Tricky question that one isn’t it. Do us single parents need more support? I mean, from the outside looking in, you’d think we get enough, especially when compared to back in the day. I’m sure you have your opinion, and I thought it would only be fair to weigh in with mine.
Yeah, we do need more support, if not for us, for our children.
Here’s the thing;
I work as much as I can to keep the wolf from the door, juggling my job around school/preschool so I’m still a present mum in the kid’s lives, so they don’t miss out just because I’m the only parent around. As a single parent, I’m very aware of the fact that my kids didn’t start out life with just one parent to rely on, it took a long time for me to have the guts to admit that their lives would be better if their dad and I didn’t live under the same roof. I think I speak for many other single parents, you don’t go into a life of solo parenting lightly. You weigh up the pros and cons, and when the pros win you deal with it, yet always with that sense of guilt of taking your family on that one parent road.
But, and it’s a big one, having 2 parents around meant they could all still go to friends houses for play dates or weekend and after-school activities, I could help them with their homework and still put a home cooked meal on the table. The house was well maintained, the garden a safe place to play in and there wasn’t one adult trying to split themselves in 3 ways so nobody ended up in adult therapy.
Put it simply, there was an extra pair of hands to share the load.
Not any more. To keep things running as smoothly as they were before, my days now end much later, my weekends are very rarely rest days and mentally, I cant share concerns about my kids with someone who understands them as their parent, who knows their history or wants the same outcomes that only a parent has. No one to offload without judgement when things crop up and whirl around my head clouding my thoughts. I may be physically there, but I’m not as present mentally as I once was.
I have jobs in my house which need doing but I just can’t manage them myself. Like the chuffing great big broken basketball stand lying in my drive which I can’t physically dispose of. Or large maintenance jobs in my garden which have been there since before my husband left. We sat down to dinner at stupid o’clock but the 4 year old was too tired to eat last night because I was taxi-ing the teens from their school & college events which went on later than I anticipated. My most uttered phrase these days, is I wish I had more time.
Time is the one thing which has no price, because while I’m spending all my (none existent) free time trying to make my home safe, who’s looking after the kids? While I’m mentally thinking of everything which I need to do, I’m not there for my kids. While I’m trying to work in the evenings, I don’t have time to read that extra book to my son, because if I do, then the washing doesn’t get sorted, school uniforms aren’t ready for the next day. The teens can walk the dog & empty the dishwasher, but when my son’s coming home from college at 7pm, exhausted, and homework to do, how do I ask him to fill the gap his dad’s departure left?
So while I champion on about the positives of being a single parent, and there are many, that one question, which popped up on my Facebook news feed this week; Do single mothers need more support, got me thinking, yes we do.
Not financially, but physically. Most of us are proud, independent people, I’m shouting out for all the single dads too. We will do what we can to provide for our families so our kids don’t suffer the consequence of whatever reason it is for them living in a one parent household.
But there will always be a gap from the extra pair of hands, now gone.
That’s where we need the support. We’re not a burden on society, raising children in unhappy homes is the consequence of staying in bad relationships, what about the many single parents who are widows, are they to be punished for finding themselves in that situation? If society supported single parents enough so they could parent their children only good will come of it, surely?
And Bronwyn on Facebook, who thinks we get enough. You may have managed to bring up your daughter single handed back in the 1970’s, but sweetie, you lived with your parents who shared the load. Maybe you should rethink that answer?