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Single parents all tarred with the same brush ?

(83 Posts)
roseyposeysmum Mon 15-Aug-11 10:08:00

Met a very nice lady yesturday with an awful lot to say about single parents.

I work in a pub at the weekends and she came in while my dd was being picked up by her dad to do the swap over, she launched into a rant about single parents being lazy not working, they should stay together for the sake of the kids etc.

As she drew breath i very sweetly informed her that actually she had caught me on a day where i was working my 2nd job to make up the 60 hours plus i work a week to keep my dd with a roof over her head, and in clothes etc. And that when i wasn't at work i was looking after my dd because her dad can't be bothered. This equals 7 days a week of work plus a 3 year old.

But it made me wonder why we get this stick ? I work damn hard to make sure dd does not go without yet still get eyes rolled at me etc when i say i am a single parent. In my eyes i do double the work smile

I then told her i loved being a single parent as the relationship i have with my dd is a very close one and she is a real mummy's girl because i put in a lot of hard work and effort.

She still rolled her eyes though.

Anybody else come across this ?

corlan Mon 15-Aug-11 10:26:03

I meet this every now and again - especially as I work with children and people love to blame a child's problems on the fact that the mother is a single parent.

I think it sprouts from ignorance and the need to feel superior to others in some way. Plenty of married women are crap parents and it may be the only way they can feel better than us!

The glaring error in this woman's theory is that they always blame the single mother - the person that is actually doing the hard job of raising the child on their own. You very rarely hear them have anything to say on the subject of absent fathers which makes me think there is a lot of fear and envy wrapped up in their opinion of single mothers.

I'm bloody brilliant and you sound brilliant too - so bollocks to them I say!

HMTheQueen Mon 15-Aug-11 10:32:41

I've had this a couple of times - when I mention that I am a single parent (widow) I am told it's not the same and doesn't count for me.

Apparently because I didn't choose to be a single parent, I don't fit into their narrow minded categories. Someone who is escaping domestic violence still fits in their catergory though. hmm

They don't know what they are talking about. We work twice as hard and we take all the crap.

But we have great kids - and when they are the leaders of the next generation, this sort of crap won't be spouted. grin

gillybean2 Mon 15-Aug-11 12:51:01

When I hear people moaning about single mothers parents I make sure they know they are talking about me now.
They don't do it at work any more, at least not in front of me, when I interjected with 'what single parents like me you mean?' and they were all 'no of course not you...' hmm

FeelingOld Mon 15-Aug-11 13:19:40

gillybean - i have had that too, been in a group of people who have moaned/commented/complained about single mothers and i say 'well now i know how you perceive me' and they mumble about how they dont mean me, they mean young single mums 'sponging' off the state (i am 46 so obviously dont fall into that catagory!!)

But i must admit on the whole i have found people supportive of me, they admire the fact i am a single mum of 2 fantastic kids aged 16 and 11 (who so far have not been in trouble or truented and am keeping my fingers crossed as i type that bit!! ) and i work fulltime and am also the main carer of my disabled parents. Lots of people tell me that they dont know how us single parents do it.

26minutes Mon 15-Aug-11 13:31:13

Oh yes, I've had huge rucks in the past. The most memorable being when I really kicked off at someone complaining about how 'single mums get everything handed to them on a silver platter'. Apparently I was taking it too personally, being too hormonal (being pg at the time) and was out of order for commenting because I, apparently, knew nothing about the person who made the comment.

MeMySonAndI Mon 15-Aug-11 18:11:33

Yes, I have had the school governor telling me about her strong demands for her child to be changed to another classroom so he could not befriend "that single child without a father", when I pointed out the child do have a father she went on saying that "but no parental influence from him!' (he has, and plenty). Before I left her talking on her own I pointed out I have a single child and I'm divorced.... She went on...

Incidentally, she could have 3 single children herself as she never goes out / travels with them together, their father spent months on end abroad before touching base (but admittedly, contributes to the bills)and her children are horribly misbehaved. But for some reason the lock of marriage makes her terrible parenting OK...

brehon Mon 15-Aug-11 18:52:29

We were talking about something similar at work today. I am the only single parent in our department, every one else is married, very middle class - total opposite of me (thankfully they accept me for who I am and the damn good job i do so), anyway I pointed out that I'm damned if i do and damned if I don't. Either considered a drain on society living on benefits or horrible mother hand kids over to child minders - I do what suits my family. There has always been lone parents. There always will be. Not everyone had both parents after 2 world wars. If a partner dies they leave a lone parent. The stereotype is of 14 year old girls getting pregnant for benefits. The reality, as we all know, is a hellava lot different.

Newbabynewmum Mon 15-Aug-11 19:38:42

The term broken home offends me. My family is not broken. I do not need a plaster. We are happy and doing bloody well thank you! Hmph!

LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay Mon 15-Aug-11 19:47:30

Let's hear it for the men here too. My DH raised two smashing girls on his own when his feckless first wife walked out on him (after serially shagging everythigg in sight... his children told me, not him!) and he has had every 'single parent' label thrown at him - as well as being slagged off for having been so abusive to his wife (he wasn't), that she had no choice.

Ah. Still. David Cameron knows all about broken Britain and what causes it. No doubt....

piellabakewell Mon 15-Aug-11 20:03:44

With you on the 'broken home' bit kids have two parents who happen not to live together any more, but the current set up is considerably less broken (and miserable, and a poor role model) than the previous one!

Snorbs Mon 15-Aug-11 20:08:27

LostMyIdentityAlongTheWay, I'll be honest - I'm a single father and I've not heard any feckless-single-parent stuff aimed at me. I have had people say that I simply must get out there and find another woman to help me with my DCs (which I was more than a bit hmm about) but in my experience the flack that single parents get is pretty much all aimed at single mothers. I blame the Daily Mail and its ilk.

adamschic Mon 15-Aug-11 23:03:42

It will only get worse. I notice our government are throwing single parents into the mix when looking at blame for the riots. They have it in for us.

happybubblebrain Mon 15-Aug-11 23:22:58

Adamschic - they do have it in for us. They are scapegoating. And a government that does that is an extremely sick and dysfunctional one.

I never bought into any of this 'Broken Britain' the tories were spouting, but it does seems a great deal more broken now than it did a year or so ago. My family isn't broken, we have a great life, my daughter is doing really well and we don't fit any of the stupid bloody stereotypes.

Bandwithering Mon 15-Aug-11 23:26:25

They blame the mothers that the fathers left.

Well in my case I left for good reasons, and I tell you if David Cameron's sister, or daughter went through/ever goes through what I did he'd tell her to leave too.

Bandwithering Mon 15-Aug-11 23:29:06

Yeah I hate that term 'broken' as well. And the next time somebody says that to me (a relative did recently) I'm going to say 'actually we were broken when we lived under the same roof. I fixed it by leaving'.

Bandwithering Mon 15-Aug-11 23:32:21

HMTheQueen, I should have murdered my x then! it would have been more respectable.

TastyMuffins Mon 15-Aug-11 23:38:14

I once had two colleagues going on about how awful it was to send young children off to childcare and how selfish it was for mothers to work when how could they be sure anyone else would care for their children properly, just outside the open door of my glass office! I was furious, my DS was 2 and I had not long started working there after my marriage broke down. I think when I mentioned to them at a much later date that I was a single mother, one said that it was such a shame for my DS that his parents split up before he could remember what it was like for us to be together. I put her straight and said it was easier for him and now he doesn't regret what he never knew.

Another time in a pub two or three old loud men were sitting near the family area when I went in with DS, moaning loudly about foreigners coming over here and single mothers and basically anyone who wasn't a drunk old white man. It was absolutely awful to listen to. Unfortunately I was mystery shopping the place otherwise I would have gone up to them and let them know that I was a foreigner, a single mother and a tax payer. As it was I complained discretely to the staff who could obviously hear it all and they did ask them to tone it down. Didn't give the place a good report though and I won't go back there.

Mostly I'm quite happy to surprise any moaners who have not bothered to consider that a Single Parent could well be amongst them. I like to think that by drawing their attention to the fact that to the untrained eye, we look like normal people and can do normal jobs and be educated and are not always young, it helps to smash the stereotype.

GalaxyAddict Mon 15-Aug-11 23:38:50

I wrote to David Cameron following his bit in the press about how Absent Fathers should be treated like drink drivers, and his PA phoned and arranged for me to go and see him in September! He is my local MP, so it is not such a big deal. Going to take my baby with me, I wonder if I should get my boobs out & feed her in front of himwink

blackeyedsusan Tue 16-Aug-11 00:44:37

my home is broken... h broke it, put his fist through a door and another one off the hinges. might have broken me too (rather than just repairable damage) if i hadn't have got out. not had many comments though. not many people realise yet though if i do get any, i will be asking if they preferred that i stayed with him "til death do us part" because, looking back i am lucky to have not driven the car off the road when thumped, or him drive the car off the road whilst thumping me, or that I ducked when stuff was thrown and it hit my thick skull and not my neck, or that he only made a half hearted attempt at grabbing me around the neck.

Kewcumber Tue 16-Aug-11 00:55:39

I love playing the "single mother on benefits" card because people don't realise because I'm older and posh.

I keep quiet that DS was adopted though as they instead think I occupy a "special" place reserved for Mother Teresa types and I get called "brave" and "marvellous" hmm

Try claiming your childrne were adopted, it;ll be a revelation to you!

blackeyedsusan Tue 16-Aug-11 01:08:27

i would kewcumber, but they would only believe it if i had an identical twin from whom I had adopted as one of my dc's looks very like me. the other quite like me.

Kewcumber Tue 16-Aug-11 01:39:58

Put them in fancy dress and no-one will notice wink

roseyposeysmum Tue 16-Aug-11 08:44:15

I hate the term broken as well - we were broken till i moved out now we are very fixed and happy.

They find it strange that a 3 year old can grown up normal coming from a "broken" family.

I could have happily strangled her, think she was put in her plaace by the end of it though, i am 30 and work hard for my dd. smile

myfriendflicka Tue 16-Aug-11 09:11:52

Misogyny, pure and simple.

Mainly it's women who are single parents, so society demonises them and tries to lower their collective self esteem. To cover up the fact that they are doing a very difficult job, often in trying circumstances, and they should be given recognition, praise and proper support. This is designed to stop them from campaigning for more money/support/a fairer court system, because it's their own fault, they "haven't worked at their relationship" are "feckless", etc.

It makes me very angry. Nobody ever thinks about what would happen to children of families where the parents are split up/one is dead etc if the other one (usually a woman) did NOT pick up all the slack/financial difficulties etc and look after them - ie, was actually as feckless as they say we are - and said, no, I'm not doing it, sorry I CAN"T etc, and disappeared.

Then what would happen?! What would the Government do about that, if it happened in large numbers? Great big orphanages? And then everyone would see what a crap parent the state is, compared to single parents.

Sometimes I feel that single parents should call a general strike, and end up on the steps of Number 10. Of course it wouldn't happen, because the kids would suffer.

I hope this prejudice will work out eventually - because of the children of single parents growing up and having a voice. Two friends of mine, who were both brought up by single parents, have very vehement things to say in support of their upbringing and their mothers. And I can't imagine their children would be expressing any prejudice about it.

So perhaps positive in the long term, but that is not much comfort now.

I am also a single parent and widow BTW.

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