This entry is dedicated to all the strong women out there.
P R O L O G U E
Aku seorang wanita.
Aku seorang wanita yang telah engkau lukai.
Sakitnya tidak terkata-kata.
Engkau tetap angkuh walau ditimpa musibah akibat perbuatan engkau.
Aku seorang wanita yang punyai anak.
Sedang aku menjaga anak, sedang aku menyusu anak, engkau berdusta.
Tapi aku mahu ucap terima kasih.
Terima kasih kerana menunjukkan belang engkau yang sebenar.
Orang seperti engkau tidak layak menerima kasih sayangku.
Orang seperti engkau bukanlah pasangan hidup mati sejati.
Tuhan berikan ku kekuatan dan keyakinan untuk membuat keputusan sukar.
Tuhan juga memberikan aku kebahagiaan.
Aku kini terlalu gembira memulakan hidup baru.
Engkau bagaikan debu yang sudah lenyap berterbangan di udara.
* * *
Divorced. Single mom. Janda anak dua.
Those words are considered taboo to some people.
But why? Nobody gets married to end up breaking up. Nobody procreates to end up being a single parent.
But stuff happens and sometimes, you’re not able to dodge the inevitable – a separation.
My divorce is still. Very. New. Remnants of the now defunct marriage is still in existence and may take time to be disposed of or altered. Or some remain in perpetuity, thanks to digitalisation.
Since it was official, I’ve been reserved at times to make known of my status when a question prompts an answer of living in singularity. Other times, I feel OK enough to actually say the words out loud: “Oh, no, I’m a single mom actually.”
The immediate response I get is, “I’m so sorry.”
But I genuinely tell them not to be sorry. I am so happy.
One I cannot forget though is a stranger saying, “I don’t understand who would not want to be with you. You’re so young and pretty.” Let me soak it in, people! Hehe.
Why be embarrassed of the status of a divorcee or single mom? I truly believe I upheld my duty as a wife and mother to the best I can, and heck, I did an amazing job. I still am – as a single mom. I’m not afraid to say I’m a proud single mom. Unfortunately, my hard work, my sacrifice, my unconditional love and my companionship was not recognized or cherished.
People say break-ups are always the result of faults from both sides. True.
I’ve had my fair share of mistakes but none justified what was done to me.
I was also afraid of being perceived as weak or inapt. There will always be judgments.
Maybe she wasn’t a good wife.
Maybe it was her mistake he did that.
Maybe she was stubborn.
Maybe she was hot-tempered.
People will always be second-guessing or even worse, have made up their mind. Let them be. Live your life. Some people were brought up with a different mentality and upbringing. I’m just thankful to be brought up based on the current values I hold on to now.
Surviving as a Single Mom
HANDS DOWN. I OWE EVERYTHING TO MY FAMILY.
My dad, mom and sister.
They have been the village to help raise my young kids. They have been the source of my strength and sanity.
My extended family and friends have also helped me pull through tremendously. You know who you are.
Raising young kids – I have never had to acquire such level of patience. What more as a single parent. A friend had asked, what are your struggles as a single mom? Honestly, I feel my struggles are the same as any other parent, whether in a nuclear family or as a single parent. Again, it is because of the immense and continuous support I receive from my family that this is possible.
If you have a family member or friend who is single parenting – please. Offer a helping hand or your time. It will go a long way. Believe me.
However I admit, at certain times when the kids are giving me a hard time, I do feel my burden would not be so great as it is now, had I a partner to rely on. Especially when everyone’s asleep and I’m left alone. Not really, but kind of.
Or when the kids have fallen ill. Extra energy and attention is required to care for them. For instance, at this moment as I type, my son is sleeping on my lap because he refuses to sleep on his own, recovering from a fever.
It’s not that bad, really. If you’re reading this as a single parent – trust me when I say it gets BETTER! Keep persevering, keep praying and keep hope alive.
Man, it’s not easy. You need a little extra of everything – patience, determination, hard work and faith. You can’t acquire everything overnight. Take it one step at a time.
Would I make a good sob story if I tell you that I had resigned from my fulltime corporate job some years ago not long after the birth of my firstborn, to care for my family?
And look where I am now. Jobless.
Thankfully, due to my strong desire to contribute to the society (and my wallet, haha), in the years of my unemployment, I managed to secure a part-time job, freelancing gigs and special projects. The money can be good but to snag such opportunities was challenging.
Sebab tu orang cakap, orang perempuan, kalau terpaksa berhenti bekerja untuk jaga anak, kena cari duit juga untuk diri sendiri!!
That should be a mantra for all wives. Seriously, you never know what can happen.
Working on flexible hours was a heaven-sent routine for a mother like me. I was able to send my kids to wherever they needed to be at any time and I did not have to go through the hassle of applying for leave should one of them fall ill or if I had no baby-sitter.
Currently, while still maintaining my part-time job, I have realised my passion of working with kids. While this new venture has been very encouraging, it’s been tough and challenging at the same time.
I thank God that every step of the way, I have always managed to generate income doing something fulfilling.
Now that my kids have grown a little older, it’s time for a change of scene. I have never been the type to stay at home all day. I just can’t. It’s not me. I have dreams and desires to be fulfilled. It’s not an easy task, so wish me the best.
In the meantime, again – my family has been my rock from all aspects, enabling me to start getting back on my feet.
My Message to Women Who are Suffering in their Marriages
I don’t want to instigate, influence or induce you into a narrowed down decision if you are feeling something is wrong in your marriage.
But as someone with experience, my message:
…to those who have not found ‘The One’ yet = Don’t settle for less. Choose the right and perfect guy for you. Certain flaws are acceptable while some should not be. Don’t give up on love. You will find your spouse when God says it’s time.
…to those who are not married yet but have been wronged by their partner = Get. OUT. You deserve better.
…to those who are married but have been wronged = You have to make a conscious decision. Is it healthy to remain in the marriage? Will you still be happy? I totally attest to the fact that you must be happy if you want to raise your kids properly. Your sufferance and misery may be unintentionally taken out on the kids, who are only innocent victims.
…to those who are married and have not been wronged, but feels empty in the marriage = Go back to why the two of you fell in love. It’s possible that the spark had faded. But it’s possible to reignite that spark and salvage the situation. You may have to be creative. Most definitely, you will have to work hard.
…to those who have been divorced = Don’t give up on love. You can start over. Make better choices. Earn the love you truly deserve. Start by being happy with who you are.
You Must Attain Your Own Happiness
It’s very important to drain out any hatred and anger you harbour against your spouse or ex.
If you’re still married, communicate your feelings to your spouse to find solutions. Don’t keep it in. Give and take, meet halfway. After all, that’s what a marriage is all about, no?
If you’re divorced, take steps to eradicate any ill feelings towards your ex. It’s hard, especially if the separation involved a lot of hurt. Residual leftovers may be permanently left at the pit of your heart, but make sure you’re able to dispose a sufficient amount to not let it get in your way of living life!
It will differ from one person to another, but do what it takes to attain your own happiness. At the same time, you must take into consideration of the interests of the people around you whom you care about. (Of course, don’t do anything wrong and illegal, too.)
Immerse yourself in your favorite hobbies, get a good job, and live passionately. No regrets. The list goes on. You need to be genuinely happy!
What the Future Holds
I haven’t given up on love. It’s so exciting knowing that I can fall in love again (this time, for real). I can feel something bigger and better, in shaa Allah. My instincts firmly tell me that it’s only going to get better. I can almost taste it. Patience, Nadia.
Now that I’ve done away with toxicity and clashed values, the weight on my chest is a lot lighter. The stress and unhappiness have been reduced tremendously. I am truly, truly happy.
People define the unit I have as a ‘broken family’. I have always disagreed with this term. It’s not broken, it’s better. It will get even better, too.
I live by my own rules now. I do what makes me happy and what I feel is the best for me and the kids. To the dumpster with any judgments. My image may have also changed but modesty is still in my vocabulary. I apologize if I offend anyone. My faith remains the same, and if not, it’s only stronger.
Here’s to a fabulous 2020 and the years to come!