Single Parenthood – Raising a Child Alone
During the time when I was going through the rough patch in my marriage before the divorce, I had actually gone through counselling and therapy. It was meant to be couple counselling, but in the end I went by myself. And maybe that helped to build up the resilience that I have, so by the time I got to the point when I was truly a single mom, I used all these tools to kind of help me cope. Hi, I’m Nadia. I’m a mom of a seven year old girl. Through my career, I think for more than 10 years, at least 15 years, I’ve been in HR information systems. And it was a very very well-paying job. I had a five figure income per month. To start with, I mean… I wasn’t really super happy with the job itself. It paid well, and that was it. I was expecting a second child, you know, I found out. But then, very early on, I lost the baby. And this was then the turning point actually. Because I was so low about everything, I didn’t feel like going back to work. And I also started a project during the six months. I started a little project of my own. I started a small company called ‘Forty Weeks.’ So, I was running my home business, it was going well, I mean it was growing slowly. But when the divorce hit, it was very hard to continue. We had a good, you know, and very friendly divorce conversation. So it wasn’t like I had to fight for money or anything like that. He was very… agreeable, in terms of supporting my daughter financially. So that was a non-issue. Things like her school fees, you know her needs, her basic needs and things like that were taken care of. It was more for myself that I was worried. I have to service my mortage, you know, that’s $2000 a month. And my day to day expenses you know, my bills and things like that. Ya, so I was worried and I was thinking do I have to sell the apartment? I can’t, because it’s an EC under HDB. So it has a five year minimum, you know, waiting period. Could I appeal? Should I even think about selling it? I mean…. Those are the things, you know, that went through my mind. I needed to look for something part time because I had no help. I mean besides my family, of course, who live nearby. I had these things in mind, you know it had to be flexible or part-time. I even had a figure in mind. I had my tables, my expenses all panned out. And I really think that helped. I called everyone I knew. And I asked, “do you have a job for me?” One thing led to the other, and a few weeks later I got the job. It was a big deal for me at the time. Not only that, I mean the job didn’t pay me my goal amount at the time. Because of my experience doing my own social media for my own company I also then started doing social media for other small companies and that filled up the gap. Coping with all this work right, I mean it was hard emotionally sometimes, but I made it work. So I had to be strict about my own working hours, because I know I have to pick up my daughter at six, I would stop. You know, when certain months, when you know in the end you invoice less than you had hoped to invoice. So ya financially, sure there were ups and downs but I coped because of the things I learnt. I think the biggest financial burden as a single mum for me was making ends meet. Just being able to buy groceries, you know, or like if you are late for something, not being able to jump into a cab and getting there. Planning budget meals, you know, making sure that I don’t buy expensive items. I had approached the school to ask for a grant for the school fees. I was rejected. So I had to go to a certain body and I can’t recall the name of it. And I went there, they did an analysis and they actually counted my child support and alimony as income. And then I had to show the invoices that I made, and then I didn’t qualify. I guess you know, I want to be negative and angry about it but I guess there are people more deserving. I have an asset you know, I have an apartment. Some people don’t even have that. So in a way, it’s probably fair. I mean, if I’m really… desperate, I would find a way to sell my apartment, right? But I didn’t get to that point because I had so much support. So ya, I was aware of this one thing which was to help reduce the school fees for her nursery. I mean, some kind of grant for domestic help. I wish I could’ve had some help. It was literally just me and her. When you are living in a standard family where you have a couple taking care of a kid, even if you don’t have a helper, you have another pair of hands. So the actual job, the work, the taking care of my daughter is is all part of life, so I didn’t find that super challenging, but just because you’re alone doing all this, it’s just a lot of mental and physical exhaustion. I mean, it was very challenging. It wasn’t the easiest to deal with a child who was going through the change in her life that was quite dramatic, her family was torn apart basically. Overcoming those, and having a great relationship with my daughter now that kind of thing, I mean those are… fulfilling for me. And feeling happy with what I have, that for me is huge.