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Anyone feel stigmatised about being a SAH single mother?

(335 Posts)
hammerhead Thu 21-Jul-11 22:47:01

Just wondering if anyone else feels stigmatised about being a SAH mum on income support? DS is preschool and a lot of people seem surprised I don't have a job. I get the impression they think I'm on jobseekers and actively avoiding employent. I'll be quite happy to work when DS is in school but want to stay at home when he is still little. I worked before DS was born and have paid a lot of tax over the years, but some people still make out like I'm a scrounging chancer.

circlehead Thu 21-Jul-11 23:10:10

I understand, I am in the same position and feel the same. Ds is 11mo and I intend to return to work when he goes to school. The way I see it, if I am entitled to I/S until then, then I intend to take advantage of that. The stigma of being a ''scrounger'' is irrelevent if it means I can be around for DS while he is little. I just hold my head up high and know that I am doing the best thing for my DS.

choccyp1g Thu 21-Jul-11 23:15:35

Yes, I sometimes feel judged and the irony is I don't even get income support as I receive a small pension due to redundancy/early retirement.
I do get Child Tax Credit, which I feel no guilt over, as it is tiny compared to the tax I paid over my 28 years of working.

gillybean2 Fri 22-Jul-11 10:10:27

No, never felt that way. I was SAHM until ds started primary. However we live in a small village and there are way more SAHM's than working ones.

AnnieLobeseder Fri 22-Jul-11 10:19:16

Sorry, but I judge anyone, single or not, who stays home on the taxpayers bill just because they fancy it. Thousands of women who would love to SAH with their children are working their arses off because they don't have any misplaced sense of entitlement. Unless your child has some special needs or you genuinely can't afford childcare with tax credits, you are being treated as a scrounging chancer because you are one. Paying tax for years doesn't entitle you to take a holiday from working when you feel like it.

shmoz Fri 22-Jul-11 10:21:22

Same here...I might go back to work part time when DS is a little bit older, or I might wait until he's at school.

I had no idea when I got pregnant that the company where I worked would fold, & I would end up being a single SAHM mum.

If people are a bit hmm at me for not working, that's their problem. I also worked for 20odd years and consider I've paid enough tax over that time to have a some back through tax credit.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Fri 22-Jul-11 12:25:07

This is a support thread Annie.

HairExtensions Fri 22-Jul-11 13:05:36

I felt like that during the months I stopped working - left my job to move 230 miles away, with 3 DC aged 5, 3, 2 years. I'm back at work now albeit part time due to the job market here and difficulties with childcare.

But tbh I think I was judging myself more than anything. I don't judge others though that choose to stay at home.

berkshirefem Fri 22-Jul-11 15:03:52

I don't agree wholeheartedly with annie as I have a little more compassion and there's always abigger picture to consider.

But I don't agree with the sentiment "I paid tax for x amount of years so I deserve it" The tax you pay doesn't go in to a pot. It gets spent. Budgets are created on snapshots of the government pot not on: X person has paid in 50k over the last 4 years so in 2 years they'll probably take out 10k in benefits when they have a child.
While you're earning and paying tax you are contributing to the costs of public services, and when you are not working you are not.
If you need to not work then other peoples taxes are there to support you, and thank god they are; how civilised that we help eachother out in times of need, I wouldn't have it any other way.

But the anger shouldn't be directed on those who take up opportunities offered to them by the government, it should be at the government who allows it, IMHO.

Meglet Fri 22-Jul-11 15:10:17

I wouldn't judge a lone parent who doesn't work. I have to work with pre-schoolers and its a nightmare. The kids are fine but I'm a wreck!

jellybeans Fri 22-Jul-11 15:23:17

I am a SAHM but not lone parent. I would NEVER EVER judge a lone parent who SAH on I/S or other benefit. I HIGHLY admire them for managing their home/kids etc. on their own. Too often they do the work of both parents. I am knackered and I have a partner!!!The thought of doing it ALL on my own is quite scary and to fit a paid job on top would be hell unless it was something I was ready for. Why should the kids not have a SAHM just because the dad cleared off (in some cases).

My friend is a lone mum and has only just gone back to work with youngest aged almost 10. I highly admire her and think she was right to SAH (because she wanted to and was right for her kids-this of course is different for different people-for some work might be a preference). She did alot of voluntary work. However, she did feel judged and I often told her to ignore people, people will slag you off for anything they don't understand. Often it is working mums resentful that they don't have a choice. Understandable in a way but taking the choice away from someone else isn't going to help. All mums of small children should be able to SAH if they want and be supported to work/training etc when they are ready or kids are older. I also think they should be allowed to do voluntary work instead of paid for a while, my friend was not allowed this.

jellybeans Fri 22-Jul-11 15:27:39

'to take a holiday from working when you feel like it.'

Hardly a holiday being a lone parent to small children!!
Some of us see full time parenting as a job in itself!!!
After all, childcarers do the same thing, just for other people.
Another thing, many times as much benefits are paid when supporting lone parents into work/with childcare etc. Sometimes they don't earn enough to pay tax. Why not let them have a choice for those first years (primary age)?

berkshirefem Fri 22-Jul-11 15:36:02

jelly How is it that some mum's are just jealous because they don't have the choice confused
Every single mum with young children has the choice to stop work and live of IS etc...

Cassidysmommy Fri 22-Jul-11 17:12:14

I am a SAH mom and a single mommy. I am going back to work part time when my lil girl is 1, to be honest i dont care what people think of me, i have always worked but when i got pregnant from that second my daughter came first and she always will. I consider being a single mom a full time job as its a 24 hour thing, and i enjoy every second. Yeh i am on i/s but every bit of money i have goes on bills and caring for my little girl, i think some people are to quick to judge before they know the circumstances. I am proud to be a single and a SAH mommy and to be quite honest people shouldnt judge others. Back in the day women were married and had children from a young age and were ordered to stay at home and look after there children not work. I think this society is becoming to bitchy and people should concentrate on their own libes instead of judging others. You should be proud that your looking after your lo 24/7 I know i am smile x

jellybeans Fri 22-Jul-11 17:15:24

I just said that often the people who resent lone parents having that choice are working mums who don't feel they have the same choice. I said that was understandable but taking the choice away from those who have it is not a step forward. We should all have the choice to put our kids care before work for a few years in terms of time.

I'm not exactly sure what you meant but not everyone can just go on IS as they may have a mortgage etc-single mum or otherwise (my friend was in such a situation). And it can't be that glamourous to do so or everyone would want to be on benefits.

NoelEdmundshair Fri 22-Jul-11 17:29:37

You should only be a SAHM if you have a working husband or partner to support you.

jellybeans Fri 22-Jul-11 17:31:09

Isn't that abit unfair. It isn't their fault the father isn't supporting them.

PaigeTurner Fri 22-Jul-11 17:52:33

I'm a single mum on IS - but I also have a mortgage (which now I can't afford).

I don't judge those who manage to survive on benefits and SAH, but I couldn't personally live on benefits for five years - they don't even cover my bills every month. I'm currently selling my flat in order to re-train and support myself and my DS until I can get back into a (better) job - hopefully when he is 3.

hammerhead Sat 23-Jul-11 00:38:17

Thanks for the comments and support. I am proud of what I do. It would be impossible to work anyway as the nearest child minder is 10 miles away and I don't have a car. Yes Annie, I do have a sense of entitlement, but it is not misplaced IMO. My only other options would to leave DS(4) home alone (this was quite common in the past) or to give him away to a wealthy couple who could afford to feed him.

I agree with Cassidysmommy, people are becoming quite bitchy and self righteous. I do appreciate all the people who work and pay tax, but it doesn't automatically make someone a saint just because they are employed. I see myself as doing a job too and hope that DS will grow up to be a useful asset to society. Living on benefits covers all my necesities but it isn't an easy life that most sane people would choose. When I did work I was grateful to have a very worthwhile job that I loved. There seems to be a divide developing with workers feeling increasingly resentful of those without a job.

Berkshirefem, being on benefits doesn't make me some kind of a fool who doesn't understand the tax system!!!! I only mentioned paying tax to emphasise that I was happy to work and contribute in the past and that I hopefully will in the future. I strongly believe that lone parents should be allowed 5 years to raise their children at home, but also think they should do their best to work before they have children and when their children are in school, if possible.

NoelEdmundshair Sat 23-Jul-11 00:58:22

"There seems to be a divide developing with workers feeling increasingly resentful of those without a job"

Gosh - I wonder why that would be hmm.

ninah Sat 23-Jul-11 01:12:58

you know I saw Noel Edmonds recently
his hair is criminal, it's as big as he is

NoelEdmundshair Sat 23-Jul-11 02:12:18

but at least old Noel is supporting himself -and his hair wink

Bottom line is that the benefits system is there to support people who can't work, it's not a lifestyle choice. Although for some people on this thread it sadly is.

moonferret Sat 23-Jul-11 03:01:41

I believe that single mums should stay at home and look after their child(ren)! I also believe that the taxpayer and father(s) should contribute where necessary. I'm not saying that people should intentionally opt for that situation, but those who find themselves there should be supported. There are very few jobs out there, so when mums have a "job" looking after their child(ren), at least it takes some out of the jobs market. Shame the remaining millions still can't find anything....
Maybe when everyone else has a job, we can start hassling single mums...but that isn't going to happen, is it?

gillybean2 Sat 23-Jul-11 03:39:25

Being a single parent isn't a life style choice for most though.

NoelEdmundshair Sat 23-Jul-11 08:30:18

Being a single mum on benefits is though, gillybean.

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