Hula-hoops, dolls, kitchen sets, kumon classes...this is my reality. It was my reality when my son was born 2 and 1/2 years back but I never knew I would have to do it all alone.
Well OK I kinda knew. My ex wasn't exactly the responsible dad variety. But good lord it is overwhelming. And living in India doesn't make it any easier. There are no Divorce Anonymous or Single Parents Together support groups. My friends and family, god bless them, have been great but few people understand what getting divorced and being a single parent means unless they go through it.
Then of course there is the omnipresent 'Society' in India. I'm 30, divorced and birther of a male child. Whatever do I want now? My life is complete. "Beta, ab toh tumhara bacha hi sab kuch hai, uske sahare zindagi bita do". I don't need to work, I shouldn't socialise and God Forbid I might want another MAN! Now my life should be just about my son, his happiness, bringing him up.
What when he's grown up? What when he has his own friends, his life, college, partners? Should I then clutch on to him for dear life and be the quintessential over-bearing Indian Mother? Have his partner hate me? Have a child who wants to be rid of me but can't say so?
So I choose to take another path. To be ME. To struggle professionally and make my way, as a freelance writer/photographer or whatever else comes my way. I choose to socialise, with my lovely friends and others I may meet. I choose to raise my standards and wait for another man. One who can take on the challenge of a strong, independent woman. Who can love me for me, look beyond my acne-d skin and my body weight.
My son is the center of my universe, my life. And today all my decisions revolve around him. But one day they won't. And I will be happier that he was the most important part of my life, but still a part. There are other parts which will be mine, always, even when he is no longer my little boy.
And to "Society"...with all due respect, Screw You! You can no longer make me feel guilty for enjoying myself, for acknowledging that sometimes I resent my son for all that he demands from me even though it never overshadows the love, for wanting a partner even though you think I never need to have sex again, and for being me. Imperfect, troubled, hopeful, ambitious...so many things at the same time.
I am a single mother. But I am also a woman.