Written by Mariem ELTagoury
We’ve seen the words “single mother” become popularized recently with the wave of women desiring or having children outside of marriage. However, as critics unleash their wrath against the term and the conservative vex against the audacity of times, one begs a pause to ask what is the actual meaning of this foreign term?!
A single mother is a mother who has a dependent child or dependent children whom she raises single-handedly without support.
Wouldn’t that make a clear majority of our society single mothers?
Thinking about all the widows, the divorcees, and the ones who had to do it all by themselves under the disguise of a supposed marriage, some of today’s adults who were raised by amazing single mothers feel that the “new” definition of the term in our society is wrong, misleading, and unrelated to reality.
Hence, to honor all those bold, remarkable mothers out there who fared it through every weather for the wellbeing of their children, we’ve decided to share with you the stories of real Egyptian single mothers.
Amany – The Unwavering
At the age of 27, her husband passed away; her child was only 9 months old. She always had to face her daughter’s questions about why other girls had a father while she did not. She had to be a solid mother and father figure. When society would ask her about remarrying, she had a simple answer: she had her daughter and that was all she needed. She couldn’t risk someone mistreating her in anyway.
She became her daughter’s best friend, her confidant, and shoulder to cry on. At one point when her daughter was going through a rough patch, she went out and got her a small diamond flower necklace, and as she gave it to her, she said, “you are my flower, but you’re not fragile. You’re my diamond and no one can ever break you.”
Her daughter: “Every child of a single parent fantasizes about having a normal family. It used to get heavy on my heart thinking that I don’t have a father to give me away on my wedding day, for example… I’m proud of the lengths she had to cross to bring me up the way I am now.”
Sonia – Mother of Men
She discovered that her husband could not be a responsible father – or person, for that matter – after she had her two children. She decided not to ask for a divorce immediately, but to wait till the boys were in their teenage years, sixteen and fourteen. She asked for their consent for the divorce, which they both gave. Afterwards, she had to leave her job, which meant a financial challenge while raising the two boys, as her husband had totally abandoned her financially after the divorce.
After a while, she met someone who was willing to fund her and her children, and who welcomed the idea of all four of them living under the same roof. She had finally found a good man. She asked her boys, and, once again, they supported her decision. She taught them to come out of strife stronger and wiser, to appreciate family gatherings and think carefully when choosing a life partner.
In spite of her worries, she taught her sons that every problem could be solved with a proper discussion. She never used anger or punishment. Once, when her son used foul language in the form of a song, she calmly sat him down and asked him where he’d heard such language, and explained to him that it was indecent vocabulary. She taught her sons that there is always be a bright side to things. Everyone just has to work hard to find it.
Her son: “I’m so proud of my mother and always take after her words. She taught me and my brother how to be real men.”
Nany – The Strong-willed
She was only 16 at the time; the same year she had her first baby. She’d have three more in the following years. Her husband would later become an absent, alcoholic father. When she couldn’t take it any longer, she left, only to find her heart leading her back to her mistreated children.
Years later, her husband would go to prison for two years. Never to rejoin her until his death, seven years later. Through it all, she stayed steadfast trying to support her children as best as she could. Her children might have felt different than the others who had both parents in their lives, but she had won their respect for giving up her life for them. She became her children’s comfort and safe haven. During the long winter nights, they’d snuggle up together in bed drinking hot cocoa and watching movies.
Her daughter: “I’m proud of my mother because it was harder on her, and she still tried and put her kids before herself.”
Abeer – The Child at Heart
They were good people with two daughters who had lost communication. She asked for a divorce, which was granted. He left the country, never to be heard of for a long time.
She and her daughters became closer. In spite of their young age, they didn’t want to be a burden; they wanted to be good kids, and she wanted to have more fun with them. She wanted her daughters to know that they were princesses in her eyes, to learn to never settle for something they don’t want to, to not let people talk them down because they were girls, and to know that if they have an education, they can achieve whatever they want. When she found her eldest pining for a father, she wrote letters addressed to her pretending they were from him. Whenever there was a disappointment in their lives, she’d handle it with grace, a smile full of tender love, and a few childish jokes. After all, everything could be solved with a morning dance before school.
Her daughter: “She kept our admiration and respect because she worked on fixing whatever mistake she did. The fact that a person sticks around, is responsible, keeps learning and improving to reach her goal (raising her kids) is what makes her worthy of respect.”
The things all these mothers have in common would be bravery and proud children. They all deserve a trophy for all they put up with over the years. So, on behalf of Cairo Contra, we wish these heroines, and all mothers, a happy Mother’s Day.