Our column opens up the life of a single mum – juggling life, love, work and of course kids on her own.
Sal Higgins is an author and journalist and mum to five kids, ranging in age from 20 to three, and is now raising them on her own. Her estranged husband has the usual alternate weekend arrangement, which means most of it’s down to her. She lives just outside London with her kids and their dog, Jamjar.
Here, she tells of her new life, the ups ands downs, the laughs and tears and the search for a new love – who, of course, will be her children’s new dad.
Why oh why do so many single mums feel so inferior? It’s something I hear all the time. Women who have been left or abandoned by their husbands or partners somehow feel like they are not good enough all of a sudden.
Well enough of this. Are you listening you warrior princesses? There are so many women stuck in situations that they would rather not be in. There are the ‘loveless empty’ marriages. The ‘putting up with it for the sake of the kids’ marriages. The ‘don’t want to be alone so I’ll stick it out’ marriages. And the ‘I’ll pretend he’s never cheated on me’ marriages. And loads more…
Don’t get me wrong I have lots of friends who are in happy marriages – and when you see a couple who are in it for life because they want to be – it truly warms your heart and gives you hope for the future. But unfortunately, these kind of unions are not the majority.
There are many women too scared to go it alone. And being on my own with five young kids – yes I do get that. It’s hard on you and on the kids – who have to trundle back and forward between two homes. So I’m not judging anyone here.
But for goodness sake – it’s your life too. And as scary as it can be, being able to raise your children as a lone parent is… Admirable. Brave. Strong. And yes while it’s lonely at times, overwhelming and on some days, just too much – what you don’t realise is that you are teaching your children all about being resourceful and resilient.
Many primary carers like me are the main breadwinners too – so we do the school runs, the football training runs at least three times a week for all kids, the judo runs, dancing, homework, packed lunches, dinners, snacks, swimming, in between working at a couple of jobs. I have three. And I’m not alone.
And yes sometimes when you come home from work to children who haven’t seen you all day and have all their stories to tell you – it would be lovely to have someone hand you a glass of wine and say: ‘Dinner’s nearly ready’.
But you know what; how nice is it to sit down with your ‘excited to see you’ kids and hear all about their day. We may be doing it alone – but the rewards are all ours. And so they should be.
So next time you feel – ‘oh I’m a single mum’ – put your shoulders back and proudly say it again with pride.
I’m a single mum. Yes I am brave enough. I am enough. And I am a warrior princess. Because you are.
For more columns by Sal Higgens – click on parents’ tips