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And Now A Word From A Single Mother

Julie Masiga is a lawyer turned journalist. Trained law in the UK, worked in a law firm, came back to Kenya in 2000, worked for some NGO working with refugees, resigned, became a freelance writer, wrote for Nation, ended up in DRUM magazine (that’s how we met), in 2009 got appointed editor of MOVE magazine which lasted about three hours on the shelves, (not that ADAM magazine lasted any longer!), before the company – East Africa Magazine – went under. Jobless, she teamed up with some ex EAM staff and formed a publishing company to publish trade magazine, an opportunity to work in Tanzania as a features editor in CITIZEN newspaper knocked on her door, she opened and dragged her bags to TZ.

In 2013 she was back in Kenya (this chick is restless, eh?) and joined The Standard Group where she has weekly columns in the Nairobian and The Standard on Sunday. She is also a Revise Editor for the daily newspaper. (What does a Revise Editor do, Jules? Clean copy?). She holds a certificate in Journalism, from University of Massachusetts (Thank God I don’t have to say this word aloud) and is enrolled in a Master’s in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. (Fine! You have read books!).

Julie has a bee in her bonnet.

Jules, meet The Gang. Gang, this is Jules.

By Julie Masiga.

For a moment, I decided that I would just go home and be pregnant for a few more months…maybe forever. And that was something because I hated being pregnant. There were a few fleeting moments of sanity, but the rest was pure, puke-inducing hell.

I was ready to waddle like a deranged duck for the rest of my natural life because, come on, how was a baby’s big ol’head supposed to exit my hoo-hah without some kind of monumental, irreparable, physical damage. How did these so called ‘doctors’ know I wasn’t going to push out a kidney? Or a lung? How dare they just tell someone to push? Those kinds of general instructions are why countries don’t develop.

In the end, I pushed out far more than I intended. But that’s a story for another day. On second thought, maybe that’s a story that will never be told. Nevertheless, at 6.29pm, on 17 May 2014 – exactly one year ago yesterday – I did eventually uncross my legs (okay so maybe they pried them open), to deliver a 3.2kg baby girl, head, torso, limbs and all. And then I ‘delivered’ a placenta. Yeah, those are the things no one ever tells you about giving birth.

That’s the day I discovered why babies are so cute. If there weren’t so googly-eyed and soft and cuddly, their chances of survival would diminish considerably. Think about it: This little human pushed all your organs out of the way and then planted their backside on your bladder for the better part of nine months. Then they barrelled down your birth canal, and with a camel-like intensity, plunged through a passageway about as wide as the eye of a needle. And then proceeded to poop continuously for the next three months.

Seriously, if kids weren’t so adorable, many of them would be in the jungle somewhere being raised by baboons. That’s just plain honest truth.

But babies do seem to go from glory to glory. As a mother, you graduate from one level of chaos to the next. At month one, your child might as well be your fifth limb because for 23 out of 24 hours in a day, she’s attached to your nipple. At year one, it feels like she has five limbs because she’s here, there and every place, attaching her fingers to anything that moves and rearranging your interiors to suit her 12-month-old decor needs. As a single woman with a child, it can be overwhelming. But motherhood was designed to teach women the true nature of unconditional love and I’m learning my lesson well.

What really gets my goat is the stigma that comes along with being a single mum.

Obviously, before I had a child, I never paid any attention to it. But once I had popped the tot and there still wasn’t a ring on my finger, I began to notice the prejudice and it wasn’t subtle. You would think bigots would have the good sense to hate with some finesse.

So I’m having lunch with a colleague one day, complaining about how busy work is and what bliss it would be like to stay home all day and spend some quality time with the baby.

“Sometimes I wish I could just quit and become a housewife,” I say to her.

Her head snaps up from her battered fish, almost giving herself whiplash. With tartar sauce dribbling from the sides of her mouth he sputters, “But you don’t have a husband!”

My fork pauses in midair, my left hand curling around the steak knife. She had said it with so much force, I felt like I had to defend myself. I wasn’t going to stab her (okay so maybe I was), but obviously my mind immediately switched to defence/fight mode.

It must have been the look on my face, because she followed weakly with, “I mean, at home. You don’t have a husband at home…” As opposed to those women who keep their husbands outside the home? Do some women keep their husbands outside the home? And for some reason, that bizarre marital situation was being thrust upon me whist I was in a canteen.

I hadn’t told this woman anything about my domestic situation, so she must have hopped, skipped, jumped & grabbed onto the gnarled and twisted branches of the grapevine that was her conclusion. To this day, I still don’t know why it bothered her that I didn’t have a husband. Now if she had said, “But you don’t want a husband,” I might have given her a slightly less frigid look, because too many women have husbands they don’t want.

What I had meant to say was ‘I wish I could be a stay-at-home mum’, but I used the wrong turn of phrase and found myself up shit creek with nothing but a fork and knife. Go figure.

On another bright and sunny day, a couple of friends and I were out to lunch, all of us young mothers loving a few hours away from the tots. I truly believe that someone has put a plague on all my lunches. So naturally we were talking about our kids, you know, as women do. Again, the conversation turned to the tricky balance working mums have to strike between work, husbands and kids. I don’t really recall how we came round to the single v. married debate, but pretty quickly one of my friends piped up with, “Ever since I got married, I stay away from my single friends. My husband says hanging out with single women is the fastest way to ruin your marriage.”

This time both my fork and knife were on the table. Sweet Jesus give me strength. And these were friends so it seemed prudent to use words. “Uhmm…so what’s with you married folk and treating single women like lepers?”

I could literally see the wheels trying to turn backwards in their heads. But it was too late; there was no backtracking on that one. But the girls made a valiant attempt.

“Err…uhmm..errm…it’s just like how you can’t talk about kids with a woman who doesn’t have them…she’ll feel left out you know, and that’s not right,” one of them offered. “There’s nothing wrong with single women, it’s just that we don’t really have much in common. They don’t have anyone to answer to,” came another offering.

Both of them were drumming their finger tips on the table top and shifting their eyes from left to right with blinding ferocity, looking like a couple of cops being grilled by a vetting committee.

“Come on guys, just come out with it…you guys are afraid we’re going to snatch your husbands, aren’t you?” I will admit it wasn’t one of my more diplomatic attempts at polite conversation. But I was having fun watching them get hotter and hotter under the collar.

“…no, it’s not that…” they trailed off, leaving me wondering which married woman didn’t start off single. Plus I’ve never understood the ‘snatching husbands’ concept. So you snatch them and then what, they develop Stockholm syndrome? Personally, I don’t get it. Maybe someone can explain this to me in language that my 1 year old can understand.

It’s a skewed reality we live in where marriage is the standard, even though that particular bar has been set so low that we’re trampling it underfoot.

My house help, who’s separated herself and a single mum with four children, frequently entertains me with tales about what the neighbours are doing and with whom. The other day she was regaling me with the tale of the woman in B10, who has two kids from two different fathers, neither of whom live with her. According to her, the woman’s son is so out of control that his mother has been unable to keep a nanny for more than three months. “Afadhali angekuwa na bwana,” she says to me. Sigh.

She who finds a husband finds a good thing. There is no doubt about that. Ask any mzee and he will tell you that a good husband is like an umbrella, protecting his woman from the elements. This is as it should be. So if a woman is walking in the rain uncovered, then there’s probably a good reason for it. And please note, when I say good, I mean it in the sense that it’s not bad. In fact, it’s alright.

153 Responses
  • davis
    19.05.2015

    there is no typical single mother any more than there is a typical mother
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/in-defense-of-single-motherhood.html?_r=0

  • Hellen
    19.05.2015

    awww Julie, I feel you. Such is life. People judge without knowing,cant blame them,until they walk a mile in your shoes..

  • Ken Kao
    19.05.2015

    Interesting read- it gave me some insights on how single Moms are viewed by traditionalists in Kenya.

  • Anthony Mugo
    19.05.2015

    A wonderful piece.

  • Wakimuyu Njeri
    19.05.2015

    Julie you live up to the party images that Biko has painted before the article. I think it’s the way society is, it enjoys taking jabs at people who are different instead of giving credit where credit is due. Raising a child as a single parent is nowhere near an easy task and so is marriage. But some married folk want others to believe that they’re in the the land of milk and honey, while nothing could be further from the truth. They’re both work! We would all love to live up to society’s skewed expectations but along the way life happens and maybe it’s a good thing that it does.

  • Val
    19.05.2015

    A nice and honest piece. I wish you the best in your motherhood journey.

  • catherine wangui
    19.05.2015

    lovely piece. The worst part is the fact that some of those who judge do not even know what it means to raise a child. The person to be judged is the man who walks away from his responsibilities. Single mothers on the other hand require a pat on the back…infact make that two.

  • vicki
    19.05.2015

    Julie Darling,my son is the most precious adorable thing in my life.people and their opinions of my marital status can go to hell and shag the devil.I was born to stand out

    1
    • Wacuka
      19.05.2015

      I love your spirit. Personally, I am not married and no child but I just dnt get how people are so hell bent on judging people who do not have similar marital status. Rarely are the married judged only the single and unfortunately there are very few admirable marriages in this day and age. So kila mtu na maisha yake. Judge is God’s only!

  • sue
    19.05.2015

    It gets a bit irksome being treated like a leper who needs a husband to cure THE disease. So when I’m asked about when/if I plan on getting married (which I never will) my response is…”I knew there was something I was forgetting”.
    That shuts them up!!!!! LOL

    • Ciru
      20.05.2015

      Sue, that’s just brilliant! Please allow me to borrow that phrase as well 🙂

    • Lydiah
      01.06.2015

      Okay sue that literally made me laugh out loud in public. I am sorry but am borrowing your line.

  • Hawi Eliakim
    19.05.2015

    Being a son of a single HARDWORKING mum, I probably understand a little bit
    on how it feels, and sometimes I just want to tell my mum all is well. But Maybe I am too young to do so, Just Maybe….Yes, maybe.

    • nimo
      20.05.2015

      @ Hawi, you should tell her, life is too short and im sure it wilwarm her heart and make her smile…

    • Browneyedgirl
      03.06.2015

      Hawi you absolutely should tell her. It will mean the world to her. You already know it and voice it (here). You’re not too young; you already understand. Go on, tel her.

  • Mariam
    19.05.2015

    “It’s a skewed reality we live in where marriage is the standard, even though that particular bar has been set so low that we’re trampling it underfoot.”How true this statement is..

  • MissDee
    19.05.2015

    If I had a 1000 for each pal I dropped on account of being accused of being a husband snatcher, I would be a rich woman by now. Just to be clear, single mothers make it the same way other mothers do, through hard work and not because there’s a married man supporting her child(ren). The same way a married mother would lay her life on the line for her children, is the same way I break my back for mine only that I need twice the effort since I have to cover “his role” as well. Thanks Julie for saying it. Atleast I won’t have to stab someone today

  • Trudy
    19.05.2015

    Well written, I have the utmost respect for single mothers. Just because you don’t have a husband to be your umbrella doesn’t mean you are not happy. People are single for various reasons. If only society was open-minded and acknowledge this fact.

  • Sarah
    19.05.2015

    “because too many women have husbands they don’t want” haha, got the words right from my mouth, I am not a single mum, but I am single, and you say just want I have been wanting to say for a long time. “Uhmm…so what’s with you married folk and treating single women like lepers?” Oh, the sniggers I have been making as I read this, Thank you Julie!

  • James
    19.05.2015

    Very insightful, keep at it, you don’t owe anyone but your child to be a good parent. You are the anchor, you are the ship.

  • Njeri
    19.05.2015

    i totally relate! i aint a single mum but i am a single, young lady with married and dating friends.most of them avoid me like a plague coz as one had the audacity to tell me,i can steal their men! *rolls eyes!* nobody imagines that a young gal has priorities that do not necessarily start with dating and marriage!….nice meeting you Jules

    • Sto
      19.05.2015

      Njeri, me too!! Me too!! I can relate.

    • Nyar Kabuoch
      19.05.2015

      ..Or the fact that nobody wants your husband and his baggage not to mention the thought of YOU being the mother of my step kids. YIKES!!

  • Kadonye
    19.05.2015

    I enjoyed this piece immensely 🙂 I was raised by a single mom and the greatest woman. I’m in my early twenties; she always gives me honest advice and is my biggest cheerleader. In Shonda’s series ‘Private Practice’ Taye Diggs has a scene where he says he resents the tag ‘single mom’ because it implies that she was something less than what he needed growing up. So how I feel.

    • Dan Wa Kamau
      19.05.2015

      Kudos to your mom and all single moms. They are the epitome of motgwrhiod.

      • Lydia Ngaca
        21.09.2017

        True that….I’m a single Mum, n the stigma u get is worse but I’m happy to have my son n seeing him is Joy. Kudos to Julia u’ve done well.

    • Dan Wa Kamau
      19.05.2015

      Kudos to your mom and all single moms. They are the epitome of motherhood

  • A
    19.05.2015

    I’m on the road to becoming a single mother.
    Not that i sat down and decided that! Someone sat down and decided that my choice for a partner isn’t good enough.
    I may have a ring,but that doesn’t change the fact that i am an unmarried pregnant woman.
    I see the judgement everywhere i walk,the hospital even they look at you like you are unworthy.They get surprised when you show up with someone for the antenatal clinics. They judge without knowing nothing. That’s the society we are living in. We judge those who are different from us.
    I feel you Julie.

  • Susan
    19.05.2015

    Julie…you nailed it! Married women judge not, for more than half of married women fell out of love long long ago.

    • Dan Wa Kamau
      19.05.2015

      Married women judge and yet more than half of them are living an empty life. Single mothers, I take off my hat to you all.

  • Maureen
    19.05.2015

    you dont have to be a wife to be a good mother…you do right by your child. its the only thing that matters when all is said and done

  • Regi
    19.05.2015

    Nice work Julie… I empathise kabisa.

    It is interesting to note that most comments are from ladies… hmmmmm… where is the male expression of the gang… kwani mnaogopa kuongea??? hehehehe…

    • Ali
      20.05.2015

      We are here, we however know and understand where we have let these women down. So we are bowing our heads and shutting up

      • caroline
        20.05.2015

        What an honest answer Ali

      • Bitu
        22.05.2015

        Hehe, I like your honesty Ali….wish all men are doing the same..’bowing their heads and shutting up’

  • Holly
    19.05.2015

    I relate to this. Just wish many would. Hey Biko, I learnt from you, the importance of crediting images used in a post. But I’ve noticed the lack of that lately, have you been illustrating your own images? They are unique by the way.

    • muzo90
      21.05.2015

      @holly looks like biko has tammz doing his images as art practice…i like how quirky they look.

  • patrick
    19.05.2015

    Single mums are always the strongest of them all. They understand the full gravity of raising a child single handedly. I humbled by their effort.

  • Wambui
    19.05.2015

    I feel you Julie. I have gotten used to strange looks from other parents when I take my son to school,in church and in other social gatherings.I have lost count of the number of friends who don’t want to associate with me now that they are married but such is life :). Oh and the most annoying one for me is relatives who expect you to attend their shindigs because they told your parents. No regard whatsoever for the fact that I am an independent individual and the reason is…wait for it, there is no man in my home.

  • Jemimah
    19.05.2015

    ‘You would think bigots would have the good sense to hate with some finesse.’ Tell them, especially those ‘happily’ married ones.

  • Francis
    19.05.2015

    Mothers are a physical representation of God’s love on earth…single or not.

  • Gathoni
    19.05.2015

    The decision to have a child was your own; don’t expect society to approve or disapprove. Don’t pay attention if they do or they don’t. If your married friend doesn’t want you around her husband, it is because she doesn’t trust him not you. Smile and feel sorry for her.

    • Risper
      19.05.2015

      Thank you Gathoni, took the words right out of my mouth. I have too short a life to live to care-or-not about what you think about my life.

      • Gathoni
        20.05.2015

        Jules, just a reminder- you are Biko’s sister in another life :-D. Amusing and oh so touchy piece. stuff that I usually immerse myself in when sanity threatens to take an off hehee. .. Great style.

        • Gathoni Githinji
          20.05.2015

          Oh dear! That was meant as ‘just another comment’ and not a reply to the previous two and no, this is a different Gathoni from the above #kindagreenonremovingwronglhereyplacedcomments 🙁

  • Ike
    19.05.2015

    I relate to this well,nice piece

  • abdullah omar
    19.05.2015

    well go one step better like your house help sow one more brat for company and nosy neighbours will keep their counsel to know their
    opinions do not fashion your life

  • Timon
    19.05.2015

    nice read,hope the fork will always be used for its intended purpose..

    1
  • abdullah omar
    19.05.2015

    it takes two tango.what did not come out clear from Julie is this bundle of joy was it left for her to hold as the partner walked away?

    • Julie
      22.05.2015

      Abdullah…we disagreed on a few fundamentals, so
      we “consciously uncoupled”. We’re not estranged,
      just not married.

  • possible single mum
    19.05.2015

    Not to sound like a feminist, but aren’t all mothers to an extent single mums?men rarely participate in raising their children..mostly just financially.no wonder most children openly value their mothers most..But the world will always be judgmental regardless.so if you are a single mum..hang in their your married friends are probably just jealous..hehehehe.

    • paul karingithi
      19.05.2015

      Not really, some of us husbands and dads are very involved in our children’s lives. I am committed in raising my 3 boys and being super involved in their lives. Maybe I’m in the minority grouping of fathers and husbands. Good article, Julie

  • Ceri
    19.05.2015

    Hi Julie. Firstly I commmend you for surviving being a mum for 1 yr.
    Its crazy right. Fisrt this thing is growing in you then she comes out
    and is dependent entirly on you. And you made it and more importantly
    on your own. Tell those funny women to eat that.lol. I’m married with two kids and
    I have the utmost respect for single mum’s coz you guys are hardcore.
    My best friend is a single mum and her stories are hilarious. How mother’s have
    no problem talking to her at kindergarten or school. But when they find out she
    is single its like she has the plege. Their kids can come over for play dates but
    she is not allowed to go to their homes. Like never ever. One even told her to her face she
    just can’t have her in her house. My husband is also a good friend of hers
    and ofcourse she uses him to do man stuff she’s not interested in doing and they
    may have to go to the store to get paint or pick tiles or whatever.
    Ofcourse I don’t accompany them. When she tells one of her friends she
    went with him alone, the woman couldn’t believe it. Like “she let you be alone with her husband??”
    Its hilarious. It’s sad you are being put into a glass box but you know
    what, the great thing is you don’t have to give a shit. You are who you are and people
    have to accept it. That’s how my friend is and she is the most amazing person I know.
    Keep doing you coz your doing more then great 🙂

    • Risper
      19.05.2015

      Ceri, Ishi milele

      • Njoki Getata
        19.05.2015

        These married women are such hypocrites. And most of their kids are more messed up than the kids from single moms. Why have a nuclear home and the children rarely spend time with their fathers, coz he’s out with his various clandes spending school fees or clothing money. The children from single parents are primarily the achievers in school, academically and in the extra curriculum field with confidence that one cannot deliberate.

        • Kenyonyoozi
          20.05.2015

          Ati married women are hypocrites? ? Thats a generalization really. All mothers whether married or single should be hailed. And kids turn out the way they do irrespective of if their parents are together or not..

        • Mace
          23.05.2015

          Not ALL married women are hypocrites, just like not ALL men are dogs. A child’s character is dependent on how the parent(s) bring him up and is not dependent on their marital status. I know children of single parents who have failed in life, just as I know children of married parents who are the same. There is no recipe out there for great parenting or a success manual. It would be very unfair to lump people together like that.

        • Browneyedgirl
          03.06.2015

          Not all married women are irresponsible or horrible or hypocrites. Im a proudly married woman with lots of single friends; some with children, some without. My sister is a single mother. I have an aunties who were single mothers. Long story short – leave out the generalisation on ‘these married women’

    • Wakimuyu Njeri
      19.05.2015

      Haha this is so on point.

    • Cowboy Makara
      20.05.2015

      Too true, people close doors for my pal too n I know it hurts her But she is strong. Thanks for bringing this up.

  • Brenda
    19.05.2015

    The thought that someone can choose to stay single and not feel obligated to find a man and marry is so scary that we would rather universalize our opinions and decide that all who do not get married have big “un-marriable” problems.

  • rossette
    19.05.2015

    We are indeed lepers! Everytime i talk about having a child they(all of my married girlfriends) do actually say I will not be welcome around them. It will be odd especially if i don’t have a husband. I need to start shopping for new friends.

  • jacob aliet
    19.05.2015

    Nice article. Let us know when she writes the one about what happened to the dad.

    • were
      19.05.2015

      Hey! Hey!

    • Julie
      22.05.2015

      Nothing happened to him Jacob. He’s in good health, gainfully employed etc.

      • Kamau Irungu
        10.06.2015

        I was brought up by a single mum, so I have no idea whats the difference between a married woman and a single one….except the fact our friend kept singing about their dads.

  • Njoki Getata
    19.05.2015

    ‘So if a woman is walking in the rain uncovered, then there’s probably a good reason for it. And please note, when I say good. I mean it in the sense that it’s not bad. In fact, it’s alright.’ Julie, your piece is timely in every sense of the word. Snatching husbands…is the new term for being oblivious of the situation and trying to blame someone for their loose husbands who pick any woman with a skirt. Single mothers are astonishing.

  • Richard Kageni
    19.05.2015

    Julie Masiga, these women act in ignorance of basic insight. They should be worried about their married friends. Since it’s a fact now that they are lately their own worst enemies. Married women are more promiscuous and mucky than singles. I can take that to the bank everyday.

  • mouryne
    19.05.2015

    Huh…..so skewed a reality and very insightful a piece. Haha ” …..husband’s they don’t want…” hopefully the society learns to appreciate the effort of singles mama’s rather than blind judging them so harshly…all the best in motherhood

  • Eve
    19.05.2015

    Whether single or married every normal mother will take a bullet for their child. Julie, I feel you. A big shame on those who judge with no basis. All mothers who work so hard to ensure that their children never lack for nothing, keep up the good work. I am proud of you all.

  • Mimmar
    19.05.2015

    God bless u mama

  • Clive
    19.05.2015

    Dear Ms. Masiga,

    Pole for your tribulations. Gathoni’s and Ceri’s advice are gems of brilliance. Words of wisdom.

    I read somewhere that bigotry is the choice tool for the ignorant, for its easier to demonise what you don’t understand than to seek full enlightment on it.

    Congratulations on the 1st birthday. We don’t for one second think it’s been an easy 367 days. And the future’s no piece of cake either!! Brace yourself…

    And belated happy birthday to your little gal. May she grow knowing that her marital status shall never define her.

    Finally, GREAT PIECE!! Start a blog and you might just take home the t-shirt, hangman’s noose, scribbling pad and mulika mwizi next year (and be grateful about it)

  • peter
    19.05.2015

    ati those kind of general directions is why countries don’t develop. Nice reading

  • Achieng'
    19.05.2015

    Am a single mom of two salient girls and I take pride in providing, educating and protecting my daughters’ interest. You are on the right track Julie. You’re doing good by every standard. Props to all the single moms!!!

  • esther
    19.05.2015

    most single women are far off better than married ones…progress wise..Aint easy though but make it or break it. they make it. cheers to all single women and anyone raised by a single mum.. she stood in the gap perfectly

    • Helen
      20.05.2015

      This is so true. And majority of them are insecure and lonely if not miserable.

  • Nzilani
    19.05.2015

    I totally relate. Great stuff!

  • Eddie
    19.05.2015

    Julie, your writing skills are to die for, giving Biko a run for his money. Lovely piece, i can totally relate. But then again those are the kind of women who are so insecure. If i had such a friend, i would so trade them for a dollar.

  • David Seso
    19.05.2015

    I will and have and will always respect single parents especially mothers. They will survive any turmoil, move mountains for their children. Single mothers are the most remarkable beings in my books. They beat all women in every level in my eyes.

  • hazelberrg
    19.05.2015

    excellent Julie….single mums are great. its about time society realised that

  • Achieng'
    19.05.2015

    I know exactly what you must be feeling Julie. My own parents and some of my siblings treat me like a leper because am heavy with a child and unmarried. As long as you are happy with yourself, then you should be okay. Motherhood is the highest and most sacred responsibility assumed by humans. We don’t need anyone’s validation or completion. We are enough!!

    • Keletso
      22.05.2015

      Achieng they only treat you like that because they don’t want to seem accepting of something society has always looked upon with shame; Single motherhood. Trust me when that beautiful baby is born everything changes. The googley-eyed prince and princess will steal their hearts and I hope you will be able to forgive them. For love begets love. I wish you a safe delivery.

    • Browneyedgirl
      03.06.2015

      Im sorry to hear that Achieng and pray that they will come round to accepting you and your baby (they will). When my sister got pregnant at 19, my father did not talk to her for the duration of the pregnancy and after. it took his 1 year old grand daughter haranguing him, going up to him to say hello and offer him a piece of her (very messy) food with only the innocence that a little angel can muster for him to accept her. Subsequently, he became her biggest fan, accepting her and loving her s only a grandfather can. Hang in there. it will be well.

    • Mumbi
      01.09.2015

      I couldn’t possibly agree with you more Achieng’. We don’t need anyone’s validation or completion. I’m a mom to a four-month old little lady and I go through life with a sense of entitlement, I’m a mother, married or unmarried, it doesn’t matter, I am a mother.

  • Max
    20.05.2015

    Clearly some married mothers have issues with the single mothers and from all the comments, the single mothers have issues with the married ones. Personally, I have an issue with single parents by choice not circumstance. I feel it is selfish.

  • Brenda
    20.05.2015

    Is it just me or do some single mums just love to play the victims? For a minute one could think she was just walking along innocently and suddenly caught this virus called ‘pregnancy. ‘ Basic science has it that when a man and a woman have carnal relations without protection, chances are high that woman may conceive. And apart from cases of rape, we women normally call the shots here. Yes, we decide if a guy will get down with us or not. I want to think if you a) are not married to this guy, b) have doubts about his character, then sleeping with him without protection is a NO NO! If you made that decision to conceive, I also want to believe you knew exactly what you are getting yourself into. So then, one wonders why Deadbeat Kenya ever came up in the first place …
    Kenyan social media and some blogs are awash with these single women (some mothers) Vs married women debates, where you find statements like, ” married women are hypocrites, they are jealous (ha!). These, I find pretty absurd. Where I come from (Uganda), there are less single mothers than here. That doesnt mean they dont exist. They do, only difference is they are not shouting about it from the rooftops. They accept their situation with grace and society embraces them without so much judging. So now imagine my bewilderment getting married to a Kenyan, moving to Nairobi to find this cacophony of single vs married mothers hogwash.
    “Dont think you are lucky because you have a ring. Kenyan men are naturally not monogamous!” a colleague from work once told me. To date, I dont know what prompted this statement. However, one thing am sure of, is the fact that it is all uncalled for. Whether single or married, we all have struggles. I respect single mothers. I just have issues with some who fly at married women, making all these bitter generalizations.

    • abdullah omar
      20.05.2015

      see the question I posed to Julie

      • Brenda
        20.05.2015

        I have seen it Omar. Atleast someone agrees with me…

    • Kadonye
      21.05.2015

      I feel you were remiss in you little ‘basic science’ rant at the beginning of the comment. It was terribly condescending. That said, I too would like to believe that all adults know a home with two present and loving parents is the ideal; however, disregarding ‘alternative homes’ that come about via choice or circumstance is narrow minded and so is putting them down. Is it not this writer’s (and other single mom’s) experience of being judged by married persons and the rest of society?

      • Helen
        21.05.2015

        @Kadonye, well said, you took the words right out of my mouth.

      • Brenda
        21.05.2015

        My basic science ‘rant’ stings because its the truth. What do they say about the truth again? It is bitter … I dont disregard “alternative ” homes that come about by circumstance, it would take another kind of crazy for me to disregard one brought about by death of a spouse or rape. It is why I use “some” in my comment. However the ones brought about by choice? ? I wish ladies could get their heads out of the sand, atleast long enough to acknowledge this ‘single mother by choice ‘ affair is just downright selfish!

        • Irene
          27.05.2015

          Brenda,as you stand by ranting about her piece, Julie is raising her child and enjoying the experience. Enjoy your “society acceptable ” status and we shall continue to enjoy our single mother by choice status.To each their own, i say!!

    • Liz
      21.05.2015

      This comment is very judgemental! That ‘basic science ‘ bit is really pushing it. And, maybe if u remained in Uganda, one single Kenyan woman would be married …

      • Brenda
        21.05.2015

        haha.. thats hilarious! Liz, theres no need to take aim at me, maybe he just didnt want a Kenyan wife… hehe

    • MissDee
      21.05.2015

      Brenda basic science according to you is that single mothers are borne out of poor sexual choices? What about the one whose husband died? Or failed contraception? Or one who adopted a child? Or a sibling raising her younger siblings? Or those who walked out of abusive relationships? Condescending much?

      • Brenda
        21.05.2015

        Miss Dee, I didn’t make that comment in abstract ; the word ‘some’ is used with good reason.

    • Julie
      22.05.2015

      Brenda, you miss the point completely. I’m actually
      baffled by your response. Anyhow, suffice it to say,
      I’m not bitter. In fact, I’m forever indebted to basic
      science for the miracle of conception.
      I’m not complaining. I’m speaking up. There’s a
      difference.

      • Brenda
        22.05.2015

        Ha… Clearly, I sort of poked the bear here, didn’t I? Well ladies, lets not make bones about this. Given the sensitive nature of this topic, we can go on about it ad nauseam. But for starters, I’m not totally expunged of a soul. I know single motherhood is tough and feel for those handling it- by circumstance. That my comment rubbed some the way is quite certain. However, Juliet, such is the nature of writing. Not everyone will hold similar views. You wrote, we read, we voiced our opinions. For some, the article is abit whiny while for others, it is absolutely on point. Lets just say I am more for the former.

    • Lorna
      02.09.2015

      @ Brenda, looks like your experiences are black and white… When one day you ever experience shades of grey(God forbid) then you will understand where Jules is coming from

  • NyaK'achieny
    20.05.2015

    As a son of a single mother and planning to get married soon. I just have a question for Julie and the gang.
    Could this article have been complete without taking a swipe at marriage and married moms?
    Loved the article still. It’s a long overdue conversation.

  • abdullah omar
    20.05.2015

    we are teary of single moms isn’t it time we think of single dads or must there be a biko to drag him to the stage?

    • Njeri
      20.05.2015

      i have always wanted to hear the story of a single dad.i schooled with someone raised by a single dad n he plus his 2 siblings turned out just fine…..i wish i could hear from a single dad’s perspective

  • Ciku
    20.05.2015

    Only our kids qualify us to be mothers…. not our husbands. & on a lighter note, we spend an equal amount clutching our steak knife wondering if 1st responders will believe they accidentally fell on the fork 🙂

  • Ciku
    20.05.2015

    Only our kids qualify us to be mothers…. not our husbands. & on a lighter note, we spend an equal amount of time clutching our steak knife wondering if 1st responders will believe they accidentally fell on the fork 🙂

  • Julie
    20.05.2015

    Brenda, I think you may be guilty of making a few generalizations yourself 🙂

    • Brenda
      21.05.2015

      Really? How pray tell…?

  • John Nasaye
    20.05.2015

    Julie, can I take you out for coffee?

    • gladys
      21.05.2015

      he he he John…

    • Akinyi
      10.06.2015

      Hi cuz….hope Julie says yes

  • Pastor Wa
    20.05.2015

    Good writing. Subtle humor. Hot topic. Not sure if how Jules handles it wins over those who genuinely consider choosing single motherhood as a means to satisfy a maternal urge regardless of it’s impact on the child

  • Isaac Befry
    20.05.2015

    Some deep stuff right there he he, talk of women with feelings

  • D
    20.05.2015

    Everyone struggles and everyone is judged. Married or unmarried, mother or childless. Skinny or plus sized. I find this article whiny and pointless. Is she expecting some sort of award for being a single mom? Being any kind of mom is a thankless job. If your friends don’t like or respect you and if they mistrust you, they are not your friends. Find real friends, don’t whine about it. Coz now it looks like you don’t have a hubby and you don’t have friends, and if no one can stand you, maybe you’re the problem.

    • mihas
      21.05.2015

      🙂 This side of the coin though!

  • Rheeyah
    21.05.2015

    Julie you are such a beautiful soul!

  • mihas
    21.05.2015

    When will women stop defining themselves using men? Single, married, divorced, separated ! It does not matter, what matters is what you have achieved as a woman. Your contribution to society, some married women know very well that they are “single in marriage”, the man is just a figure and does not add any value to your life and you still want to judge single mothers? Big up to all single mums out there including my mum, walk tall. You are doing the job of two and doing it well. Whether by choice or circumstances, single mothers are parents too.

    1
    • Njoki Getata
      21.05.2015

      ‘Single in marriage’…very very true. And I know over a dozen of those. Want to stay married to feel and look complete. How sad.

      1
  • faceless piranha
    21.05.2015

    Oh, no! Not another single women vs married women article. I wish you would have addressed the topic of singe motherhood without putting married women down, otherwise, you are just as guilty of the prejudices you are trying to argue against.

    What would be fresh would be reading an article by a deadbeat Dad.

  • flo
    21.05.2015

    It’s all in your mind honey, no body judges you for not having a man but yourself. After reading the article am convinced it’s not what was said,but what was understood – and guess who’s responsible for that? Yep that’s right. You…. All in the mind.

    • Nelly Maluki
      22.05.2015

      Mums should mentor mums. Talking about husbands I agree gets a single mum into defense mode

    • Julie
      22.05.2015

      Flo…you give my mind more credit than it deserves.

  • gladys
    21.05.2015

    There just so many shades to this single mom thing so Jules attempted to address one angle. Its amazing that such stigma still exists.

    1
  • Njoki
    21.05.2015

    This article below your standards Biko. When we log into your blog, I know it’s free and a choice, but surely we should not be met with personal experiences and people bashing! By now we are mature to be living our lives for our selves not for others! Kids or none, husbands or none, wives or none, life goes on. Guest writers are welcome but please keep your high standards or you will loose some of us.

    • Tina Mueke
      25.05.2015

      Njoki you have a point there. I come to this blog sparingly and with time will just stop. The blog lost the plot early in the year and he seems to be struggling to get it back together.

      • Winnie Chari
        25.05.2015

        I thought am the only one who made this observation. There was a post that mentioned ‘red bra and call me when your pees are over’, that was distasteful to me but hilarious to many. Smh. Well different standards for different people.

      • Mercy Resiato
        25.05.2015

        Spoken for the voiceless.Everything has an expiry date, everything. Thanks Tina.

    • Tinah
      26.05.2015

      There are many blogs out there in fashion, food, travel, if you are tired of this blog just walk away and find something else to read, don’t keep coming here to complain how it has lost the plot.

      • Richard Kageni
        26.05.2015

        @Tinah grow up. Are you now the voice of reason for Biko? Let people have a say without you getting emotional. Kwani Biko has paid you to be his watch dog? There are many people who just don’t read him coz they are not connected to him, if they were to say something would you respond to all? You’re a joke.

        • elaemama
          27.05.2015

          There is no like button?

  • Julie
    21.05.2015

    Wowzer. I’m truly overwhelmed by all the comments. Thank you!
    I appreciate the feedback – both negative and positive.
    Thanks for having me Biko. It’s been real 🙂

    • bikozulu
      26.05.2015

      Thanks, Jules. Come again.

    • Irene
      27.05.2015

      Keep on sister! i can’t wait for your next piece…

    • Loved it Jules..you have written well.

  • utu
    24.05.2015

    Brilliant article Jules. Embrace divergence and refer to a quote by Marianne Williamson on Our deepest fear.

    • Njoki
      25.05.2015

      Nice piece Julie. Society will always judge u no matter what u do or don’t do. Congratulations on being a mum for the last one year. God bless u and ur family. Kudos to all the single mums out there. Ignorance is bliss to some humans, let them be.

  • Njoki
    25.05.2015

    Nice piece Julie. Society will always judge u no matter what u do or don’t do. Congratulations on being a mum for the last one year. God bless u and ur family. Kudos to all the single mums put there. Ignorance is bliss to some humans, let them be.

  • Angela
    26.05.2015

    Good read Julie. Unfortunately, the society judges single women so harshly, as if it’s not enough raising kids alone. Why would anyone assume that there has to be a ‘man ‘ taking care of the bills? can’t I work and make myown money? And why would anyone think you are after anyone’s husband? Another luggage, really? Unfortunately it’s the women who judge more and true to say that we are our own enemies.

  • McKute
    27.05.2015

    Single women/mothers judge married women/mothers. And vice versa. It never ends. Right from the medieval times when the Virgin Queen (Elizabeth) took the English throne, setting a precedent. Would an unmarried, childless Queen rule over England?? Never mind her era became England’s Golden Age.
    So, what’s the point of all the debate? Methinks it’s a non-issue unworthy of further discussion. Being married or single is largely by choice; hardly ever by accident or circumstance, and each has its pros and cons. If you ask me, neither situation is better than the other in all aspects!

    Women, simply borrow from us men. Being single or hitched just isn’t a matter to sit down and discuss amongst ourselves. If anything, we utterly disregard, or brush it off and talk about ‘more important’ things. That ka-plot to buy. Soccer. Politic(ian)s…

    1
  • Irene
    27.05.2015

    Jules,that was an awesome piece. Biko,thank you for inviting her to college. As a single mum for a while, i do know what she’s talking about. The assumptions that people quickly make about what your life must be like and how you came to be a single mum. As long as you aren’t paying my bills your opinions don’t matter to me! Next!!

  • Daisy Ogola
    31.05.2015

    A husband may not be crucial to a wife,but a father is as crucial to a child as a mother is.

    1
  • Wangechi
    04.06.2015

    If you are happily married it would not matter if the other woman is single so long as they are happy too.Genuine happy people are happy for others.
    It is people who find out that marriage does not always equate happiness who hate on those who find it without. Julie I applaud you and all single mums.

    1
  • Size 10
    04.06.2015

    I have learned a new word, hoo-ha lol!!! My day is made!!

  • minnie
    09.06.2015

    …..motherhood was designed to teach women the true nature of unconditional love…” love that

  • Akinyi
    10.06.2015

    Am a young married lady,good looks n all.my friend huz 10years older than me,told me Shez only comfortable with me cz my hubby is alive (cz am not single)the moment I become single for whatever reason,she wouldn’t be insecure with my visits..hehe

    Many married women fell outta love kitambo.N many more live with husbands they don’t want.Av seen fellow married women go thru hell in those homes.

    Single mothers,hold ua heads high,motherhood many at times is more fulfilling than marriage.I can almost swear that. Kudos to y’all, all the best.

    1
    • Akinyi
      10.06.2015

      She would b insecure**

  • Lorna
    10.06.2015

    Jules, thanks for putting the truth out there. Yes, we single parents are judged left right and center… quoting your words “So if a woman is walking in the rain uncovered, then there’s probably a good reason for it”

  • ‘ As a single woman with a child, it can be overwhelming’ …you haven’t quite done overwhelming till you’re a single mum in Europe..it’s indescribably much..you take one day at a time, but promise yourself that one child is enough, though sometime far away in the past while growing up, you named and planned to have five children..

  • I know the pressure nevertheless, hanging around married folks, some visibly judgemental especially back home…here we have a good number of folks divorced or separated, so having a hubby or not is not such an issue as it is back home. Growing up I observed my female relatives hanging on to marriages despite being battered either physically with blows and abuse or emotionally by men marrying more women out there or going on with concubines and mistresses, but their women stayed on for the dread and fear of being labeled..”divorcee” …imagine that.

    1
  • Elizabeth Mwiti
    13.08.2015

    Excellent piece Julie! Quite the rib-cracker! Welcome to single mum’s club!!! It rocks! Fair share of challenges, but so does everything else in life. Spice to the meal.

    1
  • Flawah
    08.09.2015

    Am a sigle mum and i understand you…. single-mum’s club rocks!! and its not we choose it that way(not most of us atleast)but when life gives you lemon, make a lemonade and busk in the sun…. Like you said there is a pretty good reason why!!!! Cheers to us all who do double-shift (mum and dad)… 🙂

  • Jesse
    01.01.2016

    Interesting piece

  • Shiko
    04.05.2016

    Aaww!Julie sweetheart,I had missed your writing.This is so on point,loved every line.

  • Jepkemoi
    07.05.2016

    And I will just wish a happy mothers day to all mothers. Being a single mother doesn’t make you a lesser being. You are special. Thanks Julie for the nice piece

  • Moni
    16.09.2016

    Ha! good read. Marriage is simply not a one size fits all arrangement. My DNA strand must have ran out before the ‘need to be yoked to someone dude’ was attached, and its okay. Thanks Julie!

    1

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