A topmost desire of every woman, especially in Africa, is to be married, stay married, and be fruitful as a mother. Regardless of her educational, professional or business attainments, becoming successful in marriage is as crucial as the breath of her life. Wearing wedding rings is seen as complementing her status as a responsible woman in the society. She feels proud to talk about her family: how naughty and funny children could be; the tireless demands of her ‘big baby boy’ (husband) who keeps playing rivalry with the children for her attention; the fault-finding visiting mother in-law who is stressing her beyond limits and the forthcoming family event for which she is to go shopping. These and some other activities make every woman proud as having a home.
However, circumstances and fate have made many women become single moms as widows, divorced, separated and yet-to-be-married mothers or those socially known as ‘Baby Mamas.’ I do feel for single moms regardless of their age and circumstances. The trauma of loneliness is killing, much less financial commitments in paying all manner of ever-increasing but must-do bills. Many single moms are jobless; no thanks to the depreciating economic fortunes in the country. Some of those who were very selective in choosing male partners are now ready for any available man, provided he could, at least, drop ‘something’ on a regular basis to keep body and soul together. Pity! The hard-working and never-give-up among them are taking up menial jobs in the neighbourhood, schools, worship centres and wherever – including non-resident housekeeping jobs. Quite a good number of them are now into diverse networking businesses. I appreciate their doggedness because there is dignity in labour.
Many enterprising single moms would have been married again or, at least, be enjoying a stable relationship but for their naivety! I have encountered several single moms at different fora, their common chorus is that “There are no serious men out there. All we have are mere sex partners who have no interest to care or bear your burden with you.” Another set are of the opinion that “Men are scammers. They will sweet-talk you into relationship only to defraud you bodily (sex), financially, emotionally (unfaithful), psychologically (keep you at the edge of insanity) and unending lies of unfulfilled promises.” As much as I can’t deny these statements, I do know also that not all available men are bad. There are thousands of single dads, too, who are on the lookout for good, godly, faithful, and caring women to fill the vacuum in their lives. To my consternation, I have found out that women are usually the architect of their own prolonged single parenthood.
A mother of four was lamenting her needy condition without helpers coming her path for almost six years that her husband had abandoned the home for an older woman. According to her, she has foreclosed the possibility of reunion with her runaway hubby even though the man does not appear to be thinking in that direction either. The 43-year-old restaurateur said she received overtures from admirers on regular basis. I wonder why she’s still unattached despite her good qualities. To be honest, she is the cause. Reason: she is fond of scaring men away with her burden of commitments whenever a man indicates interest in her.
“Whenever any man says ‘Madam, can we be in a relationship?’ My response is that can you bear my burden? I have four children, think about their school fees; my rents both residential and business; our feeding and maintenance allowances. Think about these things first, your response will ultimately decide my own response’. That will be the last time the man will show up; and if he does, he won’t mention the issue again. So, I’m tired; I really need a man.”
A 38-year-old civil servant said she is still a single mom because the men available are “stingy” and mean. According to her, the last relationship she had lasted for only three months. Why? The man, also a civil servant, “keeps promising without delivering; yet, he is a horse rider when it comes to the bedroom. I terminated the relationship after three months of probation and I have nothing to show for it. The only time he gave me a reasonable amount was when he collected some salary arrears. I have pressing demands, please. Why is my life not cozy?”
The major reason these women and their ilk are still ‘waiting,’ ‘searching’ and ‘expecting’ is because they make their financial needs a paramount condition for going into relationship. I know money matters a lot in relationship especially with single mothers but predicating their acceptance or otherwise on monetary considerations is inordinate. Like the case of the restaurateur, she said “what I do ask any man proposing to have an affair with me is ‘can you shoulder my responsibilities?’ His response will determine my own response as well.” I asked her some salient questions which she couldn’t provide any convincing answers to. First, is the man asking her out the biological father of her children? She said ‘No.’ Second, who was the object of the man’s interest? She answered “I am.” Then, why was she making her burden a condition for relationship? She couldn’t answer. Since the father of her children is alive, the fact that the (estranged husband/father) do not care for the children should not make it mandatory for another man to shoulder the responsibility. Presenting this as a condition keeps good and, indeed, helpful men away. However, this tactless approach does not apply to every single mom but is common with the majority of them.
Every man going into a relationship with single moms is fully aware that he has a supporting role to play in the life of the woman, widows inclusive. Men are weary of women that boldly confront them with demanding conditions for a relationship. They swiftly discover a sense of exploitation, lack of seriousness or commitment in such women. If, as a single mom, you like a man and feel he could add more value to your life in many areas of life beyond money, just go ahead. In the course of the journey, every other thing will naturally be added, even beyond your expectations. Surprisingly, it may eventually lead to another marital life.
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