[TRIGGER WARNING - mention of abuse, depression and anxiety]
It’s been a little over a month since I decided to write a piece about single mums for Those Pesky Dames. I’ve gone through several drafts, countless tips of advice, and plenty of thinking. The only way I could sum up the incredibly tough life that is the one of single mum is through my own experience of being raised by one.
My mum was left with a double dose of babies to raise on her own: twins! As if that wasn’t going to be hard enough for her, deciding to keep her job as a nurse in order to provide for her family was just as pivotal and frightening.
Most of my childhood memories involve my mum always working away and my sister and I being left to the care of my grandparents. My mum would always come home at the end of the day, and we’d willingly spend our evenings together. However, that wasn’t without consequences.
My grandparents physically and verbally abused my sister and me, and I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety problems since the world began turning, or so it seems. It has indeed been a struggle for me personally, but if my struggle has been an arm and a leg, I can only imagine what it has been like for my mum. She’s had to provide for my medical bills, food, shelter, clothing, education, and the overall most paramount job of being a mother to two people. Moreover, she’s been extremely resilient to adversity. My mum is my provider, caretaker, best friend, therapist, and nurse; five careers in one. She’s succeeded beyond the expectations of most people, including herself.
And yet patriarchy insists on stating that starting or continuing a career is not the woman’s place nor is it something they should even idealize. My mum could have stayed home and taken care of my sister and me, at the expense of losing a career she loves and money of which to live off. There is also consequences along the route she chose: the abuse I received, as well as the plethora of stress she had and still has to endure. Either way, it is a daunting and overwhelming road for the single mum.
It literally took less than an hour’s worth of sudden creative epiphany to write this piece. The epiphany? I didn’t need to go about the intricate, logical machination and labelling of the single mum to write this piece.
It’s simple: the single mum is the superhero that never made Marvel Comics because patriarchy said so. Batman may be able to save Gotham city from dire straits and Spiderman may be able to shoot out webs to snatch the distressing damsel out of Death’s hands, but neither of them could raise two people from babies to adults whilst maintaining a career.
My single mum is my superhero. She’s accomplished an innumerable amount of things over the years, but her best achieved goal is raising two kids single-handedly from start to finish. Despite all the sweat, blood and tears, there is nothing as rewarding as that. Single mums are powerhouses and deserve more than they are given!