Mama non lavora!* Stories of single working mothers


The life of single working mothers is tough. Often they have to leave their kids with someone to go work. And sometimes to take care of the children of other people…

I worked as a nanny for an Italian family in Munich. Papà was an engineer and had a very good job. Mama was an event promoter and self-employed, she had her own company and worked from home, organizing and promoting events in her town in Italy. Every morning she was pretty busy with conference calls, budgets, emails, and planning, but when the day of the events came, she had to be there in Italy, to conduct them personally.

They had a son, the little Pietro. He was not yet two years old and used to fly to Italy with Mama when she needed to be there for work – his grandma was always happy to have him around. But this one time it happened that Pietro had to stay in Munich. I came in the afternoon to take care of him until Papà arrived from work. Mama told him she had to go to work, Papà was coming soon and that I would be there to play with him meanwhile.

*Mom does not work!

When he noticed that Mama was really leaving, he started to cry, clung around her neck and shouted “Mama non lavora!”*. Mama got touched with his words but told him that yes, moms also work. With nice and sweet words she brought him a little bit calm and convinced him to watch his prettiest novel with me. I turned on the TV, held him tenderly in my arms and sat to watch “Heidi”, waiting for Papà to arrive.

I was surprised by his statement: who told a two-year-old boy that mothers don’t work? He was a lucky boy to have both mother and father together around him, but in his perception, if Papà was working, Mama didn’t need to and should stay at home with him.

One can justify he just expressed an instinct. But when we look at nature, we see many species where the mother is the only responsible to care for the puppies. Therefore it is not “natural” for mothers not to work.

shelter for single working mother
The feeling of being sheltered is essential for single working mothers to renew their strength and be able to move forward

For single mothers who are breadwinners, there is no choice: they must work. And if they do not have their family around to give them support, they have an even more complicated routine. In order to keep up with the responsibility of putting food on the table and raising the children, they often sacrifice their own self. Time is a very valuable asset, and any minute left shall be dedicated to the kids.

Single working mothers need support

So, if you are a single mother juggling work, kids and bills, be aware that you must take time for yourself, to renew your strength and get comfort to your soul, to feel that you are not alone on this journey. Don’t try to be a hero and get yourself any help whenever you feel the necessity. Your kids need you fit and centered.

As a single working mother myself, I can affirm that you can do it because I did. But I don’t want you to do the way I did it – it was extremely tough. There shall always be another way to go through this life challenge that is to raise kids all alone.

Come to Marina On Air, our Online Community of Supportive Single Working Mothers, and take profit of my personal experiences to enhance your own. Let’s exchange our stories and tell other mothers how we overcame difficult situations. There is no fixed solution because each life is very unique, but the interchange of several experiences can give other mothers hints of how to deal with problems under certain circumstances.

Together we can build up a very strong supportive community. Join us!