Being a single mother is not the walk in the park that Jeremy Kyle or the Tory government would have you believe it is. Not if it’s done properly. Over the last couple of days I have nursed a very poorly boy whilst hardly being able to lift my own head off the pillow. In the early hours of this morning as I lay in bed with a soaring temperature and a hacking cough I had the opportunity to reflect on what the last 5 years of lone parenthood has meant for me. It has been a full time job… and the rest. I have been a mum and a dad, a teacher, a doctor, a social worker, a psychologist, good cop/bad cop, chauffeur, clown, cleaner, cook. I’ve been Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny. I have been disciplinarian and a warm shoulder to cry on, sometimes at the same time.
And all done on next to no salary, no holidays or sick days. Oh, what I would have given for a sick day yesterday.
I have worked tirelessly and on my own to raise my happy, healthy, well rounded and intelligent little boy. There have been moments where I have gone to bed at night and cried with the pressure and weight of responsibility that being a lone parent can bring. But there have also been moments of sheer giddy happiness. And on the whole I am pleased with the way I have done things and proud of how my little boy has turned out.
Single mothers (and let’s face facts it always seems to be mothers) get such bad press. I’ve never fully understood why. After all, being a parent is the hardest job in the world. Being a single parent is doubly difficult. Negative stereotypes would have you believe that we are the scourge of society, a prime cause of social breakdown, the sole responsibility for ‘Broken Britain’. I would urge the people who believe this to spend a week in the shoes of a single parent. Have they ever wondered why some people find themselves in the challenging and often unwanted position of bringing up a child on their own? It is unfair to tar everyone with the same brush. I am profoundly aware that there are single parents who abuse the system. Sadly it is this small percentage that politicians and certain sections of the press tend to focus on, forgetting that the majority of us are simply trying to get by and do the very best we can. Sometimes bringing up a child in the face of such hostility and misunderstanding can be intolerable.
So as we draw to the end of another year I would like to reflect upon what has brought me to this point in my life. To take stock of where I am and where I would like to be this time next year. And above all to extend my warmest wishes to parents everywhere. Especially single parents since this time of year brings with it its own unique challenges.
It can be a tough old life sometimes but there is nothing I would have done differently. I hope that Junior and I feel much better tomorrow so that we can fully enjoy the magic of Christmas morning together. For it is moments like those that make all the hard work worthwhile and remind me why I am the luckiest Mummy in the world.
Happy Christmas x