Over the last 14 years, I have grappled with the notion that parents are the only ones that can care for their children. I’ve learnt that as a single mother, I cannot expect to do it alone.
But the realities of entrusting a village come with many mixed emotions.
I graduated from university in 2005, in 2006 I fell pregnant with a guy I loved dearly and my daughter was born in 2007.
My partner and our expectations of each other and ourselves were skewed. For that first year of parenting we did our best but for a majority of that time, the relationship fell under immense strain.
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Becoming a single parent left me feeling like I was damaged goods, but my first real single parenting struggle started when the full responsibility of school pick up and drop off was on me. I had graduated with a first class honours degree in engineering and was working in a graduate job.
I was caught between not wanting to waste the five years of study I’d worked hard at, and wanting to live up to my preconceived notion of what a present mother does - drops their child off to school and picks them up again.
The first time I properly acknowledged that I needed my village to take on some part of mothering was when I was about to embark on a Masters degree.
I tapped into the ancient indigenous thinking of ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ and had my daughter live with my grandmother whilst I completed my masters.
From this I learnt the power of the matriarch and the wisdom that lives within it. I also learnt the courage in asking for help, it showed ambition and vulnerability in equal measure, something I want my children to experience and tap into as martyrdom serves few.