A while ago, I attended a wedding party, sans baby, and of course, everyone asked me about her whereabouts.
“I left her at home with my mom”, I told someone. “There are perks to being a single mom.” I was laughing when I said the last remark.
And in exchange for that light remark, I received a very confused stare. I couldn’t tell if this person was bothered by my comment or if they were trying to see if I was hiding my agony with my jokes. But I wasn’t joking and I most definitely wasn’t hiding any agony.
Over the past few years, I’ve come to realize that there are hidden perks behind being a single parent, especially in a South Asian household.
I can attend a wedding and leave my daughter at home with my parents. They love to watch her and actually insist I leave her home. Or we can all attend together and I know that I won’t have to be glued to her side.
I can eat in peace, because there is always someone around for Safiyah to play with and talk to.
When I visit NYC, I can explore the city while being 150% certain that Safiyah is perfectly dandy at her paternal grandparent’s place, even though she rarely sees them.
I can afford to pay for graduate school, all on my own, because I live with my parents. Bye bye, rent money. Hello, home-cooked meals and long showers.
And because so many people within our community have a soft spot for my daughter, there is always an abundance of babysitters. All I have to do is pick up the phone and ask. (But 99% of the time, I don’t have to, alhamdulillah.)
Here’s the thing. I didn’t choose my situation. But I can choose how I react to it. And I can choose how I handle it. Life won’t always go your way but if you learn how to make the best of things, things may become easier to handle.
My friend and I were having lunch one day, mesmerized by how some people seem to have it all.
But then, we realized something. There we were, two adult women, with a life full of responsibilities, sitting outside a restaurant on a Sunday, without having to worry about whether or not our kids were being taken care of. To an outsider, we may seem to be ones that have it all.
And quite honestly, we do have it all. Life is what you make of it and if you can make the best of it, then you do have it all.