I am not a dad

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Ashley Thaba

By Ashley Thaba

THE following words are from my friend, Gracious Chifamuna. Sadly, her husband passed away last year but she is sharing comfort she has learned with others. With this COVID-19 pandemic, I sadly know way too many widows now and thought they may be comforted by her words below:

I am a mom, not a dad.

The million-dollar question is: is it possible to be both mum and dad?

I am sure that most of us have heard single mothers say, it is hard being both mum and dad, or I am wearing two hats. I am sure some of us have told single mothers that they need to balance it all together: being a mum and dad. When I lost my husband, I also told myself and people that I was now playing both roles, mom, and dad. I had heard the saying before, never had time to process and think or even pray to God and ask Him what role(s) He wanted me to assume going forward when I lost my husband.

For almost a year, I was convinced that I was doubling roles in the life of my kids.  One afternoon as I was praying, God then told me that I do not need to father the kids but to mother them. Suddenly, I felt a huge burden being lifted. Yes, I knew that God was the Father because He promised that in the Bible though I still wanted to play His role: poor me.

How can one honestly become mom and dad at the same time? How does that translate on a day-to-day basis? Honestly, I do not have answers. What I know for sure is that God created man and women in His own image. He created them for a different reason and purpose. We are all equal in God’s eyes. We are all His children. God never created a man to be a woman neither a woman to be a man. That is not God’s idea. When it comes to marriage, there are clear roles that are specific to husbands and wives. In case of death, God said that He will father the children, He never said that in case of death, the widow should assume the role of the father. There is no way I can think, reason and act like a man. I do not think that is possible.   I feel that the more I focus on my role as mother and who God has created me, the more I will excel in my role as well. Trying to be a mom and dad can lead to frustrations, stress etc. How God does His fathering is up to Him.

If you are single mom and you have been fighting hard to play double roles, I would like to challenge you to consider being the best mom and leave the role of being a dad to God. Being a single mother does not make you a father or a man or an expert on either subject, it just makes the role of a mother more difficult.

My focus now is helping my kids know God as their father. I will never fool myself again and think that I can be a father or pretend to be a man to my kids because I am not, I was not created that way- I will live out what God has put in me. It is also my duty to help my kids know that God created different roles for both men and women. I am also focusing on leading and surrounding my kids with a God-fearing man so that they can clearly see the role of a father and man.

My journey as a widow has taught me precious lessons and opened my eyes to see that there are many sayings and practices that need to be challenged especially in the African context. Some of these sayings and practices put unnecessary pressure on single mothers (especially on widows). It is because of these and other issues that I felt God was leading me to launch the Widow’s Forum. If you are reading this and you are a widow, please do not hesitate to write to gracious@chifamuna.com. If you also know anyone who has lost their husband recently, please do refer them to me. I believe that iron sharpens iron. I know that God has been teaching them precious lessons and we can create a safe platform where we can learn from one another.

Yes, I am mom, not a dad! God created me to be a mom and I will focus on who God created me to be — mom not dad.

  • Ashley Thaba is a life-coach, team-building facilitator and motivational speaker.