In our society, being a female means a lot of hard work is needed to survive. A single mother experiences this stress and difficulty manifold especially if she wants to live independently – without resorting to anti-social behaviour, or doing anything without check on morals and values. This independence also calls for the woman to become thick-skinned to the comments and remarks made by the people, men and women alike. And unfortunately, these statements often come from those who consider themselves “educated” – well-educated, even. However, in this case I think there needs to be a distinction between being well-educated and being well-lettered. This is an insight on how the odds are stacked against you if you want to balance Entrepreneurship and single motherhood in Pakistan.
Society likes to interject
The world has changed a lot since the turn of the century. We have seen effects of economic variations, brought on by a cornucopia of external issues apropos to the topic at hand. All this left us – the common people – in dismay with one question: what happens next? The trend and need of a single earning hand apparently shattered: coupled with exploding inflation, the demand for more than one earner increased tenfold.
Life of women in Pakistan is inherently difficult as-is; the label of “single mother” only adds to it. Society is quite quick to judge, and one thing that people tend to ignore is what brought about her status of being a single mother: fate or choice. If it was fate, all sympathies must be with her without belittling. If it was her choice, please be generous and stop labeling her as wild, hardheaded, stubborn, egoistic and such. These labels tend to imply that women are somehow answerable to society for their marital status. Obviously, this mentality is generic, naïve and unfortunately rampant.
Society needs to stop casting judgement post haste, however, the life of a woman (single or otherwise) is always under far greater scrutiny than any male’s and the sheer volume of input from oft unrelated sources becomes inescapable.
Dedication and Hardwork – a mother and entrepreneur
Funnily, the same traits – associated with a single mother by choice – take on a completely different perspective when applied to entrepreneurs. They begin describing someone who is creative, strong-willed, persistent and ambitious. What brings about this change in outlook? In layman’s language, an entrepreneur, once referred to as a business person, is any individual who can take initiatives, turn resources and situations to practical account by organizing and reorganizing social and economic mechanisms and most importantly, accept risk or failure and the fortitude to handle the consequences.
A single mother’s ordeals are many, the foremost being looking after the monetary affairs to be able to raise her children well. This calls for making tough decisions through continuous struggles with the burdens and pressures put on by peers and society. However, the upside is that the burdens of entrepreneurship and single-motherhood have so much in common that the progression is almost natural. Entrepreneurship affects a single mother in many ways. The traits required to be successful, both as an entrepreneur and a single mother are very akin. To start off with, the capacity to risk: monetary and human resources, failure at the deepest personal level and taking advantage of the opportunity.
The burden of the label of being a single mother in our society is another risk that a woman has to fight with whilst stepping out of her home. This in turn poses a threat to balancing a strong vision and embracing change, both essential to be victorious. Entrepreneurship impacts the single mother here by giving her this ability to calculate and take on risks. It also enables her to strike out and see opportunity everywhere in the bigger picture.
Single Motherhood is already an entrepreneurial venture
Determination is another trait of an entrepreneur which affects a single mother profoundly. Where the business venture requires determination from the entrepreneur, a single mother must possess and demonstrate her firmness in maintaining discipline and grit. For raising children, it is essential to keep discipline and possess grit so they become responsible individuals and citizens. This is even more needed, rather demanded, from children of single mothers. This quality of determination also enables the single mother to recognize the bigger picture and continually test her assumptions by embracing change with a passion for learning.
A resemblance in being an entrepreneur and being a parent has been identified. It underlines the fact that there are several hard days where one can tend to think, “why am I doing this?” To end this monotony or steer clear from the lingering gloom, creativity is the best tool. Creativity gives a person to come up with ideas which are an innovative solution to a key problem. It also provides the crucial break required by an individual to stay and become more productive. I would like to call this idea a short-vacation. In short, it is the ability to think out of the box – most of the time. This also asks for a lot of enthusiasm from the entrepreneur and the mother. Where creativity keeps your gloom at the minimum, enthusiasm maintains your motivation and determination at the maximum.
Entrepreneurship might even be therapeutic
It takes a great deal of stamina to keep all the above-mentioned attributes intact. This calls for one quality that can collect and master them all: leadership. An entrepreneur and a single mother, like any leader, must lead by example, demonstrate integrity, make hard decisions, recognize opportunities and success, communicate effectively and empower, motivate and inspire others. All these characteristics defining leadership are a necessity to be a successful entrepreneur and also a single mother in this society of ours. She has to display leadership for none other than her children so, they don’t look to anyone else for answers to their queries.
Entrepreneurship gives the person the ability of feeling good about oneself, to learn about one’s capabilities and above all, it gives the satisfaction of having dared it and done it and be successful at it. Being an entrepreneur and starting a new business venture is analogous to raising children. It takes more time and effort than anyone can imagine. As well as this, it is extremely difficult and painful to get out of both these situations. A woman, who happens to be a single mother and an entrepreneur may perhaps be vulnerable at times as a mother, but knowing entrepreneurship gives her the ability to preserve, create, build, progress, persist and inspire others, especially her children. Above all, she becomes a true symbol of an individual who always believed in herself and did not let anyone dictate to her or pave the road for her.
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