Our Women Speak: Living Single and Raising The Kids
By Adaora Ude.
We all have our own perception of single parenthood and, apparently, it is fast becoming a norm as individuals are much more open to taking a walk from a bad marriage or relationship. The fears of raising the children alone have become a thing of the past. With rising cases of divorce and marital separation, and a high percentage of single women over the age of 35, single parenting is becoming even a sought after option.
We did a survey and solicited different opinions and views. The survey was for women alone, and the respondents cut across different ages, classes, and career fields.
These are the views of some of our respondents on single parenting (motherhood).
Miss Virginia Okerekwu, National Theater, Lagos.
I am still single at the moment and I do not think single parenthood is ideal because the child will not have the best care and the best things in life, the best of both worlds if you like. That child will always see men as wicked (especially when the mother has said wrong things about the father to the child). The woman will also be looked at as being wayward because of the society we live in. It is frowned upon when a woman bears a child out of wedlock. No matter what, society expects her to bear it all without complains even if she is married and is unhappy with her marriage.
Mrs Nneka Ibe, CEO, Benefits Boutique, Festac, Lagos.
I am of the view that one should not remain and die in a violent marriage. A woman can care for her child better than any man would and I am also of the view that a woman who is in her early 40’s and is still unmarried should go ahead and get herself a baby. You can always find a husband but you can’t always have a baby. So, if by some circumstance one finds herself a single mother, she should give her best shot at being a damn good mother.
Mrs Nkechi Ajudua, Kanella’s World, Surulere, Lagos.
Our society today is changing and evolving into a more civilized and liberal one. Gone are the days of looking at a single mother as a loose and irresponsible person. I do not believe a woman should stay in a marriage where instead of getting love and support, she is disrespected and abused both physically and emotionally. If a woman has what it takes to give her kids a good life, it is even better for the kids to grow in a home where there are constant fights. If a woman at 40 is still yet unmarried, she should please go ahead and do the needful, get herself a baby even if she has to go for a sperm donor. No matter what people’s opinions may be, your happiness is all that matters.
Mrs Adeyinnka Ademola, Ministry Of Justice, Lagos.
Even though the Nigerian society does not encourage it, single parenthood is unavoidable in some situations. In the case of death, it is unavoidable. In other cases such as divorce or absenteeism of some fathers (them too like waka) or where there was no spouse in the first place, it is more sensitive. Our culture makes little or no provision for single parents. For instance our schools are quick to address pupils’ report cards to “Mr. & Mrs.” without a thought. I remember as a child, I used to take off the envelope off my report card before handing it to my mom because I didn’t want her to get upset (my dad was hardly ever there). Therefore a single mother in a society like ours must be strong and confident in order to achieve good results.
Single parenthood does not necessarily mean the woman is wayward, it could mean that such a woman wants her child(ren) to grow up in the same environment. The situation requires a lot from one person. She has to work extra hard for the kids, has to be there to support them at school, emotionally, morally, spiritually. She also must lead by example since she is the only role model (my mama try well-well. God bless her). I believe that we need to change our attitude towards single parents, at least for the sake of the children. Young minds are very impressionable and they need positivity around them. The world is evolving. Words of support and encouragement surely will go a long way.
Mrs Sandra Olawunmi Arimoro, Sales Executive, Dublin U.K.
The issue of single parenthood shouldn’t be seen as bad because our society has now tagged them as such. In this case, we tag single mothers as being wayward without even knowing the circumstance that lead to their situation.
A close pal lost her hubby when their first child was just 7 months old and you don’t want to know the scrutiny and rejection she went through before securing an accommodation. A single parent can raise children alone with even much better standards and morals. I do not doubt the neglect and pain those children will feel during school day-outs, or other school activity, where their peers will be supported by both parents. However, there are kids who have both parents under one roof and their situation is worse off.
Mrs Tonia Eddie-Lawani, Events Manager, Lagos.
Whatever way we look at it single parenthood is frowned at in our society, but most times circumstances lead people, especially women, into the situation. In such a situation my advice is: my darling, make the best of it. I have witnessed a situation where a woman eventually died due to abuse and the man moved on very quickly. A friend of mine had to remove her mom from an abusive marriage after almost 40 years. By the time she came out of the marriage, she had lost the use of her left hand and was partially blind due to beatings she received over the years. My dear, if things get out of hand wake up, smell the coffee, and take a walk. It takes enormous courage for a woman to set out to be on her own and raise her kids by herself and such women who have left for genuine reasons should be applauded.
Mrs Tope Dike, Immigrations, Abuja.
My own take is to try to make things work as long as you can in a marriage. Marriage is not for the faint hearted and if it doesn’t work, you take a walk. I was at the General Hospital, Abuja, with my mom when a woman passed out because she had just been informed she would never see with her left eye. She was being abused by her husband and she was in her fifties! Only God knows how long she has had to endure; some marriages demand separation, especially where abuse is involved. Most women leave their homes for stupid reasons that could be resolved if the woman humbles herself and puts her children first. Men are very fickle and it usually takes a woman to keep a home. It is only when the situation becomes life threatening that she can take her home making skills away with her and stay alive.
My sister-in-law cried her eyes out when it was obvious she was risking her life staying in her marriage, but today she is the better for it and her children are happy with the decision she took.
Mrs Ronke Adamu, Entrepreneur and Estate Developer, Lagos.
The topic is a sensitive one for me because I am a product of single parenthood; it all depends on how we look at it. God established marriage and he created a man for every woman and vice versa, but we face challenges in life and each day is a struggle and, all in all, we strive to please God. The Heavenly Father who created marriage detests divorce but he also detests a wife batterer. He already laid down rules on how men should treat their wives. If you choose not to obey Him you will perish. No woman should stick with a man who abuses and demeans her because she is afraid of what society will say about her and having to raise her kids alone. This is one of the reasons why people should make the right choices when it comes to marriage. If your union is sanctioned by God and built on the fear of the Lord, you cannot go wrong. Yes some mothers may not discipline their kids the way a father would but we shouldn’t forget that it is God who trains a child. A pastor’s child could grow up wayward and a prostitute’s child could turn out well. Instead of society judging these women who chose to take a walk, society should help in raising the children. There is a Yoruba adage that says “it is everyone who trains a child, not just the mother of the child”.
Every woman wants a man to call her own—there is no fulfillment as sweet as that, but when you can’t get a reputable man who will respect you, you slug it out on your own and do your utmost best for those kids in terms of discipline. Society will only frown and sneer and tease anyway but, at the end of the day, it is between you and your God. Most importantly, it is your life. So yes, a single woman can do well raising her kids. Those kids were given to her by God and he will help her raise them…no shame in that.
Mrs Ebele Iwenofor–Iyegbu, Lawyer & CEO, Liquor Empire, Abuja.
Single parenthood can be viewed in two ways: going out of your way to be a single mom, or circumstances forcing you into one. Morally, I don’t believe it is right for a woman to go out of her way to get a child outside of marriage. You don’t expect society not to frown at that, even the bible detests it. Yes you can adopt if age is no longer on your side and you are yet to settle down with a husband of your own. You will be giving life and identity to the little ones; but going out of your way to get pregnant by a man you are not married to with or without his knowledge, or from a sperm bank because you want to have a child, is simply preposterous and will definitely be considered wayward by society.
In such a situation, what will you tell your kids when they grow up? A child with a nameless father? No roots? If it is a girl child and she is to be married someday what will she tell her future husband and his family? Will mothers be willing to let their sons marry such a girl? Or will fathers let their daughters marry such a boy? No name, no family but the mothers’ own, just because the lady wanted a child. Who knows, she might even be related to the person she is about to be married to and no one will be any wiser.
On the other hand, society should not frown at a parent if the circumstances that led to the single situation were beyond control. Even when society disapproves, it is between you and your God. It is really not easy being a single parent even if you have got all the monetary resources in the world. God created the man & the woman and they both have roles to play in a child’s life. Where one is absent, for unavoidable reasons, he will step in and do the rest.
Well, you have read it. I personally think that what is obtainable for family “A”, is not necessarily what will work for family “B”. The main focus, we know, will be the children. However, where one party’s life is at risk, be it the male or female, it is better to take a walk but still strive to give those children the best that you can.
What’s your own take on single parenting, especially single motherhood?
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