Ever since I joined a local mailing list for Indonesia Single Parents Community, I’ve learned more about life as single parents in Indonesia and the daily struggles facing us.
One email that got me all worked up came from this lady, a principal in a religious School, she’s clearly a smart and educated woman…the only down fall is she’s a divorcee with one child.
She was venting out about the unfairly treatment she’s been getting from the school’s board and her child’s school’s principal. They made what I considered very insulting remarks to her about her status as a single mother.
As I had written before, divorce is still hugely considered a big taboo in Indonesia – and in some Asian countries as well – but the biggest stigma is being labeled at the women. Divorced women – be it a single mom or divorcee without children.
Like it or not, Indonesians still look down on divorced women especially on this case single moms and it is not only sad, it is degrading!
Why should women being jab for her marital status? What does intelligence, diligence and work appraisal got to do with being divorced? Apparently, in some companies it matters!
How shallow can these people go?
Being a single and working full time moms means WE have to work double – EXTRA harder than a married women. Why? Because we are constantly being pushed to proof to everyone around us that we could manage doing it all solo. That we can in-fact fly solo!
When some people thinks that we single moms would be seducing their husbands/boyfriends…we are more concern about making it all up to our children for the lost time – especially if we work long hours. We are more worried about making ends meet when we have deadbeat exes who refused – some even doesn’t want to see their children!
Some of us ‘graduated’ from an abusive marriage – be it emotional or ones that left us barely alive! Some of us have exes who hump around like rabbits with every single girl they can get their hands to! So to be that insecure in your own relationship to worry so much that we would snag your partner is really laughable at times!
Being a working mom is hard enough (single or not!) – knowing that most companies in Indonesia would rather hire single women because they worry mothers cannot sell their soul to the companies and put their work above anything else in their life. We are constantly trying to break that image and proof that we can perform in the work field as good as anybody else. Yes, we worry about our children that we MUST leave behind and there are emergencies that stopped us from coming in to work (Read: very sick children!) but most working moms I have met are giving not only 100% but 200% of their efforts to show they are qualified in their fields. As the single bread winner we are working our asses off to pay the bills, to pay for school – and God knows how expensive education in Indonesia is – to raise a child… So for companies to look down on us simply because of our status is truly disgusting!
I’m not saying that other working moms (married ones) and dads doesn’t work just as hard but I really feel that to some Indonesian companies, being a single moms means we need to proof ourselves over and over again.
I considered myself lucky to have a boss who never judges me for my status. He told me to go when I asked him if I can take a day off on Lil’A first day of school before he went down memory lane telling me stories of his own kids first day of schools.
Equality really is the words that most companies – heck, most Indonesians needs to learn and understand.
Breaking this ‘bad image’ might take years to accomplish but I have faith that if our people can look beyond the ‘single mom’, ‘divorcee’ labels they can see that underneath it all we are all just human with hopes and dreams just like everyone else. We wants whats best for our children, it is because we love our children so much that we dare to venture out facing the world alone. The only difference is…we are doing it ourselves.
Instead of throwing us with stones and making us wear this huge scarlet letter, just leave us alone and give us the equal treatments. If we want to discuss about our divorce or failed marriages we would be talking to our confidantes. So please, if you meet a single mother next time around…don’t treat her any differently. Equality is the keyword!
Some countries are offering financial aids to single moms or educational packages to help women to get back on their feet. It may takes years for Indonesia to even have one of these but lets start with something simple, STOP JUDGING us! Simple as that.
Single moms, lets keep showing these people that they cannot break us! Chin up and keep marching on.