They say that , "Being a single parent is twice the work, twice the stress and twice the tears but also twice the hugs, twice the love and twice the pride."
I am perpetually in awe of Single Moms who literally do it all. I feel that we all could stand to learn from them and their journey.
This week, The Times of Amma is happy to feature Inspiring Single Mom Naghma Shaikh. Naghma runs her own venture which is a children’s play & activity centre in Muscat. Her life revolves around her work, home, child, family and friends. She loves action packed, busy days where she is juggling several roles and trying to fit in a lot in one day. Naghma is also a fairly well known mom blogger on Instagram where she blogs under the profile name fivelittlemonkeysjumping .
What is the toughest thing about being an Indian single mother?
The toughest thing is to deal with a hypocritical mindset of the 'desi' society. It doesn’t matter how educated they are, how progressive they may be for themselves or what social status they belong to. In an attempt of trying to show open mindedness by saying it’s ok to be divorced, that you are not going to be judged a long list of conditions and benchmarks are thrown at you at what an ideal divorcee, single mother life should be like.
Do you feel that single mothers have it comparatively easier in other countries as opposed to India?
I do agree that single mothers have it easier overseas as compared to in India. I do believe that the general youth mindset of India is changing and that’s a relief. But we are still a long way from learning the 'live and let live', 'each to his own' mantra.
Society in general has a tendency to glorify motherhood, elevating mothers to the status of goddesses. Do you feel that single mothers are extended the same treatment by Indian society?
Well different people, different mindsets. But on a general note No. I feel the very ‘Oh! I’m sorry to hear that’ statement that people make as soon as you utter the words that you are divorced, sends you stumbling down from the pedestal of a normal person let alone a goddess.
Could you tell us about your support system as you navigate life as a working mom?
My support systems are my family, friends, my baby and religion. Their support didn’t let me slip into depression even for a day. Family constantly corrected my (at that time) negative mindset, working hard to refocus all my energy into building a better life. Friends offered support like no other who endlessly gave a listening ear to my bickering, made me laugh at the situation and extended a helping hand wherever possible. My baby at that time only 4 months old was a bundle of joy and with her antics constantly amused me and made me look forward to life. Finding solace in prayers was my moment of calmness. I could have endless conversations where I knew I was not being judged, where I could cry without the fear that I will be looked down upon as weak person.
What sort of societal changes would you look forward to as a single mother?
I would like to see more acceptance, more credit, more respect. Single moms are not standing there facing all odds because they don’t have an option. They very well have the option of just dropping all responsibilities and fleeing (in some cases, exactly what the father of the child may have done). But they are there respectfully accepting their responsibilities and striving to make a better life for themselves and their children. I wish when I said I was single, instead of getting a reply like oh! I’m sorry to hear that' I would hear 'respect to you'.
What are your thoughts on 'me time'? What do you personally do for your 'me time'?
Me time is a must whether single, married, divorced or whatever. It’s what heals you; it’s what prepares you for another day. It doesn’t have to be introspective and soul searching. It just means doing whatever makes you happy. I do a lot of things as me time. I pamper myself either at a spa but mostly i pamper myself with home routine facials and pedicures, go out with friends, laze on the sofa and watch tv, color, make clay jewellery, work on my instagram posts.
Are you ever affected by pangs of 'mom guilt'? If yes, how do you deal with it?
Yes I am affected by pangs of ‘mom guilt’. As terrible as that feeling is, I remind myself that why and for whom I am doing all this for. Then I sit down and try to understand my schedule again and try to make it more effective to accommodate more quality time with my child. Weekends are totally dedicated to family time. On the weekends my ‘me-time’ starts only after she sleeps.
What advice would you have for moms who are navigating the kind of journey you are on?
My only advice is to follow your own path. Do what you feel is right, do what makes you happy, and do what’s right for your child. Be kind to yourself. Say nice things to yourself and appreciate yourself. Don’t look for appreciation elsewhere. it’s a rollercoaster ride, you will have to pick yourself up more often than you thought but it’s OK. You have gotten so far, it will only get better and easier. You are not in competition with anyone but yourself, you have no one to impress but yourself. Cry it out at times, it doesn’t mean your weak, you’re just detoxing.
It takes courage to do what you are doing; courage is not a gift everyone has. Feel special.
All images courtesy Naghma’s Instagram account.
Naghma, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to the Times of Amma family. We are inspired by your positive attitude and wish you and your daughter all the very best.
If you are an Indian single mom or you know an Indian single mom whose journey would inspire others, please get in touch with the the Times Of Amma here. Your story might help guide someone charting similar waters.
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