I promised to write a story or two about not me.
A while ago when I joined #koikoiug I met Maria out of the million things that are really great about her, I noticed that she talks a lot about her son, (you know that thing mum’s do where they can’t shut up about their kids?) I followed closely and with every ‘ Elijah (that’s her Son’s name) anecdote I could tell there was a story.
I am still working on my story telling skills but when Uganda Blogging Community challenged me with #HerTale, it felt like a great opportunity to ask her to guest blog.
The plan was to get her words and write her story, but I don’t want anything getting lost in transition.
Warning: It will get you all emotional but more importantly she will inspire you and remind you that the reason it’s important to celebrate Women’s Day is so that, women like her can catch up on much needed sleep .
So here goes #HerTale
My legal name is Matama Mary Milly Maganda but my friends and family call me Maria. I am a 29 year old mother of an eight year old boy. I am currently working as a treasury accountant. I love life. I love to travel. I love to party and make merry. I have been referred to as a senior life eater, the life of the party and stuff like that. You will also hear that I debit credit and take a pint. I like meeting new people and having intelligent conversations. I try not to judge anyone because we all have our struggles.
I have also been described as a friend, loyal, straight talker, reliable, level headed, tough mum and bully among others.
I will limit my tale to motherhood especially. Because of motherhood and everything I have had to go through, I keep saying I am that 29 year old with the life experience of a 50 year old.
Growing up, I had the ideal girl’s plan for myself. Go to school, graduate, find a job, a husband and get married in that order. All this went well until I became pregnant in 2008 before I graduated. I would go ahead to graduate in Jan 2009 and have a baby in March the same year. Lady luck was smiling at me because I was gainfully employed by then.
Both the father and I were clueless about this parenting thing because anyway, isn’t it learned on the job? We were fine until he came home one day and said we were too young to commit to each other. I asked what plan he had in mind and he said we should go our separate ways. I was more shocked than hurt but I wasn’t about to force someone to stay with me. I gave him a month to be sure of his decision to think and rethink it. When I asked again after a month, he still felt the same way so I moved. I found a house, a help and moved with my 6 month old son. That’s how this single mother was born.
I don’t know how to exactly breakdown this single motherhood puzzles; but I know that it is tough, challenging, frustrating, annoying, draining…
To put it into perspective, a story should be told. So when I moved, Elijah’s dad said he would send me upkeep every month, guess how much? UGX 100,000 for an auditor in one of the big 4 audit firms. That’s just a mockery. He decided if I wouldn’t take it, he’d still be okay because someone was taking care of his son. That is when I knew I was on my own and purposed to make it work at whatever cost. There was a time Elijah fell really sick and got admitted at St. Catherine Hospital so I contacted the family just in case of any eventualities. This man came and sat around for like an hour with a Splash and left UGX 10,000. Now this is a time when you’re stuck with a toddler on drip. You just need someone to help you around. Hold his hand in position as you fix a cup of tea or maybe go take a shower. Doing it alone is very depressing along with other words English doesnt capture quite as well.That is why I say a single mother’s best friend is the help and the ‘boda’ guy.
I am grateful for the friends and family that have stood by me through it all. You always need the extra hand.
I am not one to throw pity parties. I am one to make lemonade from all lemons life throws at me.
Motherhood has taught me to put someone else and their needs before my own. It is like living your life with your heart outside your body. I have learnt to sacrifice. If it were up to me, I would never let my boy go see the dad because of everything that has happened. But I know that he needs his father and he doesn’t know what I know about him. So thrice a year, I will let him go spend two weeks with him. It pains me a lot, I cry myself to sleep but I do let him go and deal with my emotions alone.
My biggest fear is raising a spoilt child. I find myself being too tough sometimes but I can’t sacrifice discipline for anything, because in the unfortunate circumstance that I am not around anymore, no one would stay to with my spoilt brat. This is something we always forget this as mothers; we love too much and end up just spoiling. Also I know that I will forever be blamed if he doesn’t turn out right. So I do everything within my means.
It is hard to find a balance between meeting work deadlines and attending sports days and doing homework in the evening and having a life as a person. Elijah’s life is well ahead of him, mine could easily pass me by while I am caught up catering to him. I sometimes feel like my days have thirty six hours. I somehow do all these things. I guess when you know the only way around something is by being tough then you woman up and become tough. One thing is for sure though, I must wake up and show up. No matter how crappy I feel. And yes I cry sometimes (only in my bed). It is very therapeutic.
I think this thing about working well under pressure is true sometimes. Because the times when life was toughest are also the times I was topping the country in my CPA course. Or it was just God’s way of showing me that all wasn’t lost yet. He still got me.
Dating again as a single mother is hard. There are all these men who think your biggest need is sex and they’re God’s gift to you for that. Then there are some who just want to use your son to black mail you into dating them. Others think you’re a baby making machine so they will offer to father your second one. Some will deal you the marriage card. Some want to take your sons space in your life…. GOSH! It is all so annoying.
My mantra in life is, ‘what is the worst that could happen?’ I adopted this when one night as a banker, I got implicated in a fraud; we were arrested and thrown into Jinja road police for a night (story for another day) but if that didn’t kill me, I am ready for death itself. Please note that I was just implicated. I was later released, given my job back and promoted but it is then that I knew I needed to leave banking. And I left.
I also live by Romans 8: 28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Psalms 27. 13-14 is on my heart lately, “I remain confident of this,I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.Wait for the Lord be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord”.
PS: I love you for reading.