It has been more than a minute since anything substantial was posted on this platform. This so called platform was meant to be my salvation to the daily routine of an average-income-earning-single-Kenyan mother – Goodness gracious, that is such a mouthful- but, that wasn’t the case. I ended up on a rut, posting seemingly uninteresting stories. I guess i got bored too. I do not do well writing fiction or other peoples stories that have no connection to MY life story. it is no wonder then, i experienced a self inflicted writer’s block.
fast forward to 2017. Single mother status still stands. It has been nine years and counting. She – yes, I have a girl – just interrupted my affair with you my audience, to ask a math question. Apparently she only knows one sign, i,e ÷ as the division sign as opposed to knowing there are about three (if I am not wrong, which highly likely i might be, loathed math back in the day, possibly why i think I have a shot at writing or blogging….). I had to convince her that what she saw was just as legit a division sign. She insisted on changing it, as opposed to finding a solution to the question. This is just the beginning to many a tales about this pre-teen and my role in both our lives.
The life of a single mother in Kenya falls in two categories; the co-parenting single mother and the ultimate single mother. I will focus on the latter and specifically so, the medium income earner. Granted, single motherhood comes in various forms. Focus will be on those who had children out of wedlock and specifically we who are, what society calls ‘statistic’. I will not delve into the statistics though but I will mention this, in 2013, a research concluded that the single mother phenomena was on a rise in Kenya. With three in ten girls becoming pregnant, under the age of eighteen. That is a story for another day. Today, we are going to be enlightened about the typical single mother. Case study, ME.
I got pregnant at age twenty six. Had my future plans in a pretty little journal and had one belief and plan about parenthood – if i was not going to get pregnant by the time i was twenty-six, I was never going to have a child. It was a good belief but a stupid plan. You either plan and believe to have a child by a certain age or you simply don’t. Anyway, as my good Lord would have it, I got knocked up at the ‘right’ time and since marriage was a no-no for me, I decided to go at it solo. After all, I had an income and if I could afford to spend it on meaningless endeavors, then I had found a profound purpose as to why I was employed – wrong reasoning.
I am still employed, I earn more than I did when I got knocked up and frankly, I don’t work for my child. It was a conscious decision to go at it (parenthood), single-handedly, yes, but it took a whole other look at life to realise that :
- Raising children is shitty business.
- Raising children, solely, dents your single income in an unforgiving way.
- Raising a girl, let us just say, is no mean feat; you want her in the best company, best school and frankly you just don’t want her making the same or worse off silly mistakes you did.
- Raising a girl child is daunting. Single parent or not. You want her to know all there is about positive feminism (is there negative feminism?).
So how do you juggle your average income versus your need to bring up your child in the best possible environment? You invest and you save and you sacrifice. Actually there is a sequence, you sacrifice so as to save and invest. If you are like me and have established that you don’t need a man, you work girl and your work hard at all you do. You strive for perfection. You give it all you got.
I will recommend Taking up insurance policies such as education. Invest in assets and any other kind of investments you deem pocket friendly. I know you are asking, ‘what viable investment options do I have considering my average income’, well, I will share investment options for we average earning mothers in another post.
There is another question now, do you stop dating and dismiss all men? Especially once you have it figured out or have a plan in place. Well, this is a personal decision. Women were and are blessed with the ability to forego the pleasures of the flesh. But what about adult male company, the typical adult conversation over a nice meal or a movie or a beautiful glass of whiskey (or fresh juice) you ask. Well, my sister, you have it all in your willpower to call the shots for whatever arrangement you deem fit. I will say this though, you are more empowered by God, on and by your side, than you are by a fling, a relationship, a gourmet, refined liqour or a phallus. You got this. If you need any adult conversation, come to my blog. We’ll figure it out.
There are days, I feel like ‘ what did i get myself into’. These are days when she is sick and it just flared up in the wee hours of the night. Or when she asks, ‘ so, I have no daddy’ or when i feel i need some male arms around me, comforting me and telling me it is all going to be alright. Then I remember, all men I have seen out, at night, partying while their newborns are back home, or men with children and a wife back home, trotting out of a party in the early hours of the morning and I remember my case scenario. Right then, I thank God for the opportunity to be there every step of the way, every good, every bad and even the shitty. I remind myself that God has plans for me, plans for you, to make US prosper. All we gotta do, is do our part, to our very best and let him do His thing. He’s got us.