Chichi was in her final year when she found out she was pregnant for her boyfriend who wasn’t ready to get married. Chichi had a health related problem that will put her life in danger if she opted for an abortion. Eventually, Chichi and Emma separated whilst she agreed to keep custody of her child and face off with the responsibilities of being a single mom.
Being s single more is tough for working class women let alone undergraduates. Her biggest challenges being Financial Constraints, loneliness, lack of fatherly love for the child, emotional imbalance, rejection/segregation and having to do all things by herself.
Whilst money is not everything, she believes taking the financial burden off her will hugely help her get through this tough time. Here are some helpful tips;
Get support from Family – For young single moms who are yet to be financially independent handing the responsibility of taking care of your kids to your parents or family is a common way of coping with the responsibility. Whilst this might seem a tough decision, one needs to realize it’s all about the kid’s welfare for now. Your kid also has a good chance to get maximum love from your family who will also ensure he or she imbibes positive values that will help mold his or her future. This option also helps relieve a lot of financial burden that you otherwise had carried if you also had to cater for your kid.
Get Health Insurance – This is perhaps one of the first thing you must do with your money. In Nigeria you can buy a health insurance for as little as N40, 000 per annum and this gives you access to free healthcare for you and your kid. You can choose a pediatric hospital for your child or a mother and child hospital to cater for both of you. This is important especially at those odd times when a kid suddenly gets an infection develops fever and you are broke. With health insurance all you need to do is pick up your hospital card and get yourself to the hospital. The HMO pays for your drugs, out and in patient consultancy etc.
Get a Side Job – Being an undergraduate in Nigeria is enough stress let alone combining that with being a single mom. It never is an easy task particularly if you do not have an immediate family that is financially capable to take care of you alone not talk of you and your baby. One way to relieve the situation is to get a side job that can also allow you attend to your academic responsibilities. Quality good paying jobs are hard to find if you are a student but you do not need to get a very good paying one from the start. Just ensure you get a job that can at least take care of your transportation to and from work whilst leaving you with a sizeable balance that you can use to augment.
Follow a budget – A budget helps you identify spending needs long before they start to materialize. There are many budget templates online you can utilize to help guide you through your spending habits. Budgets helps you to be financially prudent and responsible helping you avoid common distractions that can lead you to financial recklessness.
Live by the rules – By now you realize you have to live like no one else to live like no one else. Rules that guide your spending habits, way of life, likes and don’t likes, type of friends, what to eat etc. must be developed and you must abide by them. You now have to fight harder than others to survive and that requires a lot of mental strength, planning and financial responsibility. This can be achieved when you have a unique set of rules that work for you. Sometimes you have to tweak and pivot till you get the right set of rules.
Be Friends with fellow single moms – Bonding with fellow single moms who share similar experiences with you can help alleviate some of the challenges you face. For example, a single mom maybe willing to help get you job or even borrow you some money as your mutual experiences enables her empathize with you more than anyone else. Single moms who have been there are done that can be a source of inspiration and their knowledge and experiences can also be very useful.
Get a new partner – Whilst this might not be an immediate need, on the long run single moms should endeavor to move on with their lives and start dating cautiously. I had a friend who got lucky and started dating a guy as she raised her daughter by herself. She eventually got married to him and now they have kids together and are a very happy family. Whilst this is not easy, being in a steady relationships helps single moms augment their finances and derive some emotional balance. If you are lucky to be dating a very serious-minded guy who loves you there is every likelihood that he will cater for your and your baby selflessly.
Get along with Baby Daddy – Now this may not be possible in the beginning but to survive the emotional and financial stress of being a single mom there has to be some form of making up with your baby daddy. Whilst you want to be careful and not be seen and condescending and begging, it is important to act mature for the sake of your child. Some men can be very cruel in the early stages of a single moms life as such developing an uncanny way to mitigate through the issue can be very invaluable. When you get along with the baby daddy there is every likelihood that he will at least cater for aspects of the kid’s life particularly academic and health. You should find a way to get him to pick some of the bills but more importantly the child’s school fees and health care cost. This takes a lot of courage I agree but the benefits far outweighs the risk.