I have on many occasions heard people talking about single parenthood and how such parents should raise their children. I have pondered not once or twice, but many times whether such people knew first-hand what it meant to be raised by a single parent.
My early childhood was quite similar to that of many children, having a loving family that was always there for you. However, the notion of a complete loving family was short lived. From what I discerned at that time, my parents going through a rough patch. Things moved swiftly, and it was not long before my parents embarked on what seemed like a protracted separation. As a child, one does not give much thought to such alterations until age starts kicking in, and the situation becomes vivid. As in most disintegrated homesteads, my siblings and I remained under the custody of our mother.
My parent’s separation happened when I was still quite young. I disliked every minute that the decision took from of my life. From what I have read and witnessed in other families, things could have been worse, so in a way I was grateful for the way my parents handled the situation with meager quibbles and resentment. I could look at them at times and wonder whether they were apart accompanied by a lot of questions that I felt better to leave unanswered or something about not airing our dirty laundry in public. I love them that much. My father did the best he could to make his presence plentiful, and my mother was at her busiest time of her life.
I believe the majority of separated parents are always eager to prove that they have moved on. In some extreme cases, it quickly escalates into a full blown competition. My mother started dating again. For me, this was just another addition to my list of questions I preferred to leave unanswered. The change or shock that comes with it may not kill you but the suspense that one harbors inside slowly eats you up every day like the unending siren that sticks to your ears. It was during this period that real effects of family disintegration began to take a toll on me. I remember the many nights that we were left under the care of a temporal nanny or a babysitter.
I know that babysitters are not the friendliest people in the world, but the ones we had seemed to go the extra mile. My situation was similar to subjection to a curfew that involved naught save the errands that the babysitters termed as lessons in life. Surprisingly even eating or having a snack did not go well in the books of some babysitters. But then again, our situation was quite frustrating given the tight budget that the family operated on. Provision of commodities including the basic ones was based on a strict rule of priority. Later when I learnt about the scarcity, choice and opportunity cost in business, I reminisced about the days when even depression was too costly a feeling to possess.
The babysitters occupy most of my childhood memories with their disguised acts of cruelty. Apart from running errands for them, I was inadvertently accorded the responsibility of keeping their escapades a secret. My mother was working herself out to provide a good life for us, and I assumed the least I could do was help her and not bother her with my dissatisfaction. However, I did question her judgment as she was quite fond of the babysitters contrary to my thought that she should have seen them for who they truly were. There was one babysitter who had this vexing demeanor of inviting her friends to our house for their mini parties.