyed the different phases of my son’s life. From Barney CDs to Hot Wheels, from Power Rangers to Ben 10, from Game Boy to Xbox, and from Peter & Jane to Geronimo Stilton; I’ve shared the experience of my son growing up – his laughter and his tears – and this makes the relationship all the more precious.
Today, I deal with slightly more challenging teenage issues such as trendy haircuts, gizmos & gadgets, (awful) music downloaded from Spotify (although my son now has been exposed to music from my time, which is what I call ‘real’ music!), secret admirers from school, football jerseys, boots and video games (some things never change). And today, I see how he has evolved to become a very responsible son and grandson, and that, is cool.
As a single mom living life in the 21st century, there have been extremely tough moments for me, but every day brings with it fresh challenges and it’s a learning process for all.
For more articles on Family, read Life Before and After Having A Kid. What You Should Know, and 5 Annoying Things Our Moms Used To Do That We Now Love.