Lone parenthood, many struggles, countless wins
Perry Kanana, a single-mum of two boys aged 12 and six shares the highs and lows of raising her children and how a lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic kept her away from her boys for five months.
As a single-mum of two boys, Perry Kanana works hard to see to it that her children are well taken care of. She has even supported them grow and nurture their talents.
Just recently, her boys won awards with the Africa Kids Awards, with her first born emerging as the winner in the Content Creator Category, while her second born won in the Best Boy Artist Under 10 category.
“I am intentional when raising my children and I fully support their talents. My first born is a self- taught chef.
He has a deep passion for cooking. During this Covid 19 pandemic, his talent peaked and he started being featured on Club Kiboko show, which airs on a local television station.
He has since then held on to cooking and makes amazing food, including pizza, burgers, cakes, chicken, among others.
My second born on the other hand has a passion for music and enjoys singing,” says Perry.
Perry is also a lover of art and music and does a lot of paintings during her free time.“I recently enrolled with Sketchmasta School of Art to upscale my pencil art shading,” she says.
A human resource practitioner, shecounts herself lucky to still have her job during this pandemic.
However, in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, she at some point had to travel outside the country for work-related issues, which were to last for one month only to end up staying away for five months.
She offers: “I mainly work from home, while occasionally reporting to the office. It was a bit difficult at first since the first wave found me in Malawi.
I was meant to work for one month, but due to lockdown, I ended up staying for five months! Being away from the boys was difficult, but we managed.”
By the time she came back, the children couldn’t even play outside.”When I got home my sons were away, since I had to self-quarantine for two weeks. After the two weeks, they came home.
I just wanted to run and hug them, but my little son insisted on washing his hands first. That’s how serious they were taking the Covid-19 safety measures.
I remember on their birthdays (both in May), my neighbours had to sing for them a happy birthday song through the window,” she says.
A helping hand
She is grateful that she has a supportive nanny who stands in the gap even when she is not around. “My nanny is amazing.
I have had her for 12 years. While I was away in Malawi, she took charge and looked after my children well.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and the fact that children wouldn’t even play outside, my little ones embarked on a lot of cooking and music,” she explains. She adds: “I have taken my nanny in as family.
Trust and letting her be to play her roles has helped us stay together for this long. We are both here to help and support each other.”
As a single-parent, Perry says she has had to endure a lot of challenges. “Common stereotypes about single parents are not flattering.
We are highly judged and many people view us as bad or irresponsible parents. Others insults us, calling us demeaning words such as prostitutes.
I have learnt not to focus on those stereotypes. Instead, I focus on keeping my head up and learning how to survive as a single mum. I am the parent who chose to stay.
Daily duties for a single parent are not different than they are for a married one: coping with sleeplessness, making tough decisions, paying bills. But as a single parent, you are on your own.
I have totally embraced that. My children count on me and only me, and therefore, I have no other choice than to ensure that I am sufficient enough to offer them all the support that they need,” she says.
Shouldering a load that is typically carried by two people is, however, not easy financially. “Being a solo parent, especially, means that you are always walking on a financial tightrope with no safety net below.
You do it single handedly and even when you don’t have enough, you have no one to turn to for support.
Also, trying to hold down jobs and ensure that you are fully there for your children, attending to their extra-curricular activities sometimes is hard when you running a one-man show,” Perry shares.
However, as the children grow, Perry says there are a lot of grey areas and its easy when there is at least another adult to talk things out with and to share the burden of making tough decisions.
“In this parenting journey, it’s been mainly myself and my God. Some of my family members and friends have also remained constant and of great support and I am grateful,” she says.
In being a single mother, Perry finds that the mindset is everything. “If your mind is filled with fear and negativity, you will not go anywhere.
I don’t dwell on the negatives and or on how I have never received support from their father.
I have totally rid myself of anything in my life that does not bring me joy. I changed my thinking to positive thoughts,” she says.
However, she has learnt to love herself more. “In the past, I used to place the boys above everything.
But it was so emotionally draining. I came to learn that one of the best things I can do for them is take care of myself.
I remember how I never used to buy myself stuff because of guilt, hence I would end up spending on the boys and nothing on me.
Now I have leant to balance, without feeling guilty. This does not mean compromising my parenting.
It means keeping myself as grounded and as stress-free as possible so that I can give my children the wonderful childhood they deserve. My children need a happy mother and not a perfect one,” she reveals.
Her dreams for her children is that theylive this life with no regrets, to feel supported and encouraged to pursue their interests and talents, to develop a degree of strength and resilience as well as problem-solving skills for those times when life presents a challenge.