Growing up, approved no rx my family home consisted of my single mother and myself, medical this was and still is considered your typical broken home. Although there was never any pressure on me to help with the household income or maintenance of the home, it was very much clear that we weren’t like most other “normal” or “typical” families. This was back in the 90’s when it wasn’t as acceptable to be a single mother as it seems to be nowadays. Having a single mum and no father brought some type of judgement before anyone even really knew you, as they felt you were on a different social level to them.
However, being an Indian single mother is a whole new ball game. I was around 3 years old when my parents got divorced. As a young Indian divorced single woman, my mother of course got judged. At the time we lived in a very Asian populated area and as always, people talk. My mum was about 24 years old and had the Indian community (especially elders) judging her every move. They saw her divorce as a weakness, as now she was alone with no-one to support her. In the past it was typical for the man to go out to work while the woman stays home to look after the house and kids, and some families still do believe in this. So for a woman to leave her husband with a child was seen as a very brave or very stupid move. Little did they know, the woman they were judging turned out to be the woman who I looked up to and still do every day.
I grew up watching my mum be a mother and father to me, going to work and coming home to cook and clean for me. Without me even realising, she was showing me the value of independence.
Growing up and not having a father wasn’t so bad, I felt my mother’s love and support but I always felt different and with no siblings, there was no-one to talk to about it or to play with as to distract myself so it always crossed my mind that I wasn’t like “everyone else.”
When everyone was going on holiday during the summer break, I was going to my nans because my mum had to go to work and a fun trip for me was going to the shops or even better was a day out in Birmingham!
But now I see people that have both parents that I always thought were “the dream” that I wouldn’t consider to be living the perfect life. I’m not discouraging them, but as a daughter of a single South Asian woman I always thought in the hierarchy of life I would be always seen as below average, but now I’m seeing that being from a ‘broken home’ isn’t so bad after all.
Although the South Asian community may not have accepted the situation for what it was, it gave me the strength to get through, the knowledge to go on my own path and the mind to think for myself. However, the community still has a lot to learn, especially about women! The culture has always made men the superior, to the point where women will want to give birth to boys as having a girl is sometimes seen as an unfortunate circumstance. The community needs to accept men and women as equals. Women shouldn’t be put down for leaving their spouse (especially when it’s in the best interest for themselves and the child). Hopefully, when the South Asian community alter their perspective towards feminism and modern family structures, other women will feel the support that wasn’t given to my mother.
Looking back I am proud to have had a single mother and be from a Broken Home.
Written by Aman Sangha