N-I-G-E-R-I-A-N-S can poke their noses in other people affairs ehn! Before now, I did not know how to handle such interference well, and I would straight up give the intruder a piece of my mind and tell the person to get out of my business. But since I found Christ, I have become more controlled and chilled. I would rather laugh and give you some answer to let you know that I am doing just fine, regardless. Take my cousin Chioma for example; she has been all up in my business about getting married. Personally, I feel she snags about my unmarried state just to make me feel bad about myself, so she can feel like she has something that I want. You see, Chioma and I are age mates and we even graduated together. She is married with three kids, but is a stay-home mom. I, on the other hand, I’m an unmarried single mom with a blissful career. She often goes off a lot about how I shouldn’t allow my career get in the way of my finding a life partner, while throwing shades about marriage and its status conferral on women.
So recently, she sent me a message on whatsapp telling me about this friend of her husband’s who she wanted to hook me up. My reply was like “No oh, I am not desperate, for you to start a match-making intervention abeg. And besides, I can’t date any of Wilson’s friends.” I didn’t want a situation whereby some guy would be giving tales of my life to my cousin’s husband, or worse, things go south and he blames Chioma for hooking him with someone that gave him heartache. She pressurized and pressurized until I eventually gave her my permission to give the guy my number. Next thing, she said “I didn’t tell him you have a baby oh. Please don’t mention it to him until things get really serious”. When that message came in, I blinked twice. My instinct was to go off on her, tell her how I cannot hide my status as a single mom, just for some guy to like me. I mean, I didn’t beg her to look for a guy for me anyway, and I sure wasn’t going to put up with any conditions. Luckily, my christian heart held my tongue and I simply typed “Being a single mom is not a curse Chioma. If my status would put the guy off, no need giving him my contact biko.” She started to argue with me again, until I gave an excuse about having some files to work on and ended the chat.
Truth be told, it is not easy finding love as a single woman. Abigail, a colleague of mine, also a single mom, thirty and thirsty to settle. She recently went with her boyfriend to meet his parents, and she spent an entire weekend at the family house. The guy’s parents loved her and his mother was already promising to pay for her wedding gown, when it mistakenly fell out of le boo’s tongue that Abigail has a ten old son. It didn’t matter that the child was a product of rape. It didn’t matter that Abigail was wife material 1,000 yards. It didn’t matter that the boy was attending boarding school and wouldn’t interfere with Abigail’s new family. His parents categorically said NO! All of a sudden, Abigail became a second-class wife material and their son deserved some untouched, unused lady. Le boo couldn’t stand up to his parents; not when he works for his father and was looking up to them to cater for fifty percent of the wedding expenses. His initial plan was to inform his parents about Abigail’s son when they returned from their honeymoon, but unfortunately, the juicy news spilled out of his mouth. It was a broken Abigail that left their family house, leaving behind the diamond engagement ring he gave her. She didn’t show up at work for two days and it was when I paid her a visit that she gave me the 411. I am sure she confided in me, because I am her fellow single mother, and we suffer from the same curse.
To be happy and not suffer from depression every day about your single mom status, you have to be confident in your circumstances. I believe that being a mother is the highest title I can ever achieve in life. No accomplishment compares to having life grow inside of you for nine months (in my case, nine months and then two extra weeks), nursing that tiny infant and raising a well-formed child that would contribute his or her quota to society. I cherish teaching Isabella her first words, more than I cherish making my first million. So you see, I am too proud as a mother to hide my awesomeness. Ask me to hide my job and pretend to be an entry-level staff and I would do it in a heartbeat; but ask me to hide the fact that I am a mother? N-O sir! I feel like I would be betraying my daughter by pretending that she doesn’t exist, just because I want someone to love me enough to wife me.
Sometimes I think about how women in my situation who lie about their motherhood-status cope. How does she explain the noise from a toddler at the background when le boo calls for a romantic long night chat? How does she explain all the toys and dolls in the living room when he drops by without notice to return the jewelry she forgot at his place? How does she explain when she has to cut their date short, because she got an emergency call from the person watching her kid? How about when he shows up at her office and her colleague informs him that she went to pick up new school uniforms for her son? I mean, living a lie can be exhausting! I get that some women have no choice than to make this hard choice, and I respect that. I was having this conversation with some colleagues yesterday and when I gave my opinion, a lady in our HR wriggled her nose at me and said “You live very comfortably, that’s why you can talk like this. Some single moms have it hard, and need a man to support them, not just emotionally, but financially”. In fact, she added that most single moms looking to date, hardly do so for love, but out of necessity.
While I respect everyone’s choices and would never feel like I am better than a single mom who has to date a dude because she needs help with her finances; I would like to remind you, like I reminded my colleague yesterday; when I was thrown into the single mom’s club, I was penniless and jobless. I had not worked in a while and I had, myself and Isabella to take care of. Instead of sitting around, waiting for a guy to take care of us, and having to give up my dignity (which I had just snatched back), I took the high road. I took courses to brush up my brain and skills, went for interviews everywhere and put in my best in all of them, until I landed a job. I worked my ass off, during the day when Isabella was at pre-school, and at night when she was sleeping. I had no car, she wasn’t in a top school and we were staying in a one-room apartment. It’s funny how people see the bungalow that I have built, the car I own, the school Isabella goes to, the clothes I wear and places I hang out at, and they forget just how bad things were for me not too long ago. I would never dim my light to make someone feel comfortable around me. If you can’t cope with my brightness, then you should leave. We single moms have to stand up for ourselves; society already thinks we are a menace, and the sooner we stop trying to get our validation from men who give us conditions before they can be with us, the better for us and our babies.