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The story of mothers in six countries
Single parents: A tale of money and some wild nights out
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Coping alone


 - Coping alone
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Agata is a translator and editor in Warsaw, Poland and now also the mother of three month old Nina.

Agata brings up her daughter alone - a situation she never would have imagined for herself.  The child's father lives abroad.

Even though her occupation allows her to work from home, she finds it hard to organize her time.

"After 15 weeks, I can say that my child as little as she may be, can't be predicted. Take breast-feeding: Even if she is supposed to feed every three hours, she's is able to surprise me and change the whole schedule. A child is not a machine."

In Austria, Marlene gave birth by herself. The father and her had split up while she was pregnant.

"The first couple of months after delivery were a nightmare. I was still in lots of pain from giving birth and my daughter wouldn't sleep more than two hours.

"I was exhausted and worn out and thought nobody cared how I felt. That was when I would have really needed a daddy.  A couple of weeks ago, my little girl learned how to walk and I had nobody to share this moment with.

"I wouldn't want to share the responsibility"

As their children get older, single mothers find their own creative yet well-structured way of coping with parenting alone.

Recent studies show that single mothers have a much broader social network they count on and spend time with than other mothers.

Many of our single parent readers said the couldn't imagine having to share the responsibility of their children with someone else.

"I'm quite happy to decide on my own what I think is best for my child. I wouldn't want to discuss it with another person. Like that, I have all the responsibility but I also have all the say
.", Nyara from Alicante, Spain explains.

Finding the rhythm for your little family

For Jaqueline everything is about being well organized. The twelve hours of her day in Berlin, Germany are structured to the minute: Getting her two children (4 and 5) to school, going to work, picking the children up from school, getting the evening meal, homework, bedtime.

In between, she has time to shop for groceries, get a present for the birthday party of her daughter's friend, help her children with homework and make it to the appointment with the math’s teacher.

The only thing she doesn't have time for is herself. If something unexpected goes wrong, like when one of her two children gets sick., everything comes crashing down.

"On good days, I feel, we are managing well. I feel that we don't need anybody else. Hey, we can do it! But on bad days, I feel lonely. I come home from 9 hours of work and my purse is empty and I think: what can I offer my children? I mean really offer them?"

5,000 kilometers from Jaqueline in France, Marianne feels the same way. "You don't have the right and moreover the time to crack.", the Parisian says.

"You don't even have two minutes to stop and think about your situation and think about how difficult it is."

"That's why you don't crack, you go on..."


Shila Meyer Behjat
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