The strength of the single mother

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The social stigma associated with single motherhood is too often painted in a light of isolation, overwhelm, and misery – with the media being a particular perpetrator for spreading such a stereotype. As Mother’s Day approaches, I have taken some time to reflect on my relationship with my mother and why I think it is important to give single parents their flowers in every sense of the phrase.

As the child of a single parent, my perception of my mother is nothing short of glowing. I do not want to reduce my love for her to the fact that she is a single parent, however I am in awe of her strength and do not think it would be reductive to praise her for doing everything on her own – raising three children singlehandedly should be a badge of honour to wear. She certainly gets a gold star from me. She is my best friend and my biggest supporter; I will forever be in awe of the unwavering love and dedication she has shown to me and my siblings. Taking on what is traditionally the role of two people is no mean feat, and I will be eternally grateful for her limitless commitment to providing us with a safe and loving upbringing and, even in times of struggle, remaining a rock for us all. Even now, as I live over 200 miles away from home, she is pestered by my daily (or, more honestly, hourly) phone calls to update her about the menial parts of my day which she so diligently endures – that alone is why she inspires me more than any other person. 

She is my best friend and my biggest supporter; I will forever be in awe of the unwavering love and dedication she has shown to me and my siblings

My parents divorced when I was very young, so being raised by a single mother has been my norm – I, strangely enough, wouldn’t change it for the world. Every birthday, Christmas, and special occasion in my life has been so full of love and odd traditions. It is something I can only hope to replicate should I have children of my own. She inspires me to bring this warmth and love into the relationships I cherish. I am eternally grateful for the life she has provided me with. I only wish I could express the love and respect I possess for her enough. It cannot have been easy to solely shoulder the responsibility raising three children – a task already difficult enough when shared. I am inspired every day by her ability to balance the full-time responsibility of being the most wonderful parent imaginable alongside a full-time job without even an utterance to us of how difficult this may have been at times. I have become the woman I am today from being raised by such a strong, inspirational presence. 

To hear the phrase “you’re just like your mum” would be one of the greatest compliments to receive. To be like my mum is to be a beacon of love, light and support. It is to be a pillar of strength. It is to possess an immeasurable number of talents – from organiser extraordinaire, to nurse, to therapist, to chef (the list goes on). Every day I try to channel my mum. When I feel overwhelmed by my deadlines and tasks piling up, I remember her ability to balance her life and ours, to never deprive us of the opportunities of our peers even when faced with the age-old struggle to be unable to be in multiple places at once. Never once did she allow me to think I could not achieve something, she displayed to me the importance of showing my love to those around me and giving my all to each day, pushing me to be and act as the person I want to be. I only wish I could one day express to her how truly thankful for her I am, to sing the praises of her immeasurable remarkability. 

To be like my mum is to be a beacon of love, light and support

Moving to Durham has only served as a reminder of how fantastic my relationship with my mum is. I find myself reflecting upon the strength of our bond, which proliferates despite our geographical differences. Even if I only call her so I can hang up on someone when I’m in a bad mood, she is always there. I once again want to reiterate the strength and love of my mum which inspires me every day. I will particularly think of her on Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day; however, she has inspired me every day more than either of us will ever know. 

Image by Tegan Frampton

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