Collins English dictionary defines SINGLE MOTHER as “a mother who has a dependent child or dependent children and who is widowed divorced or unmarried”. She could be unmarried by choice or by situation.
Chinwe and Karen are two mothers with children in the same class at Richville school. Chinwe’s son, Nnamdi and Karen’s son – Jim are best of friends with top grades in school and both are on the school’s basketball team, while Sue (Jim’s sister) is two classes below. Karen who is recently widowed lost her husband Peter about 3 months before the following conversation takes place.
Chinwe: “Hi Karen, Nnamdi tells me you will be moving the children to a different school next term. I don’t get it Karen, both your children are doing great with their grades and Jim is in the school’s basketball team. I also understand he is one of the best behaved students in the class. I don’t think changing schools is a good idea, especially so soon after losing his dad.”
Karen lets out a deep sigh and replies “That is the very reason why they need to move schools Chinwe. Peter was such an awesome father who catered for all the family’s needs and saw no reason for me to work. He encouraged me to stay at home and cater to the domestic needs and mentoring of the children. He passed away without preparing me for widowhood” she stifles her sobs and continues..” I am now a single mother with full responsibility for two teenage children. I can’t fathom how to feed them, clothe them and pay private school fees. Its overwhelming. The prudent thing to do is to move them to a Public school”.
Chinwe gives Karen a hug and gently reminds her that she is also a single mother whose only son was born out of wedlock. She has been solely responsible for his upbringing and trusts Karen’s ability to hold the fort. She continues “ Karen, what will Peter have wanted for these children? Don’t forget that you are a fully qualified paediatrician with an innate gift for handling children. You are multi talented and multi skilled. If you think this through, I know you can pick up the pieces and maintain your independence by progressing your profession. Do not forget that there are men and women in your profession who like Peter, are solely responsible for funding their family’s lifestyles. You can do it because God has endowed you with everything you need to make a success out of life and he will not test us beyond our abilities”.
After the pep talk, Karen determines that she can do it and joins a women’s empowerment group where she gets ideas on prepping her resume, doing interviews, and dressing the part. She also takes a couple of refresher courses and lands consultancy offers in two hospitals which allow her flexible hours for the children and covers all their financial needs. She even ends up investing and earning some passive income.
Karen has since been invited to give a welcome address to new members of her empowerment group and she entitled it “ When life throws you a curve ball….you make lemonade out of lemons. There’s ALWAYS a way”.