Being a single mother (or a father) isn’t easy and can be considered to be a Herculean task, especially in Nigeria. Single parents would probably read the title of this article and think, “Ha! They’ve narrowed it down to seven?” And in fairness, we realise that the challenges of caring for kids alone are innumerable. But there are some hardships unique to the individual, and others that are hard time and time again from our single mum friends.
1. DATING: Apparently the nicknames men give single mothers are ‘after one’ or ‘Fairly used’. Most men are open to having casual relationships with single mothers but when it comes to putting a ring on it they always bail on them.
2. SOCIAL STIGMA: Single mums say they sometimes feel trapped underneath a mountain of responsibility that never allows them to invest in friendships, much less find another companion for life. Working single mums say the guilt of leaving your kids in the evening to do something just for yourself is crushing.
3. SELF DOUBT: It’s so hard to know if you’re doing a good job. When you’re in a couple, you have someone who agrees (or disagrees) with your methods and can help you see the merit in your positive parenting moments and help you improve where you fall short. But as a single parent, you have to do that alone and it’s not always easy.
4. RAISING THE KIDS ALONE: No one to tag team with you on the responsibilities of raising the kids. When the kids are ill or crying there’s no one else to aid you in pacifying them.Most single mums play the roles of both father and mother and it always takes a toll on them.
5. SCHOOL FEES: Most single Nigerian mothers complain that they are the ones who are left with footing all the bills when it comes to raising the kids and their biggest challenge is paying the school fees most especially when the kids are more than one.
6. MAKING DECISIONS ALONE: Most single mums get extremely stressed and anxious over making all the decisions on their own.
7. ALWAYS BEING TIRED: Let’s face it, you’re doing alone what was designed to be a two-person job. The fact that you often feel physically, emotionally and spiritually worn out is not just your imagination. But because your kids depend on you, you can’t afford to push yourself past a certain point. You must take care of yourself and your health in order to be there for them.