Single motherhood takes life to the extremes. It can lead to immense poverty, it can be quite isolating but at the same time, so liberating.
I recently spoke to one woman who married quite early, had a son and realised that she couldn’t cope with the violence and verbal abuse, so she took her 12 month old son and left. She didn’t have any more than the clothes on her back and a nappy (diaper) bag with her, but she didn’t care… she had her freedom, she had her parents as limited support and she knew she could rely on charities to get her through the first few months she needed to get back on her feet. If she couldn’t get food from goodwill, she would find herself on her mother’s doorstep at eight o’clock at night. She was happy living under some cardboard boxes in a neighbour’s garage until she found a place to live. It’s what she did for her freedom. Now, her son is in his early thirties, she is a successful business woman living opposite the beach and drives a BMW. Within five years of sleeping under cardboard boxes, she was able to put a deposit down on a house and pay the house off in ten years. She gave her son absolutely everything she could and he is someone she is dearly proud of. She’s in now in her early 50s and happy where she is, now with a loving husband and grandchildren to enjoy.
Some single mums start as being single and struggle to rise above the variety of government hand-outs (in Australia, they are entitled to rent assistance, Austudy or unemployment benefits, Family Tax B, endless concessions on car registration, pharmaceuticals, doctor’s bills, electricity/gas/water bills, etc) and do something they can be proud of. I know motherhood is a full time job in itself, but to dedicate your life to solely the needs of your children, doesn’t give you a chance to better yourself for them in the future – some time of work or study builds your self esteem to get out there to be better.
Some single mums are constantly reliant on their ex-husband to pay them alimony, child support and keep the cogs ticking the way they used to… but even that runs out when the children become of age, and the funding stops… it’s your turn to make something of your life. So what do you do?
Some single mums are the primary care-giver and primary bread-winner, and somehow they too are left with nothing as their ex-husbands drag their ordeal through the court.
But in the end, you know you can start again. You have had the strength and courage to get through the hell of ending a relationship, of being a sole-parent, of being alone and isolated, and you know that you can get up and make a new reality that you have the control over. It may seem impossible to start all over again, but it’s possible to make a better life, one you’ve never dreamed of, because you are free.