“There is no way I would be as hard working and strong minded if it wasn’t from seeing my mum work so hard.”
There’s a lot of stigma attached to single lone households, especially single mothers. According to a 2018 report by Gingerbread, there are around 1.7 million single parent families in the UK, one in four children living with one parent.
Being raised by a single mother has negative connotations attached to it. Such as being bad for future relationships, education and generally poor for society. Single lone households can be linked to poverty, knife crime, teenage pregnancy and pretty much anything else that can go wrong in society.
Even when a relationship or marriage has failed, it’s usually the women who always gets the short end of the stick. Additionally when something goes wrong in a child’s life the parents are to blame – especially if that child grew up without two parents.
This stigma grew from women having children outside wedlock but now being a single parent is seen as being more of a norm.
We were the ultimate trio
I was raised by a single mother as my father passed away when I was two, leaving my mother to raise me and my sister. As I’ve grown up, I’ve felt the impact of not being raised with a father but growing up I didn’t feel that I was missing out on anything. I saw my family as being perfectly normal. My sister, mum and I were the ultimate trio and it didn’t seem odd that I didn’t have a father.
I would say my independence is my greatest strength and this is something I’ve gained directly from being raised by a single mother. My dad passed away a year or so after we came to this country so my mother had to make ends meet all by herself.
During my childhood, my sister and I had everything we needed and then some. I never felt that we couldn’t afford anything and this is due to my mother’s independence and resilience. Seeing what she has gone through has made me realise I can do anything I put my mind to.
Whenever I’m going through anything tough, my mum always uses herself as a testimony. She’ll say “If I can do it, you can.” She’s right.
More than a stereotype
There’s a stereotype that black women are strong and people tend to have unrealistic expectations of what black women can handle. But the strength of black women is not unique to anyone else’s, I just think they’re able to handle life situations with dignity and pride.
Many black single mothers are the backbone of their family and this isn’t because they want to be, it’s because they usually have to be. And what I love about my mother and so many other black women is that they’ve done all of this without a single complaint.
My mother does everything with a smile on her face. She never complains or whines about life, she just gets on with it -another thing I’ve learnt from her. And I’m not the only one who thinks this.
Lateefah shares the same sentiments as I do and says, “There is no way I would be as hard working and strong minded if it wasn’t from seeing my mum work so hard.” Lateefah is a media officer and freelance journalist who was raised by her mother throughout most of her childhood.
“Seeing my mum manage a full time job and still have time to sit with me and do my homework and just have general conversation definitely contributed to the work ethic I have now. The way I see it if my mum could hold down her job whilst raising me to become the woman I am now, then there is nothing I cannot achieve.”
She adds “I hear a lot of things about single mums not being able to properly give their child a good upbringing, which is completely crap in my opinion. It really depends on the individual, you can’t just make sweeping assumptions based on some of the stuff you may have heard.”
My femininity is very much linked to my strength
Another big influence of being raised by a single mother is the impact it’s had on my relationships. She’s never had to rely on a man which is something I’ve taken into the dating world. I don’t like to depend on men for anything and I’m always conscious of making sure I can rely on myself before I rely on someone else.
My femininity is very much linked to my strength, hard work and intelligence because these are all the qualities I see in my mother.
Nana, who similar to me, lost her father when she was younger said “I’ve benefited from it because it has shown me that life can still go on without a male figure for both the mother and the children (me plus my siblings).” She added that “It’s also allowed me to not be dependent or too expectant of men and therefore not getting disappointed, which is why I think I have very good male friendships and a good relationship.”
Let’s champion single parents
There are benefits of being raised in various households. Unfortunately, we usually only hear about the benefits of two parent households. Of course, most people would prefer to be raised in a two parent household but being raised in a single parent household isn’t always doom and gloom.
These households often produce hard workers and independent thinkers and we should champion that and single parents more.