It is difficult and challenging to be a parent today, and it is even more difficult to raise children alone. Frank Moturi knows this all too well. Eight years ago, his baby mama left him with a nine-month-old baby and she never came back. Since then, Frank has raised his son, Eddy Mandela single-handedly. He tells us about the joys and the unique challenges of his journey as a single father
What were the circumstances that led to raise your son by yourself?
My girlfriend and I had just completed campus when she got pregnant. We had not discussed marriage and so, getting pregnant for us was a shocker. I quickly adjusted to the fact that I had a new responsibility, took her home and promised to take care of her and our baby. But she on the other hand was not ready to get married; she was only 21.
So, what happened?
When Mandela was three months old, she started insisting that she wanted to relocate to Nairobi from Kisii my home, saying she did not like living in the village. But I was just a college graduate and yet to land a job, we couldn’t move.
I got a job in Siaya, but she was relentless, she finally left one day leaving the baby when he was just nine months old and she never came back. I found the baby with the day bug when I arrived from work in the evening.
What was your next course of action?
I had no idea how to handle a baby. I took him to my mother who helped me to take care of him until he was two years old, I would travel home every weekend for some bonding time. He turned nine years in December. He is in Class Four.
Does Mandela know his mother, does he ask?
Yes, he does. Accompanied by her older sisters, her mother has come to visit him three times. The first time, he could not identify her. I bought him a phone so they could communicate, but it did not last long, she blocked him eventually and he ended up losing his phone. He does not ask about her anymore.
So, how has it been raising him?
It was challenging when he was younger, especially when he got sick. Those were the most trying moments. But it is so easy at the moment. This is because we are good friends, we agree and disagree. This, however, does not imply that I have shelved off discipline.
What are the unique challenges of raising a child as a single father?
Wearing the shoes of a mother. At times, you will not understand that he needs to be pampered, the way mothers do. Also back then, answering questions about where the mum is, and when she will be coming back was a huge challenge for me.
What challenge can you throw to other men who might find themselves in your position?
I would encourage men to man up. When things go south between you and the mother of your child, handle it like a man. There is a lot of satisfaction when you know that you are supposed to guide a young soul in this world.
It also makes one to responsible, in terms of self-discipline and being a good example. There are also many things that you get to learn. Many times I see me in him when I was young. For those who abandon their children, it is a sign of immaturity and irresponsibility.
How does it feel looking back when Mandela was a tiny baby until now that he has grown to be a fine young man?
I have no words. I have pictures from the time his mum left him until now. His growth has been magnificent. At times, I smile and congratulate myself for the good effort. I am not a perfect father though, but I try where I can.
What is your hope for the future?
Definitely, I would love to get someone who understands us and appreciates the fact that we are happy and all we need is more happiness and not the craziness we see in marriages today.
Thereafter, get one or two babies, depending on our mutual agreement and then we raise the children together, travel the world, work out together as a family and live happily ever after. But if that does not come to pass, I have no hurry in life, we only live once and happiness counts.