A Single Mother’s Poem

I didn’t choose to be where I am

If I had a choice, I’d want a happy marriage too

But that’s not all it takes to make your kids happy

To gain some sanity and mental health

They hear my story and interpret it however they want

I am human too, you know

I made mistakes just like you and I might slip again

Perhaps the difference between me any you

Is that I know what and where to fix

I know not to tread the same path

Life forced me to mature at a young age

But I am forever grateful

Because the lessons have been well worth it

Nothing puts me down except when

I don’t see smiles on my children’s faces

Some say I was weak to walk away

Some say I am strong to do it all alone

One thing I see in these two statements is ‘I’

Yes, I made the decision

Because I chose my sanity

Believing that a happy mom equals a happy child

Whether I gathered my strength on the first day

Or picked it along the way,

One thing I know for sure is,

I am strong and being a single mother

Is a title I carry with my head held high

Because that’s what makes me special.

How being a single mom has empowered me in ways I never imagined

This is my fourth-year solo parenting. I’ve faced so many challenges. I’ve been judged, misunderstood, and worse of all, I’ve experienced pity. Amid all these downsides, I still find solo parenting to be encouraging and empowering. I don’t consider myself a single mom. I am a mother.

Motherhood is a journey, and I love it. The only difference is that I am on this journey alone. It is tough. The road is a bit narrow, and at times it’s hard crossing the river. Traveling alone has, however, build my level of independence and strength. At times I wonder if I am the same naive girl everyone used to know. I have no one to divide my tasks with or share decisions with. On the bright side, though, I have developed a lot of skills than I ever imagined.

Freedom

It takes caution to live a free life, but the fact that I’m the boss of the house makes me love single motherhood. I have no one to discuss my parenting with and no one compromises on how I raise I my children. I decide what we eat, when to sleep and make any decision for my boys.

Bravery

It’s a bit of a burden taking all the responsibilities and handling them alone. Yes, I make all the decision, but at times, it feels like a burden. Thankfully, after all these years, I’ve transformed from the woman who could not say what we should eat for dinner to one who makes hard decisions daily. It is tough, but the best part is that it has made me bolder and braver than ever.

I make decisions that I believe to be the best for my kids, and I understand that I may not always be right, but that’s all okay. Plus, there’s no one else I can tap in the middle of the night when something suddenly hits the window. I have to go out and check it all by myself, so there’s no room of being afraid in a single mom’s house.

My alone time

I have no one in the house to make an effort for or argue with. When my boys are asleep or when they are away for the holidays, all I have is me. I love this alone time. Yes, at times it feels lonely, but at least I get to learn about my strengths and weaknesses. The best part is that when I find the time to connect with my true self, I get to weed out all the worst bits about myself that I don’t want.

Strength

I’ve been in situations I would never wish even on my worst enemy. I’ve faced challenges I wouldn’t want to repeat. While not all of them are connected to being a single mom, every one of them has been heavier for me to carry alone. I made it because I had to win for the sake of my children. They all count on me, and I cannot let them down. This has made me stronger by the day. I’ve learned both how to survive and how to thrive. The fear of failing my little ones makes me battle each day’s devil with all I have.

I get all the love

The best part about solo parenting is that I get all the love. I know that I am the center of my child’s world, and it makes me feel proud. I love when I lie sandwiched between my two boys. I love when they each compete over who will give mummy the last goodnight kiss. I love when we all cuddle in bed and watch a movie before we go to sleep. I don’t share or feel sidelined when I am not the parent of the week.

To the newly single mom

At first, I was unsure about being a single parent. I felt so alone and messed up, wondering whether I could do it. After all these years, I am sure of one thing, even when my world wobbles, I know I will get through the strong and come out stronger than I am now.

I understand if you are starting and it’s okay to feel uncertain, but I know you will get there one day. In case no one has ever told you this, know you are doing an amazing job, and I love how strong you are.

To the New Single Mother

As I sit here watching my 1-year old play, undisturbed and unsure of what’s going on, I thought of you?

How are you feeling? I know it’s tough, especially the first few months. But believe me, it will get better soon. It all depends on you, though. Are you giving up? Do you still have the strength to face every new challenge that comes your way?

See, I know it’s not easy. It was not your plan to be a single mom. Just like me, you dreamt of giving your little one a family with mommy and daddy. A life where he/she would run to dad when you scold him/her. I get it. I dreamt of all those great family outings and dinner as we share and laugh about our hectic day.

I wish I knew you in person so that I can hug you and let you know that things will be okay. Even on those happy days, you may need some reassurance that you are doing it right. You are mom! You are moving in the right direction, and I am proud of you for getting this far.

Don’t give up just yet because it’s about to get better. Being a single mom is hard, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Wait for the days when he/she will send you a Father’s Day card then you’ll know that being a single mom is just so special. You are a supermom, and you should feel this way.

These first few months will be tough. Spending sleepless nights, cleaning the mess around the house, multitasking, struggling to balance your job and being an extraordinary mom, paying the bills – I understand if you feel tired and frustrated.

You need encouragement and motivation once in a while. It doesn’t mean you are weak or not doing things right. It only means that you are human. I’ve been there, and it’s hard trying to maintain your sanity. 

My advice to you is this:

Don’t put down the man who made you a single mother

It’s easy to do this. And yes you can bad mouth your ex to your best friend, to your mom or me. You can do this, but never to your child. As young as they may be, they still dream of the idea of having a dad. So don’t assume they are too young to notice or understand. Don’t lessen your child’s feelings.

It’s okay to cry

After all, you are not made of stone. Cry in your room or the shower. I’ve done this so many times, and it makes me stronger. A good cry once in a while is awesome.

It’s okay to ask for help

Do you need someone who relates to what you are going through? Call me! Whatever support you need – social, moral, or economic – it’s okay to talk to someone. You will feel frustrated if you don’t do it. Have a network and join social support groups for single moms.

Talk to your child about his/her fears and frustrations

As your child grows, listen to his/her concerns. You will not know how your kid feels unless you talk to him/her.

Let your child spend time with a male role model

No, I don’t mean your new boyfriend. A male role model can be your child’s uncle, grandfather, or a mentor from church.

Believe that you will survive

The first few weeks may feel devastating. It’s normal. Your life has turned upside down, and nothing is like you hoped. Believe that you will survive and that you will be happy. Do your best to find a new normal.

Have a survival plan

You need to make sure you have a way to provide for your child. Have a budget. Cut your expenses and increase your income if it is necessary.

Have some alone time

You need time to take care of yourself – both physically and emotionally. It is okay to reach out to your family for a kid-free day.

So stop feeling like life isn’t fair or wondering why this is happening to you. Whatever you are going through is normal, and lots of moms have been where you are right now. I love that you are a strong phenomenal woman, and you will soon find your way to success. You are not alone and know that I am thinking of you.

Wishing you the best and cheers to many years ahead

Lots of love from ME!

A Thank You Letter to My Single Mother

Dear Mom,

It is not easy to put everything in words. There’s a lot I want to say thank you for but I barely have the words to say so. Raising us to mature adults was not easy, I know. Between our sibling fights to our bratty stages, I don’t understand how you made it.

You are my favorite person. You are my mom; the strongest woman I have ever known. You taught me how to see the positive side of life no matter the circumstance. You helped me find myself even when you were feeling lost. I can never thank you enough. I owe who I am today to you. Thank you for playing the role of two and loving us twice as hard.

Now that I am an adult, I understand your sacrifices. Being a single mum is difficult and growing up in a single household is not the perfect storybook for children. With a single mom like you, we never cared about any storybook situation. You made single parenting look easy now I know it isn’t.

Mom if you’re reading this, thank you. Thank you for supporting me through every tough situation I went through. Thank you for holding my hands when no one else was willing to do it. Thank you because you taught me how to love myself and how to appreciate my situation.

There are numerous times when I felt like a failure but you always believed in me. I can never forget your encouraging words. You helped me remedy every bad situation I went through and for this I want to say thank you.

Mom, it is now my turn to take care of you. I will do it without a second thought. I hope you read this letter because even though I know a simple thank you is not enough, you are still my rock. I can’t put everything in words because what you’ve done to me deserves more than a thank you. Here’s to you mom. I love you with all my heart.

Love,

Your daughter.

How to Build Your Life from Zero as a Single Mom

(Post previously published in 2018)

I’m rebuilding my life in a different town away from home and I still have the chills two months down the line. I mean, I’m used to having my family next to me but now they are all six hours away. It’s tough and I hate being the ‘new mom on the block’.

My neighbors still look at me like I just landed from Mars. I’m trying to make new friends but either my neighbors are not friendly or I’m not doing it right. To hell with all those who respond coldly to my greetings.

I’ve decided to do things differently and I’m not going to give a crap to anyone who doesn’t want to make friends. I won’t let their reactions limit my experience.

It’s hard adjusting to a new town, let alone the neighborhood. I have to change hospitals and petty things like supermarkets and my hangouts. My son has to adjust to a new school.

Speaking of my son, he is extremely terrified of his new school. He is worried about making new friends and changing teachers. Sadly, I understand him, but it’s been hard trying to help him adjust when I’m having a hard time myself.

I know I’m not alone. Rebuilding your life as a single mom is tough especially when you have to start from zero and you have to buy everything.

Lucky you if you managed to get something from your separation or divorce. This is not my situation though.

While there are some disadvantages to building a new life, there are so many advantages that come with it.

For one, it is easy to pick up the pieces of your shattered dreams and start a new life. Heck! No one knows you here and a few people care about where you came from, what you do and who you live with. (This is how you know you are living in KENYA!)

You have the opportunity (a second opportunity for that matter) to become an independent woman and mother. Don’t screw it up this time.

Well, while this may be tough, but building a new life gives you the chance to have a new network base. Hopefully, you don’t bring back into your circle the crappy friends who put you down.

Don’t forget that you have a kid/kids to take care of so the only thing you need right now is your self-esteem. I have mine way above 100 percent (J I can work with 80 percent though) and I’m trying hard to keep away all the negative energy. It’s not easy I must confess.

Solo parenting is tough and you need a boost of confidence to make things work. You already made the decision to move, so thumbs up mama! Now do away with the anger, pick your beautiful self up, shake off the dust and have the courage to face your fears.

I’m talking to you mom who is having a hard time moving on. You are not doing justice to yourself (and your kids) holding on to things that are not WORTH IT.

No one can put you down unless you allow it

What Do You Love About Yourself?

Self Love is the key. It helps build confidence so stop making that list in your head and write it down. It doesn’t matter how small your achievement is, write it down.

Even if you choose therapy over my article, they’ll still tell you that writing down things you love about yourself helps validate yourself as a unique personality with potential.

Don’t believe me? Check this out

I took the liberty to gather some resourceful information that should help you:

One Exercise Sure to Make You Feel Better About Yourself

Can’t afford to pay for therapy? Here’s How to do Therapy on Yourself

8 Steps to Like Yourself (More)

Okay, so now that this is out of the way, another method I use to keep my mind busy and distract myself from the thought of having a few unwelcoming neighbors is:

Learning a New Skill

You don’t have to do it my way; instead, you can think of a new hobby or pursue a different interest. Since I moved here a few months ago I’ve been learning a lot about being a virtual assistant. I’m particularly interested in being a virtual assistant for therapists given that I have some background in Counseling Psychology and I LOVE writing.

You can do something different like learning how to bake or training on article writing. You can even take some driving classes. My point is keep your mind busy with things that can help you grow instead of focusing on things that pull you down.

Then there is this easy method you can use to make new friends

To hell with your neighbors (oops!) if they are unwelcoming like mine. I won’t force it. I’ll wait and see if they will say ‘Hi’ to me one day. For now, they’ll only see visitors walking in and out of my house like I’ve been living in this town for years.

That’s the beauty of social media! You can easily make new friends who share the same interest as you. I want to have as many single mom friends as I can. They may understand my experiences more than my family.

Facebook Group Kenyan Single Mothers Club has a large base. All you have to do is add a post and ask anyone within your location to connect if they want to make a new friend. Try it on any group. You’ll be amazed at the contacts you get.

Pray Big Time

Stop thinking that you can do everything alone! You are not alone even if it feels like it. You can always turn to prayers and reflection to understand yourself and build a new life. Pray every day, pray every time. Read the Bible every time, it will give you enough consolation.

Not sure where to start? Look up these verses and reflect how it relates to your life.

  • Psalms 130:5
  • Nahum 1:13
  • Romans 8:17
  • Proverbs 14:10
  • Galatians 5:19-23
  • Ecclesiastes 7:14
  • Mark 11:25
  • Ephesians 1:11
  • Matthew 6:25-34

I could go on and on because when it comes to the Bible, you can never get enough.

From Zero to Super Mom

At times I get frustrated when I don’t find what I’m looking for on the internet. Before taking this bold step, I scoured the internet to find success stories of single moms who actually managed solo parenting when they had nothing to support themselves. I only landed articles that give tips on thriving as a single mom. Don’t get me wrong, they are all good, but they didn’t touch on my current situation.

Then I realized I was doing it all wrong. You will never find all the answers on the internet. Ask around and you will hear success stories that will make your situation look like nothing.

I even forgot about my mom and how she started her life after my dad passed away. Damn! That was a hell of a journey! I was only 8 and I could feel her pain. Two years without a job and an extra year trying to adjust to a new town.

So picking a few tips from her, and some from my experience:

Leave the Kids Behind

If you don’t have school-going children, then don’t feel bad leaving them with your family as you start out. I know, it is heartbreaking at first, but with time, things will go back to normal.

If you can’t afford to provide for them as you start out, it is okay to ask your parents to help you out. For me, my sons are my handbags, but this is just because my oldest son is already in school plus my mom and sister go to work every day. I’d leave them behind if I had the choice, but thank God I can afford to put something in their stomachs.

Ask Your Family to Get You through the First Few Months

Budgeting becomes hard when you barely have enough to push you through. Sadly, this is the situation for most single moms. You made the decision to move because you want to build a new life. This means that you have to look for a job and ways to make money.

Before your first paycheck comes in, why not make a call to your parents and ask them to help you through the first month?

I was lucky enough because I make money online. My laptop is my office so it goes wherever I go. Then I have a very supportive family. My mother was on her annual leave at the time so she helped me move. Honestly, it felt like high school all over again. She bought all the essentials, spent a few weeks with us then traveled back home when she was sure we were okay (I doubt if she thinks we are okayJ). This saved me some thousands and I had to focus more on finding a good school for my son.

I know a single mom who started the same way. For her, she had a whole village behind her back! Literally! One person chips in with a bed, another relative offers to buy the sofa set, and a few friends throw in their support with kitchen appliances and food. If you have a support network, turn to them.

Reduce your Spending

Now that you have a few things to start out, it is time to make a budget. You want to save as much as you can to buy the necessary household items if you don’t have a village behind your back like my friend. A single mother’s must-have items in the house include:

  • Food
  • Clothes (not a household item, but very important)
  • Rent (again, not a household item but important)
  • Television (Heck, yeah! You need something to keep your kids busy as you work. 100 percent necessary for the work-at-home mom)

Here is a full list if you want to learn how to create a single mom’s budget. Forget about all the articles that ask you to save first. A single mom’s budget is about being realistic. I mean why strain and save 10% then pull the money out to buy groceries?

You need a workable budget; a single mom’s budget. It’s only reasonable because you are all surviving on one income and you don’t have the luxury of asking your spouse to pay the rent and school fees while you handle groceries.

While we are still on the topic of budgeting:

Do away with things you can live without. Will your life end if you don’t eat out like other moms? Hell No! So ditch it and carry food to work.

Look for cheap but better alternatives to essential things you need. Second-hand clothes are a thriving business in Kenya so must you order your dress from Jumia at the moment? No.

Downgrade your living situation and look for creative ways to save money.

Concentrate on Making More Money

Much as you want to cut costs and live the frugal lifestyle as you start out, this is not how you should live your whole life. Do your best to make sure your income is greater than your expense.

Focus your energy toward finding a better job. You can also look for alternative ways to make money through a side hustle or if you have enough capital, start a business.

Stay Positive

You will never get far if you sit around and play victim to your circumstances. Your outlook on life determines your outcome. Choose to be happy and decide that you are going to make it as a single mom. Oh! And everything takes time so don’t expect some miracle to happen overnight unless you land a dinner with the President.

There will be tough days and it is up to you how you respond to these moments. For me, I turn to my Bible and ask Jesus to take the wheel. I don’t know about you; these are just some of the ways I chose to build a new life as a single mom. What’s your secret?

A Letter from a Single Mother to Her Sons

To my handsome boys,

You’ve all grown to mature and responsible young men, and I can never be more proud. Some years have gone by, and I realize you are not boys anymore.
You deserve everything life throws your way, and I know you’ll keep off those that pull you down. Before you get any older, allow me to tell you one thing – I’m sorry.

I’m sorry because up to now I still can’t give you the one thing I know you wish you had. I’m sorry because up to now, you don’t have a man who shows up every day at home to hug you and ask about your day. It’s not easy.

I didn’t set out to be a single mom, but I am. Life, in its own funny way, happened. Things did not go as I had hoped. Things were tough at first. But when I realized I had to play the role of two, I put myself together and stepped into the game. I had to be a stronger woman than I was. I had to choose between failure and taking up the challenge. I chose the latter, and it is a decision I do not regret to date. I am proud of who I am today.

It wasn’t easy then, and it still isn’t easy. Your handsome innocent faces, however, act as a reminder that I need to be the mother you will be proud of. At times I close my door and cry myself to sleep. “Am I doing the right thing?” I’ve asked myself this question on more than one occasion. But I have never given up nor will I ever give up.

I know I have become the mother you wanted. You say you are happy and satisfied. That nothing else matters as long as you have my love. But deep inside I still feel things aren’t as I had hoped. I look into your eyes, and I know that one day you’ll be great men. One day you’ll transform the world.

Some days are tough. Other days things don’t work my way. I wish I could give you everything you deserve. I’m sorry I cant because as much as I am Super Mom to you, I can’t fix everything. I can only do what I know best and let God plan everything else.

  • I can tuck you in bed and give you morning kisses.
  • I can prepare your favorite meals and surprise you with gifts once in a while.
  • I can spend my Saturdays with you at our favorite hang-out in town.
  • I can love you more each day and teach you how to do the same.

You are strong and worthy sons. Someday, I will teach you a woman’s worth. I will teach you how to respect and be kind to others. I will show you how not to be selfish, and I will do my best to show you your self-worth.

Hopefully one day I will share you with someone who will love you as I do. I’ll take my time and not rush into it because I know that any man who comes into my life must understand that you are always in my heart. The truth is, we are the package deal. I have made mistakes. I am not the know-it-all person. One thing I’m sure of is, I love like no other.

I may be sorry that I cant give you everything, but I am grateful because I can give you all you need. I’m happy because tomorrow I will wake up and you’ll be the first people I see. No matter how bumpy this journey is, I am forever thankful that I am your mother and you are my sons.

To the moon and back, I will forever love you, my superheroes.

To the Man Who Made me a Mother

I know my voice is probably too deep for you, but you don’t have to take things too deep. See I’ve lived a life full of shuttered dreams I’ve never had the chance of seeing papa’s beams. He was the kind of man who’d teach teams to build dreams, but not once did I see him gleam it seems.

I know he’s somewhere watching over me you see, so I have to do my best to make him see that amidst the tears and fears I can still hold my head up and say He hears and adheres. So I’ll put all my fears aside and turn my ears to the direction he appears

Back to my story of how the years made me turn into a strong oblong lady with tasks to handle all day long. I want to say my heart breaks watching you leave, but I don’t want to give you the pleasure of seeing me grieve. You’ve never been bothered by what I achieve, so why should I let you believe I’m too naïve?

I have a future and a son you’ve left behind not caring whether he feeds or bleeds. So go ahead and leave because I promise you I will meet all his needs. He’s the only reminder of a father who taught me that seeds sprout despite the layout. So look out, I will show you the kind of man he will turn out to be.

You see Joel* is a boy who is able to tell good from bad. He is admiral with natural abilities I can’t tell whether he’s unique or weak. His friend call him a geek, but he’s my magic. Too bad you won’t be here to see because I’ll be with him throughout the weeks.

You have no reason to justify your treason I’m hurt by your action. Don’t take my reaction too serious I also have a reason for my admission. This is just a season you know, and I believe it shall pass. So as I sit here to draft this final piece, I hope you are at peace and in one piece. I’ll take my time to mold my precious masterpiece; it will be a centerpiece you’ll want to lease.

Soon my baby will ask questions I’m ready for all the sessions. Deep down, I know no matter the questions and sessions, he’ll still miss your version. He may not admit to all my actions, but I hope my version reduces his aggravation.

Don’t worry I’ll have the strength for two because from two he was made a new. And so like a kangaroo I’ll protect my own including carrying your share no matter the season. Whether an abomination or acclamation, I’ll stand proud as the single mother you left me to be.

Raising Boys One Day at a Time as a Proud Single Mom

I’m not asking for approval; I love that I’m perfectly imperfect. I’m raising boys that I hope will one day turn out to be better, strong men in the society. I want them to love and respect their women so I’m raising them to leave me. I’m raising my boys one day at a time and I love it.

As I sit down to write this, my 5-year old is outdoors with his friends. My little man is sleeping and I’m left with lots of questions about raising boys. Am I doing it right? What can I do to make sure they turn out to be better men in the society? Will they love their women and stick by them through thick and thin? Do I need a male figure around here to show them what is right and what’s not? I have a lot of questions.

You see, I’m the type of single mom raised by a single mom in a family of girls and only one boy. Last time I saw a REAL male figure around our house 24/7 was back in 1999 before God decided that it was time for him to rest. 5, 10, 15, 19 years down the line and it is my turn to give my boys a MEANINGFUL life. Am I doing the right thing?

Growing up without a father I’ve always wanted to have the male figure around so that I can say “I want my future husband to be like my father”. I mean, with him around, it would be easy to know what to look for in a man and the kind of man to walk away from. I am a daughter, but what about the Fatherless son? Heck, my brother turned out right and I see how he treats his lady. But at times I still get the chills. I get scared raising boys and wondering how they will turn out.

I’m Proud of my Perfect Imperfections

Perfectionism has never been my default setting so I can’t restore factory settings. Even though I worry at times, I don’t let these questions control my life let alone my day. I’m raising my boys one day at a time and I don’t care what someone else thinks.

I’m the mom who (even though I listen) sieves out any unimportant detail that I know will add no value to my life. Sure, I want to do everything right so that my boys turn out to be BETTER, MATURE MEN. I mean, every single mom wants this, but when is the right time to pat yourself on the back, smile and say, I’ve done my best?

I keep checking on my son every five minutes to make sure he does not fall, get hurt or worse off leave my sight and go play somewhere else. Perfectionism, I can’t work with this. I’m letting him be. So I’ll just sit here, write, and wait for him to come home when he is tired or bored. Crossing my fingers he gets bored soon so that he comes back and I can lock the door until tomorrow 😀 (On a light note).

Back to my main point; I’m not perfect. Heck, no one is! I make mistakes as a mom. I make decisions that affect my boys at times, I don’t give him snacks for school every day, I forget to change my son’s diapers when I’m tired, I extend his punishments and at times I find myself pouring out my frustrations on them.

I may feel like I’m not doing it right but I’m doing the best I can. Perhaps my best isn’t good enough but who do I want to please? I choose to give a deaf ear to those who think my parenting sucks because I’m damn proud of the single mom I am. For me, it all comes down to God and my sons. They are the only people I need validation from.

The Statistics on Raising Boys without a Father

It gives me the chills just to think about it but I don’t want to ignore the statistics. Fatherless sons suffer more emotional and psychological problems than male-headed families. I try not to think about the percentage and do my best to remove my boys from the statistics. It’s tough especially when I have to answer my son’s question about why I don’t want his father to live with us. According to my boy, I don’t want him to live with us. When he stares blankly at the walls, I get worried and try to read his thoughts. Talking to him tells me there’s a lot going on in his mind. He is only 5 but he understands things fast.

Then there is the horror of drugs, depression, robbery and any form of bad behavior you can think of. My worst nightmare; not only as a single mom but also as a parent. This may not only affect my boys because I’m a single mom but in general, boys are nine times likely to engage in crime than girls. Of course, fatherless sons take the larger percentage. How do I raise my boys to be GENTLEMEN?

Raising Boys as a Single Mom

It’s hard but it is not impossible. Anything I know they cannot learn from me, I have my brother to show them the right thing to do. Thank God because my brother, even though he is just fresh from campus, turned out to be more than a gentleman. The best part is that he knows there are some things he cannot do where my 5-year old boy is.

“…because I saw bro do it.” (He also calls him bro) I love when I hear him answer some of my questions like this. I’m never short of male role models so this doesn’t scare me at all.

Perhaps what I ponder about most is when it is just us in the house. Still, I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve to make sure they grow up as real men. I will only applaud my success a few years later but my efforts don’t look futile.

20 Lessons for my Boys

  1. It is Okay to be Competitive but no B@&#$*t About Winner Take it All
  2. Accept your mistakes and learn to apologize for them
  3. Appreciate what you have and understand that you can’t get what you want every time
  4. Make friends wherever you go and interact with at least two adults. Shake hands, smile, maintain eye contact and ask about their day
  5. You have the right to express your feeling but don’t go beyond the limit when you are angry or hurt because there will be consequences
  6. Brush your shoes after school, wash your hands, take the dishes to the sink, have a bath and put on your clothes (and anything in between you can do as a 5-year old)
  7. Say PLEASE, THANK YOU and EXCUSE ME whenever necessary
  8. Pick up anything that falls and put it back where it was even if you didn’t drop it
  9. Learn to share with your brother and friends
  10. Explore and enjoy the outdoors. I don’t mind washing your clothes as long as you assure me you had fun and made a new friend
  11. Smile. Don’t keep a frown face every time.
  12. Turn the other cheek when your friends are rude to you. Don’t fight or talk back to them.
  13. When you fall, get up, shake off the dirt and do it again
  14. Do what you love and love what you do
  15. You don’t have to be the first in your class, rather do your best and be proud of it
  16. “I love you mummy” will always earn you a hug and a goodnight kiss J
  17. There are consequences when you do something bad
  18. Learn to live around people and take care of your brother
  19. Treat everyone the way you want them to treat you
  20. Say a prayer before you eat or retire to bed

Raising Boys who will Love and Respect their Women

I’m raising my boys a day at a time. I’m raising them to leave me and love their women more than they love me. I’m not worried because I know mummy will always have a place in their hearts.

Being in some failed relationships, I know how I want someone to treat me as a lady. I want a gentleman who does not make me cry, who does not take me for granted or cheat. I’ve had a bitter taste of all these. I don’t want my boys to do the same to any woman. I want them to learn to love and respect their women just like they would their mother. Of course a different kind of love (when they find a good woman). I want my boys to be strong and respectful men who value women and treat them well. How do I raise them to be one of these men?

Model what Respect for Women Looks Like

As a woman, I need my sons to see a female figure who expects fair and kind treatment. They also need male figures in their lives who know how to treat women so that they can model what it looks like. Respecting women has to look like a normal way for men to act.

Bury the ‘For Girls’ Notion

I don’t give my son the chance to insist that activity X is for girls and activity Z is for boys. He knows that he can wash the dishes like everyone else or sweep the floor when he makes a mess. I make sure he does not think that anything feminine is negative. I want to introduce him to strong female role models so that he understands girls are not less than boys.

Self Respect

One of the ways to teach boys to respect women is to teach them how to respect themselves. My boys need to have confidence and build their self-esteem. They need to know that respect is a two-way street. It is human and it starts with them.

Sex Ed

No, I’m not here yet but I know the time will come; just a few years left. I don’t want my boys to learn everything from the media or from their peers. I want to play a role in this too. It looks and feels awkward but I choose to play a part in their sex lives. They need to know how to treat women with respect even when it comes to sex. They need to understand the importance of consent.

It’s Okay to Love Mummy a Little Less

I don’t want to have a mama’s boy. I want my sons to know that they need to love their wives and it is okay to love me a little less. I want them to choose who to love and they need to know that I will love whoever they love. It is okay to love their women more than me and I will not love them less when they do it.

Am I the perfect parent? No! Am I proud? Damn, right I am. I’m giving it my best and this is all that matters. Perhaps my parenting skills are not the best but it is not a competition. I’m raising boys one day at a time and I hope they will be better men in the society.

Pregnant and Single? Here’s what to Expect

Going solo as a mom-to-be is tough. The next nine months will be full of challenges and days of emotional breakdown.

Pregnancy is one of those experiences that you just can’t hold from the world. All the beautiful memories that come with the little life growing inside you are moments you want to record until the last day.

Unfortunately, not everyone shares the same experience. Sometimes life takes a different turn, especially when you realize you are doing it on your own for the very first time.

My first pregnancy was the best experience, but I can’t say the same about my second. What I went through is an experience I wouldn’t wish on any mom-to-be. There’s nothing worse like being pregnant and single. I was seven days late and dating myself (my relationship just hit rock bottom). 

The first month was tough because I couldn’t stop panicking, and I had no one to share my feelings. Despite the mixed reactions that went through my head, I chose to keep my unborn child, and it is a decision I can never regret. My sons are my joy, and they add meaning to my life.

It was tough breaking the news to my family, but then I found out there was no need to worry. I have the most supportive family, and I would never trade them for anything. My feeling is justified though, being pregnant and single stirs up a feeling from deep within that you wouldn’t expect. Never had I expected to be pregnant and single.

Having a supportive family back at home has made me grow to be the strong single mother I am today. Of course, I wouldn’t want to do it over again, but given a chance, I would choose to have these amazing champs running around my house every day.

If you are going through this tough step in your life – being single and pregnant – here’s what you can expect. I’ve read numerous posts that touch on the same topic, but I realized most of them don’t have the Kenyan touch. So today, I share my experience, the common challenges I went through and hope that I will be able to speak to another single mom-to-be.

The Single Mom with no Help

Don’t spend the better time of your pregnancy trying to bring a man on board in an experience he isn’t interested in being part of. Doing this will stress the hell out of you, and we all know this isn’t good for the baby.

If you are more for keeping the baby than a grown man who decided to walk away, then you need to make sure you stay as healthy as possible for the sake of your unborn child.

I know it is essential for the father to play a role and be present in his child’s life, but what’s the use if you are trying to force it. This won’t turn out well for your unborn child when he/she joins this world, so let him be.

If you are a new mom-to-be, get ready for interrupted sleep without anyone to swap turns with. Be prepared to go for CWC (Child Welfare Clinics) alone and giving birth alone. It’s a bit depressing to think about these things, but it is the reality, and I want to keep it 100 percent real with you, mama.

I went through the same, and I know hundreds of moms share the same experience. While it appears normal these days, there is that feeling of loneliness and the worry of doing everything alone. Instead of thinking about all these and focusing your energy on things that pull you down, let me give you something to distract your mind.

Gather all the information you need

By information, I mean you need to collect data about the most affordable hospitals around you, daycares, and anything in between. Nine months might seem a bit long, but it is not mama. From the months of feeling nauseated to the late months when you eat almost anything, days will move faster than you’d expect.

Hopefully, you are paying your monthly NHIF dues because it will help you nine months down the line. I’m not sure about how the Free Maternity Program works, but I’ve seen a few moms benefit from it.

The government had introduced this program back in 2013, but there were some hiccups with hospitals complaining of late reimbursements. I did a little research on the same in 2016, and I was advised to get an NHIF cover. From the information I collected, pregnant moms would have NHIF cards topped up with 6k that catered for maternity. You can fill me in on this because I never used mine.

Have a plan underway because you never know whether you’ll have a normal delivery or go the cesarean section way. I’d hoped for the normal delivery, but it wasn’t the case. You might want to consider the possibility of asking for child support.

Much as the dad isn’t physically involved, he may be able to help, so don’t let your pride get in the way. This could make things a lot easier, but if you can go without it, by all means, go without. Don’t file for child support out of spite, do it because you genuinely need financial assistance.

It’s okay to be angry

No one will judge you if you are mad that this man wants nothing to do with your unborn child. This is perfectly okay, and I had experienced these feelings so many times when I was pregnant with my second child.

I understand that you feel frustrated because you have to go through parenting alone. Don’t put all your energy on this though because it isn’t good for the baby. There’s nothing good that will come out of your resentment for him except more anger, frustration, and worse off, depression.

While you are busy sulking all day, this man (depending on his nature) is somewhere doing something more productive (I hope). He is not thinking about you, so get your act together and move on.

Spend this time preparing for your child and be ready to give him enough love for two.

Build Your Support Group

While you feel you are entirely alone, I assure you that you are not. Lots of moms are going through the same. I love Facebook Groups because they make it possible to find an active support group. Whether single or not, there are lots of pregnant women who are looking for support groups to celebrate their joys and share their fears.

Of course, your family and closest friends are the best and most supportive people, but it doesn’t hurt to check out and join groups of women going through the same experience as you are. I remember joining The December Babies WhatsApp Group via Pregnant and Nursing Moms Facebook Group.

I loved it because most of us were single moms, and it was so encouraging learning from moms who had been through the same situation more than once. There were days we would complain about our men and days when we would thank them for giving us the best gifts.

Well aside from this, we would talk about shopping (baby clothes of course), the most affordable hospitals in town, and then there were those days when we would talk about the sex cravings. It was a fantastic group.

Before this group, I felt so lonely and depressed 90 percent of the time. I would cry myself to sleep and refuse to get out of bed in the morning. You need such a support group if you want to pull through the next few months.

It’s Time to go Shopping

Don’t worry because I’ll be touching on the most affordable items you’ll need as a new mom. If you are on a tight budget, you might want to consider buying second-hand clothes.

Muthurwa and Gikomba have the best yet affordable baby clothes in Nairobi. I’m not sure about other towns, but I was lucky to find some cute Mitumba clothes in Naivasha for my son.

You can also go for the hand-me-down clothes (my mother is so good at keeping baby clothes that my first son was lucky to wear a few of my brother’s hand-me-downs). There are a few items like diapers that you can get a good deal if you consider buying them in bulk.

Here are the Essential Items you will need at the Hospital for you and your newborn baby

  • 2 packets of baby diapers – newborn size (I’d recommend you go for Pampers the first time, but this depends on your budget)
  • Diaper bag
  • Baby powder
  • Vaseline (always good for newborns)
  • Mild baby soap
  • 4 baby vests
  • 2 sweaters
  • 1 Baby blanket
  • 3 Baby Shawls
  • 4-6 Rompers
  • 2 baby hats
  • 6 pairs of socks
  • 2 pairs of mittens

For you:

  • 2 lesos
  • Cotton wool
  • A few maternity clothes
  • Toiletries

Find Out Your Due Date

You’ll want to make an appointment with your doctor to find out your due date. This is very important because you want to be ready when the time comes. I used My Period Calendar App to track my progress and keep up to date with the current months as my baby grew slowly in my womb.

If you are in good terms with your baby’s father, you can bring him along when the time comes. It’s still okay if you go alone. My family was with me all the time, and I always had someone to help me out.

I went to all my doctor’s appointments alone, and at times I wish I had someone to give me the emotional support I needed or share in my joy as I had my first Ultra Sound or when I first found out my baby’s gender. If you can lean on any family member during these times, please do so.

Don’t Ignore the Common Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a common occurrence amongst most women during pregnancy, and it may be worse if you are pregnant and single. You don’t have to suffer in silence if you are going through a phase. Most women may not even realize if they are suffering from depression. Some common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Loss of appetite
  • Overeating
  • Feeling of emptiness
  • Lack of energy
  • Suicidal thoughts

Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you have these symptoms.

Dealing with “Where is the Dad” Question

I don’t understand why this question comes up a lot. How well can you handle the question? Do you have the right answer for it? Expect to deal with it throughout pregnancy and even as you raise your child.

Here is a pro tip: the more confident you’ll appear, the less likely you’ll hear this question. I read some excellent books on parenting and motivation, including Ryuho Okawa’s Laws of Courage and Wale Akinyemi’s book on Creative Thinking that gave me a boost of confidence as days flew by.

Don’t Struggle to do it all

Parenting is tough, and single parenting is tougher because there are a lot of things you have to do alone. Much as you will be a super mom in your child’s eyes, don’t feel the pressure to play two roles.

Don’t try to be both a mom and dad at the same time. This will only make you feel overworked and overtired. You’ve got a whole village so don’t push away anyone willing to offer a helping hand.

It’s okay to ask for help, and it is equally healthy to recharge once in a while. In the meantime, though, focus on being the best single mom, you can be to your child and don’t forget to take care of yourself.

Surviving on a single income

Budgeting is tough, but you have to do it if you want to survive. Be smart, tough, and do your best to get all your finances in order. If you do not rely on any other financial support, then money will stress you out. You have to worry about paying the bills, buying food and saving money.

If you are having a hard time making ends meet, you might want to try out some work-at-home jobs that do not require a lot of money to start. Try to live within your means and cut your expenses as much as you can. Save enough money that will cover your maternity costs and keep away enough to see you in the first few months before you resume work.

Being pregnant and single is tough. There are days when you will feel like giving up. Other days, you will fall into depression, but I know you can do it. Being a single mom isn’t tough if you know what to expect. Things would be a lot easier if he accepted taking this new step with you, but unfortunately, he didn’t. Don’t let this be the end of you – remember you need to keep your stress level in check for the sake of your baby.