National statistics of the UK show over 2.0 million homes are Single Parents with dependent children. In 2011 women accounted for 92% of lone parents with dependent children 8% were Men.
After my separation and divorce I categorised myself as a mum who lived alone with her child. I did all the normal things that were expected, you know, check out all the schemes I would be entitled to, looked at any benefits that were open to me, I had long meaningful chats with other ‘S parents’ whom had trodden the lonely road years before, they were able to give me advice and so on. I gleaned information off the internet, I shouted at the tv when another cut was made by the government regarding Children Services I mean, I did it ALL.
You see I wanted EVERYTHING but didn’t want the label, I didn’t want to be known as a Single Parent, I didn’t even want to utter the word so for a while I regarded myself as a ‘S parent’. I categorised Single parents in the below format.
- Someone who got pregnant at school (young)
- Someone who didn’t work and had lots of children
- Loud mouthed woman with no behaviour and lots of children
- Someone who couldn’t get their boyfriend to marry them
- Someone who wasn’t good with contraception
All the above (in my mind) was not me, I mean I was MARRIED and therefore did it ‘Right’ by the church and in societies eyes. I maintained in my mind that at under no circumstances I would be described as a ‘S Parent’. In conversation with other ‘S parents’ they would use the term ‘Us single parents’ like it was a team or it was some sort of elite status, for me it wasn’t anything to be proud of and I definitely did not ask for that kind of status. Whenever I heard the S word it was surrounded with turmoil, heartache, and struggle. I was far better than that!, or was I ? I mean was I really?
I refused to see the positives of being a ‘S parent’ until I finally woke up and realised my important role. I cannot deny alot of my feelings came from guilt, I was afraid my son would grow up damaged by only having one live in parent I felt I had failed him. However it became more and more apparent that my son was happy, happy with his little life, his toys, his friends, family on both side and me as his mum. I gained confidence as a ‘S Mum’ I spoke with people about my thoughts, I took solace in other ‘S Mums’ whom had trodden the path I was on and had brought up beautiful, intelligent children into adulthood.
By speaking to these women I realised the strength it takes to get up and deal with children by yourself. Some had support of the father, others didnt. I was in awe of these women whom wore their Single Mother/Parent status with PRIDE. The other day whilst in conversation I described myself as a Single Mum, to the person I spoke with it meant nothing, to me in meant EVERYTHING.
How do you feel about being a single parent if you are?
Are you a child of a single parent family? How has it defined you?
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Miss Ali xx