Someone asked me tonight to write a blog about Single Mums in their 20s, and what I thought about them. Yay! A request!!
I’m going to put it on the table. Being a 41 year old now (oh yes, I am officially over that hill!), I think it is brave, beautiful and bold to be a single mum in your 20s. You put your life on hold for that beautiful baby, you sacrifice so much, you’re amazingly patient and you grow up instantly. You learn to live with people’s judgments much too early in life and that makes you harden up fast, but you are courageous, have the energy to be everything a mother should be and have an undeniable bond with your child.
I think back to a friend of mine who had a baby when she was 20. She is now 37 with an almost 17 year old. How amazing would it be to be free from raising a child and you haven’t even hit 40 yet? Whereas, I couldn’t imagine at 41, dealing with diapers, breast-feeding and toilet training. I am in the middle – I was 27 and 29 when I had my two boys… and became a single mum when they were 8 and 6… but in saying that, I worked 50-60 hours a week, breast-fed them till they were 16 months old each, nursed them to sleep and to good health, whereas my ex didn’t seem to do anything besides raise an angry voice (hence why we are now ‘single’).
There are three scenarios I just don’t understand… The ‘leave ’em Mums’ who for some reason are too selfish and disappear for nights, weeks or even months because they are too interested in drinking, smoking, socialising, taking drugs or feeling like they are missing out. They are too grossed out by the smelly nappies, or the baby puke on their shirts, that they expect their parents or older sibling to deal with it while they run amok. It’s definitely a maturity thing, but also something their kids could end up resenting them for, depending how long they disappear for, and how well they try to make it up to them. The other scenario is the ‘ignore ’em Mums’… the ones who let their kids fester in dirty nappies for the entire day, who forget to feed them, who leave them in the car when they go shopping, who don’t read to them or play with them because their baby is simply a hinderance, and they don’t have any help, so they believe if no one sees it, no one knows about it. And then there is the ‘lets get married Mums’ – because their family morals cannot have a bastard child, so they are forced into a marriage that will only do more harm than good for the sake of the ‘family’ to look complete.
The good thing is, all the successful young mum success stories I know far outweigh the sad stories. I know single mums who hid from abusive husbands in their early 20s who are now successful millionaire business women. I know 20-something single mums who have put themselves through university courses on-line and on campus to ensure that they show their children that anything is possible. I know single mums who give their children the most nurturing loving family environment, work part-time to be a proud contributing citizen and have the happiest children I know. They are the brave, they are the courageous, they are the women who we need to lead our countries and our corporations.
Would I have tried to have kids earlier? I could have easily… but I was caught up in the ‘expected’ world of go to university, get a job, get married, buy a house and then have kids. I know I would have been a fabulous young single mum because I had thought so much about what I wanted for my kids against the childhood I had of my own, and I feel lucky enough to implement those ideas now. I was babysitting from the age of 12, and I was desperate to be a mother… but at the same time, I thought too much about what others thought of me. Glad I’ve washed that one out of my system!!
For all the young single mums out there promise me this – make your own decisions on how you raise your child as long as it’s in the BEST INTERESTS of your child, don’t be bullied into marrying someone you don’t love, find a sense of responsibility for yourself and your child that you are comfortable with and don’t ever forget the innate love you have for your child. Get rid of every single person in your life that judges you for your actions and turn every negative comment into a positive affirmation. Just remember, there have been plenty of successful women out there who have been in your shoes, and your baby will give you this amazing amount of strength to be just as successful as those other single mums.
And for all those who struggle to find success, remember all the amazing people who had triumphed in life because they were raised by a single mum – Angelina Jolie, Barrack Obama, Pierce Brosnan, Tom Cruise, Bill Clinton, Halle Berry, Jodie Foster, Lance Armstrong, Paul McCartney, Eddie Murphy, Shaquille O’Neal, Clive Owen, Guy Pearce, Al Pacino, Julia Roberts, Barbara Streisand, Jon Stewart, Kanye West… just to name a few. The struggles and the survival needed to be a single mum gives your kids the will power, the determination and the courage to be the best they can be. So while you may find it hard, and it is hard, the rewards will be there, and your kids will always be proud of who you are, and how they were raised. Most kids I know from single parent families are the most polite, kind hearted, generous spirited and determined kids I know… Be proud of your single parent status and what you have done for your kids, as you have participated in creating the most stand-up citizens in this world.