Written By: Misbah Akhtar

When looking for a potential spouse, there is much to consider- especially if you are a single mum.
But one thing I never thought I would have to think about was asking a man if he could think as a step-father rather than as an individual. Call me naïve, but I automatically assumed that he would have thought about the sacrifices he would have to make as a step-father and also would have carefully thought things through before committing to marriage with a single mother.
It seems most men are somewhat clueless as to the degree of responsibility they face if they choose to marry a single mum. They go to such intimate lengths to do their research on a car, check it out, make sure it’s worthy enough to own and they don’t judge it on appearance alone. I dare say I had hoped men would apply the same formula for marriage.
On the contrary, most see someone they like and try to squash them into a Stepford Wife mould. They want their wife to wrap her and her children’s lives around them instead of doing it the other way around. Is this fair? Is this what we have to expect now as single mums?
Granted, he won’t know everything, but if a sister tells a guy she doesn’t have anyone to leave her children with, why do they hold it against her when she says she can’t dump her kids somewhere to go on a honeymoon? Some men think that they can still lead the same lives they had before. You can’t just have alone time or be intimate whenever you want during the day if you have kids, and you can’t expect to swan off for dinner alone whenever you want if you have no babysitter!
Some honestly think being a step-dad only means financially providing for the kids and taking them to the Masjid. What about being a role model and showing kids by example how to behave? What about giving up those bad habits and watching what you say? What about playing with them and doing ‘dad stuff’? What about remembering that the kids had a life before you and a routine and that if anything it’s YOU coming into THEIR family and therefore it’s YOU who has to adjust?
It’s hard for children to adjust to a new dad, especially if they still maintain ties with their old one. How are YOU going to tackle that? Why should it be the woman’s responsibility to fix everything just because the kids are hers? Kids don’t understand that they won’t be loved straight away; If they are craving a father figure they may latch onto the guy immediately. They won’t know that their step-dad needs time. YOU need to be sensitive to these things.
A few home truths for the brothers out there:

    • Single mums are pickier than single women, as well they should be.


    • We may have ‘baggage’ but we also have experience, wisdom, and maturity that not many single women will have.


    • We understand sacrifice better than any other single woman.


    • We may be ‘second-hand’ but if we had to choose between a man and our kids, our kids would ALWAYS come first.


    • We may want marriage, but NOT at the expense of making our children’s lives worse.


    • Don’t mention how we need to strengthen our faith, because it is faith alone that has got us as far as we have come!


This article originally appeared on Single Muslim Mums blog, but was edited for My Iddah.
Misbah Akhtar is the founder of Single Muslim Mums, an organisation aiming to provide guidance and support to single Muslim mothers and promoting awareness for the struggles they face. If you’d like to know more about her organisation, check out this article written by Khurshid Khatib.


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