The Agony of Single Mothers

The Agony of Single Mothers.

The Agony of Single Mothers

No one sets out in life to be a single mother and be saddled with the sole responsibility of raising a child(ren) alone.

However, life sometimes throws at us, burdens that we are forced to take up, giving us very little or sometimes no choice.
These were the words of Wura Olaitan (pseudonym), a single mother of two kids who juggles between a day job as a fashion designer and a freelance writer at night for some organisations who require the services of a copywriter.
Being a single mother is tough, you get blamed by everyone; your family, your friends, society and sometimes the kids that you’re struggling to cater for, she stated with an unreadable expression.
People are quick to dismiss you as a vile bitter woman who couldn’t keep her marriage or a loose promiscuous woman who went ahead to have a child for a man out of wedlock.
Does anyone ever bother to ask, how the woman who singlehandedly carries her burdens and those of her wards on
her back, walking doggedly sometimes, and other times wobbling through life with the sole realization that this is her cross and she has to carry it or die trying? Why do women mostly have to bear the brunt of a failed marriage or relationship? Why does society never hesitate to reach for its horsewhip and mercilessly flog the woman whose husband left or whose man blatantly refused to take responsibility? Why are fingers quickly pointed at a woman who has been handed the crown ‘singer mother’? With these question resonating in mind, I set out to speak with a few women, who have had to walk out of a marriage or a relationship that has produced a child or more for reasons no one but them would truly be able to understand. Wura, a graduate of English from the University of Lagos, said like every young woman, she had hoped to settle down with her prince charming and have a fairy tale marriage, but sadly for her, that never happened.
She recounts that she met Feyi (not real name), the father of her sons shortly after graduating from Unilag in 2011 and by 2013, she found herself pregnant with her first child, worse of all, unmarried to the love of her life.
“I tried to talk him into having a wedding even it was a small one but he kept saying there was no money. Although he had a job, I knew he would have to save aggressively for us to have a wedding, no matter how small. I didn’t have a job as I had just finished my NYSC. I loved him and he loved me too, so we agreed that we would move in together and have a wedding latter when we are financially better.
“To cut the long story short, the wedding never happened as living together did more harm than good. We found out that we are incompatible as we were always arguing and fighting.”

Single parenthood is a challenging proposition whether it happened due to some unfortunate incident or is taken by choice with the help of a competent attorney like Woodlands divorce attorney . It gets even more challenging during the holiday seasons like Christmas, which are a symbol of togetherness and family. Single parenthood is particularly difficult for single mothers as they do not only have to keep their emotional instability in check. But, they must also tend to each and every matter of the household, ranging from finances to house management. As a result, it can get quite overwhelming for them to single handedly deal with all the affairs of the household.

Therefore, we have discussed here five most common challenges you are going to face as a single mother, so that you can prepare yourself if you happen to find yourself in such a situation.


One of the most common challenges single mothers face is having to deal with the increasing self-doubt. Being in a relationship means that you have someone who will validate your positive parenting skills, and can nudge you in the right direction if you are not doing that good a job.

But, being single means that you are always going to question yourself about things like whether you are being a good mother or not. Therefore, it is always a good idea to surround yourself with single mothers because they are going through the same situation and having them in your social circle can give you a lot of validation.

Making solo decisions:

Another challenge that comes with single motherhood is the pressure of making solo decisions. It can be quite overwhelming to make every little decision yourself because at times, you want someone to take care of some things for you. For example, single mothers usually struggle to buy things like lawn mowers, or carpenter tools, as these are not the decisions they are habitual of making themselves.

Strained Finances:

Single mothers are incredibly likely to have strained finances, and it is more common among those mothers whose ex-partners do not share the expenses of child care. As a result, many single mothers take up multiple jobs at a time so that they can cope with the massive expenses of children’s education and health care. It has been studied that families run by single mothers have less access to health care because most of them are unable to pay for this basic necessity.

Child behavior:

According to some studies, most of the fathers start to visit their children less regularly after the first year of divorce. As a result, children start to sense the absence of a male role model, and tend to act out of hurt and desperation. Moreover, behavior issues of children can also worsen because of single mothers getting immensely busy to make both ends meet. When single mothers fail to give their children proper time and attention, children start to retaliate by doing the same to their mothers by engaging themselves in other activities.

Poor mental health:

The immense burden of responsibilities is incredibly taxing for single mothers especially when they do not have anyone to share their tough lives. As a result, their mental health begins to deteriorate as they develop conditions like depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. As a result, single mothers are also commonly found to be addicted to painkillers and antidepressants.

Financial Struggles

One of the most significant pains of being a single mother is financial struggles. Raising a child on one income can be difficult, especially if the mother does not receive financial support from the child’s father. Single mothers often have to work long hours or multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This can be emotionally and physically draining, leaving little time or energy for self-care or time with their children.

Emotional Distress

Single mothers may experience emotional distress due to a range of factors, including the stress of balancing work and parenting responsibilities, the stigma attached to being a single parent, and feelings of loneliness and isolation. It can be difficult to manage the emotional needs of both themselves and their children without a partner to lean on for support.

Physical Exhaustion

Single mothers often have to juggle the demands of work and parenting, which can be physically exhausting. They may have to wake up early to get their children ready for school, work all day, and then come home to cook, clean, and take care of their children. This leaves little time for rest and self-care, which can lead to burnout and physical exhaustion.

Lack of Support

Single mothers often lack the support that traditional families receive. They may not have a partner to help with parenting responsibilities or to provide emotional support when times are tough. Additionally, they may not have access to resources such as childcare, healthcare, or financial assistance.

Social Stigma

Single mothers may face social stigma and judgement from others who believe that raising a child without a partner is irresponsible or inappropriate. This can lead to feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment, which can impact a mother’s mental health and overall well-being.


The purity of a girl has, over the years, been held in high esteem to an extent that during traditional marriage ceremonies, a bride was subjected to a purity test. A white sheet would be spread on newlyweds’ bed just before their first sexual intercourse just to establish that she was still a virgin.

A bride who passed such a test would be wildly celebrated with songs, ovations and shouts of acclamation. On the contrary, those who failed would be rejected, derided and considered a source of shame to their families. Those who espouse the tradition say it has led to low teenage pregnancies.

Community slowly changing

But thanks to Iremo’s efforts against such rights violations, the situation is changing, albeit slowly. Today, single women in North Horr sub-county are now allowed to live within the community but only at trading centres.

According to the data compiled by Iremo, there are 46 single mothers in Maikona, 40 in Kalacha, 76 in Dukana, and 100 in North Horr trading centres. The number could be way bigger as they only documented those who agreed to join socioeconomic empowerment groups.

Ms Salesa is happy that the talks they have had with elders are bearing fruit as they began toning down their hard stance.

Victims speak up

In an interview, Sororo Dimba Dambala, 55, a mother of five, painted a grim picture of a lonely life. After giving birth to her first child, she was sent packing to the Kalacha trading Centre. She has had to adapt to new ways of eking a living.

Similar experiences were recounted by Arbe Katelo, 56, a mother of six. They were not allowed to reunite with their family, having been declared outcasts. There were days they had to venture into illicit brew business to survive. But that always got them locking horns with law enforcers.

Thune Wario, a mother of three, and Tume Abudho, a mother of four, from Hurri Hills trading Centre also had agonizing experiences. They, however, found hope in Iremo’s programmes that gave their groups Sh100,000 each to help them venture into licit businesses such as groceries to boost their lives and livelihoods.

Ms Dimba tells  that they had been sidelined and their children were the only hope they had in life. That is why they put premium on their education in the hope that should they one day succeed in life, they would bolster their social standing in society. They appealed to the government and other stakeholders for funds so that they can expand their businesses or venture into the livestock trade, which is lucrative in the region.

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