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AIBU to ask you...

(22 Posts)
SnoozeTheCat Tue 21-Jul-15 10:38:59

... how you feel about this person's terminology?

I know a mother who has a 4yo DS with additional needs. His father left the family home when DS was 1.4 and moved away for a short while, but then moved to within an easy distance after around a year and has weekly overnight contact and it's all very amicable as far as I can tell.

The woman in question has lived with a (very lovely-seeming) new DP since DS was nearly 3. In the time that she had no DP around she had good support from family and friends. No doubt there was a period of time which was really very difficult, but she had a good network of support.

The mother has always been very vocal about her experiences as a single mother - she wrote a (self-indulgent but fairly well received) blog about it and organised some networking events for local single mums.

However, in the last year or so, she has begun to label herself so regularly as a "single mum" that I'm starting to feel uncomfortable about it. She is appropriating the label to draw attention to herself, usually in the context of a political discussion, but also often as a tool for self-promotion or to try and scout out freebies/similar from companies. She is making lots of noise on Twitter about the cuts and the state of services in her area, which I hope will do some good. However the majority of her self-identification as a "single mum" seems to be with the hope of getting companies to go "oh hi X, you sound like you could do with some tea and cake!" as we know they are inclined to do.

Add to this the fact that she is now far from alone in parenting her son, and is lucky enough to have a DP who supports them both so she can stay at home with him, and have a lot of family around (plenty of babysitting on hand if her night out photos are anything to go by).

I'm not particularly asking much, other than do people agree that this mum is not very "single" or "lone" and is appropriating an emotional title which should really not be thrown about for personal gain.

KatharineClifton Tue 21-Jul-15 11:13:00

I wouldn't call myself a lone parent if I lived with a partner. But I don't very much care if people do.

There are variations. Lone parents can get maintenance, time off when the other parent has the children. I have never had either. Lone/Single parent an umbrella term I've decided.

swallowed Tue 21-Jul-15 13:41:44

You aren't a lone parent if you live with a partner.

No way.

ArseForElbow Tue 21-Jul-15 13:44:26

I agree with PP, you are not a lone parent if you live with a partner.

Elfdoor Tue 21-Jul-15 14:05:41

I personally don't view that as a lone parent.

OllyBJolly Tue 21-Jul-15 14:39:28

As a lone parent for 20 years I really don't think anything. Up to her. Why does it bother anyone else?

If she does anything to crash the media stereotype that "single mums" are feckless layabouts for whom having children was a unilateral lifestyle choice then more power to her.

(I have been married for two years and although my two are now in their 20s, to an extent I'm still very much the lone parent. No one else shares the concerns or worries in the way that I do. They are still in contact with their dad, but it's a very different relationship. They are more like friends than parent and child. My DH didn't meet my kids until they were teenagers, and is my DH, not their parent)

starlight2007 Tue 21-Jul-15 14:46:59

I got completely distracted by your post as to how she gets free tea and cake for been a LP

cestlavielife Tue 21-Jul-15 16:17:45

why does it matter to you?

if it gets her free tea and cake... tho i think it takes a lot more for a company to give you tea and cake and it certainly wont get you the daily fail vote of confidence!

learnsomethingnew Tue 21-Jul-15 16:38:31

Actually it would bother me too to be honest. I'm on high alert 24/7 as my child has no contact with dad. I am a lone parent and its a thankless task with highs and lows every day. I singularly worry about my child and celebrate success alone. If you have a partner to tell and if you are lucky to share some of the burdens with then IMO you are not a lone parent.

swallowed Tue 21-Jul-15 17:15:13

To be honest I think it's offensive to the army of lone parents out there coping every day on their own.

KatharineClifton Tue 21-Jul-15 17:19:38

Is there a count of the actual number of lone parents who are completely on their own i.e. no shared parenting, no maintenance?

KatharineClifton Tue 21-Jul-15 17:24:01

Checked with my good friend Google and found Gingerbread stating 'The majority of single parents don’t receive child maintenance payments' - so anything from 51%.

KatharineClifton Tue 21-Jul-15 17:27:03

Read more and it's 69% of lone parents who receive no maintenance. I'm quite shocked at that.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 21-Jul-15 17:34:06

Yanbu. If you live with a partner you by definition aren't lone. Neither do I think you are a lone parent if childs dad involved to a decent extent, single parent home perhaps. Like those mums that say they are virtually lone parents because their 'hubby' works away.
Although at least it makes a change from the usual single mum in the media with 7 delinquent kids and a self declared deliberate career choice to claim income support forever

KatharineClifton Tue 21-Jul-15 17:38:15

'Like those mums that say they are virtually lone parents because their 'hubby' works away.'

Yy, that really boils my blood! So you are able to bring in two incomes, have two sets of input on major decisions, and two to share major events. Really takes the piss.

swallowed Tue 21-Jul-15 17:43:26

I don't think maintenance makes much of a difference to be honest.

Firstly, it's usually a pittance, and secondly maintenance coming into the bra each month from someone who you have nothing or very little to do with, isn't "support".

It's still you dealing with the 2am vomiting, and not having anyone to take over the next day to give you a break for a couple of hours. Knowing that there's no other parent who you can call for help or to share the good stuff with.

Lurkedforever1 Tue 21-Jul-15 17:47:05

Whilst being told how lucky you are not to have to worry about making time for your partner.

swallowed Tue 21-Jul-15 18:17:51

Actually I do regard that as an upside smile

swallowed Tue 21-Jul-15 18:19:01

Oh, by the way, maintenance doesn't come into my bra, it comes into my bank. Although I could fit it into my bra in small denominational notes because it really ain't very much smile

Lurkedforever1 Tue 21-Jul-15 18:44:26

Not after 48hrs up with an ill toddler but yes usually I do too. I just object to being told so by people not in that situation.
Lol, my maintenance in coins after a decade would fit in my ear!

OllyBJolly Tue 21-Jul-15 22:15:52

Oh, by the way, maintenance doesn't come into my bra, it comes into my bank. Although I could fit it into my bra in small denominational notes because it really ain't very much

That gave me a stitch I laughed so much. thanks swallowed!

I agree with you - I look back and I think in some ways it was nice just being the three of us. We had great times and our house was always the fun house.

But yes - when DD2 was in hospital with meningitis, when 15 yr old DD1 goes out for the night and doesn't come home until 3am, when you're up retching all day and night but still have to get them fed, dressed and looked after, when the cash machine says no and you only have half a loaf in the cupboard (I baked one - the kids will NEVER let me forget the bricks they took to school),'s bloody hard shouldering all of that on your own.

proudmummy2004 Fri 24-Jul-15 00:19:11

I assumed a lone parent was somebody parenting their child or children on their own, living on their own with them - regardless of whether the father is involved or not, or regardless of maintenance or not. I am confused.

I consider myself a single/lone parent because I have been on my own for nearly 8 years now. My XP left and lives elsewhere but has loads of contact with our DD, sees her loads and also pays maintenance. So what hat do I come under?

As for OP, not really sure how it is relevant to you tbh but I agree, she should not promote the single/lone parent image if she now has a DP living with her. x

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