Parenting generally requires quite a lot of bravery; parenting by yourself on the other hand requires a whole lot more. Africa Check estimates that up to 64,1% of children don’t live with their fathers; which means many South African women find themselves faced with this reality every single day. Since this prevalent in our society, how is the modern single mother managing to juggle her parenting duties and her career?
We recently spoke to Nomsa Zwane; a 36-year-old single mother of one. She’s an optometrist by profession who herself was raised by a single mother when her father passed away. Nomsa’s story debunks the myth of the nuclear family being the only kind of home where a child can thrive. In fact; according to Nomsa having her mother supporting her has been a blessing in disguise because as a woman her mother understands motherhood better than the most well-meaning present father.
“She’s been my everything…I think my mom has done a better job than a husband could have been able to do. She understands better because she’s a woman and she’s a mother; so, she knows what we go through. As much as men can be supportive; they can never truly understand what we go through.”
While some mothers may be thinking of scaling back on the work hours in order to be there for their children; Nomsa says knowing that her mother is taking care of her child gives her the room to consider increasing her work hours in order to be able to provide for her child financially. This is a good example of how immediate family can not only be supportive but can fill in the gap of there not being a second parent in the picture.
Nomsa also credits being financially stable as well as good financial planning for the smooth transition into motherhood. After her father passed away; her family had to continue with what they had because he did not have life cover.
“When my father died, he didn’t have life cover in place because generally we haven’t been exposed to those things. Looking back, you realise that you don’t want your kids to suffer the same fate; you must always prepare for the unfortunate event of death. I know that I may not be the best planner, but my finances always need to be in order.”
Support from extended families, being financially stable and making good financial decisions makes a world of difference for modern day single mothers. It may not be a walk in the park because it comes with its challenges. Parenting is never easy, but these women are finding that they don’t have to choose between motherhood and their careers.