Let’s face it, single parents sometimes get a bad rap, in this day and age they shouldn’t and it saddens me that they still do. There’s all sorts of reasons you find yourself single with children and who – based on a single meeting – can judge, roll their eyes and stick you in Jeremy Kyle fodder without ever knowing your story?
I’m lucky that I am now in a happy, solid relationship but roll back 20 odd years and I wasn’t. I was 20 and at home having just been dumped unceremoniously on my own with a baby whom I had absolutely no idea what to do with and wondering how it all came to this.
Being a single parent has it’s rewards – no-one to argue with over discipline or giving the kids too many sweets or letting them stay up too late. However, I struggled with money and always felt I was living on my last penny.
•There were times I lived on toast every day for a week so my child could have the vegetables.
•There were times I walked the 3 miles to work and home again after an 8 hour shift because I couldn’t afford the bus fare.
•There were times I had to make the choice between £5 electric on the rip off pre-payment meter or food in our tummies. We spent a few nights surrounded by candles. I made it seem like fun but inside was cringing at how horrendous it all was.
•I worked to pay £400 a month in childcare fees just so I could hold my head up and say I was employed despite the fact I never actually had any money.
•I had to rely on my parents at Christmas to get him some tidy presents as there was never much in the pot for it. They were always willing to help if they could but I was far too proud to ask most of the time and they aren’t exactly loaded anyway.
•I was once told I’d got pregnant on purpose just to get myself a council house and lots of benefits – chance would be a fine thing!
I believe it was a good learning curve for me though. I got on with it, I made my own way, I brought up my son the only way I knew how and I don’t think I did such a bad job. He’s a right royal pain in the bum sometimes but then he’s a teenager! My partner came along when he was 9 and it did take him some getting used to as he’d had me all to himself for such a long time. They still fight for Alpha male but I’ve learned to just roll my eyes!
Are single parents any different or any worse just because they do it by themselves? Absolutely not, it’s hard at times – sobbing uncontrollably into your pillow hard but I wouldn’t change a thing! Maybe it made me fiercely protective because I was the only one there to fight the corner but is that such a bad thing?
A big high five for all the single parents out there. Believe me, you’re awesome. I know.