Man of the House
Story by Pratibha Sharma
My daughter does not have a Dad anymore.
Sometimes, she asks me, “Where is Dad?”, “When is he coming back?”, and I do not like hiding things from her. Sometimes I do not know how to answer these questions. But I know that unanswered questions are never good for a child’s mental growth. So, I only answer her when a question is asked.
I try to explain to her that, it may seem unfortunate to not have a father, but she is fortunate to have a mother. However, people keep reminding her of their expectations by asking things like, “Where is your Dad?” And they taunt me by questioning about a second marriage.
Before my divorce, my daughter used to watch us fight brutally, very frequently. She has witnessed his violent behaviour and my abuse. She has been scarred by these fights, and has grown very sensitive and mature, even though she is just 10 years old! Also, even though I had submitted an application that does not permit my ex-husband to meet her he still used to show up at places, school, and create a scene there.
She has seen a lot of violence in her life and I do not want any more scars in her life!
After my divorce, I made up my mind that I do not need a man in my life. Prioritizing my daughter’s mental health, I realised that maintaining a peaceful environment for her at home is more important than finding a partner.
My relatives still keep expecting, taunting and it's a repetition. They keep pushing us, and I can see that my daughter is affected by it.
I am a strong woman, and I do not care one bit about any expectations or opinions of these elderly ‘relics’ of our society. But my daughter is not strong, yet. She is just a small child, and I need to protect her.
Once, on her birthday, she asked me, “Mom, would you want a partner, since Dad is gone?”
Sometimes, I cannot believe how much she has grown up mentally. And some questions are surely hard to answer.
As an independent working woman, I meet a lot of people frequently, and I invite them over to my place as a group, to ensure that nothing is hidden from her vision. When she sees me interact with some of my male friends in the group, I realise the look on my daughter’s face. She misses her Dad. But I do not blame her for that.
Today, at 35 years of age, I am an independent woman, working as a school teacher, a plus-size model and an Instagram influencer. I am the ‘man of the house’ and a loving mother. And, I may ‘want’ a partner later in life, but I would never ‘need’ one.
Single mothers in our society are heavily judged. I try my best to be an example, a pillar of support, to prove that, we, the single mothers can lead a meaningful life with constructive thinking and efforts. We do not need men to survive.
These days, my daughter does not call me Mummy. She calls me Mumpa, i.e., Mummy + Papa
It hurts to know what she has gone through, but I try my best as a mother to give her everything she needs, and I am fully capable of doing so, since she is my ‘everything’.