When being a single mother pissed me off...
And had me resenting my own children!
Over the past few of weeks I’ve felt a disturbing sense of resentment towards my four year-old daughter. This feeling has stalked both my heart and my conscience. Was this possibly evidence of me being a bad mother? It was a question I didn’t want to entertain, let alone have to answer. But still, it had to be answered. I began first by asking whether or not I’d felt this feeling of resentment before. And low ‘n’ behold, I had. With my son...and when he was around the same age my daughter is now.
Then I had to ask for what possible reason I’d resented my son’s presence in my life. The answer dawned on me. I resented the fact that once I’d become a single mother I had to rely upon the goodwill of family and friends to help look after my son when I wanted to have some ‘me time’. For example, to go clubbing with pals or to visit friends in London...or just to simply get things done around the house without having a crazed Duracell-driven kid running around like a mini frigging tornado!
I remember when I first asked for support from my family. I was told: “you had the child, so you take care of it!” So whatever I’d planned that evening was instantly cancelled out by this mean-spirited refusal. And how do you think I felt when left alone to look after a child who had just gotten in the way of my ‘me time’? At work, the same consequences of being a single mother emerged. ‘We expect you to be here between the hours of 9-5’ they would bark, as I invariably arrived late once-too-often.
Even childcare services got in on my case recently as I was harassed for money by one childcare provider who appeared to care more about ‘coining’ in the cash than caring for my frigging kid! Her passive-aggressive prompts for payment not only pissed me off but more tellingly had me resenting the presence of my own child!
Look, as a self-employed single mom, you soon realise that work is sporadic. And that the need to pursue work opportunities is, therefore, greater than would otherwise be the case if one was employed on a 9-to-5 basis, Monday-to-Friday. With that being said; the need for support from others, and especially with regards to childcare, is obvious. However, what I’ve noticed is that being a single mother carries a number of risk factors. Not only...of course...does one have to vet the men who come around your kids, but one also has to find out who can be relied upon to help out with childcare. The whole palaver is one of trial ‘n’ error...and the errors abound, let me tell you!
My daughter’s father, for example, acts in much the same way my immediate family does as regards to caring for our daughter...it’s always ‘he time’ and never ‘me time’. And then there are the threats and attacks on my character in a vain effort to get me to submit to his will. He’s always seeking to undermine my so-called ‘freedom’ rather than just focusing on our co-parenting roles. And so once again I’m saddled with the ‘burden’ of looking after ‘Miss Yarla’ (an affectionate name for my daughter).
What I’ve also noticed is that this attitude of selfishness and spite is also dealt out to those who’ve taken on the responsibility of caring for aging relatives...a parent or grandparent, for example. And how often do such people look depressed and downtrodden? And could not this malevolent passive-aggression, and lack of support, be a contributory factor to such ailments like postnatal depression?
Anyway, what I initially thought was resentment towards my daughter I now realise was my sub-conscious feelings rising to consciousness regarding something else entirely. And because of this awareness I’ve accepted what I feel, and let go of the anxiety and frustration around my alleged feelings of resentment towards her. After all, I’ve been here before with my son, ‘Ery’ (which isn’t a play on the word ‘irritant’, I can assure you!). My relationship with ‘Miss Yarla’ will not, therefore, be poisoned by momentary feelings of resentment because...in truth...they do not belong to her but to those who wilfully refuse to give meaning to the term ‘family’ or to the phrase ‘extended family’.
It was this collection of people known as ‘family’ who left me at the mercy of greedy childcare providers who are not part of some mythical ‘village’ watching over our children but who are instead a symbol of the breakdown of the family unit. My family is a perfect example of this breakdown...and my daughter’s father and his family are a further painful example of this fact. Therefore, as a single-mother, I have little support and the people I pay to ‘care’ for my child can see that. This makes me vulnerable...this makes my daughter vulnerable...and this should not be the case!
So in closing, I write this in the hope I bring to wider attention the emotional impact the lack of support, and the blatant passive-aggression that comes with being a single mother; especially from those closest to them. After all, raising children has always been the responsibility of whole families’ not just single mothers...and well-funded community nurseries, not greedy, privately-run, ‘childcare’ providers! The emotional health of a mother is every bit as important as the health of her children. And for the sake of our children, we cannot continue to ignore this fact.
Be Blissful - In love & Light
Sereena Al Noor