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p****d off with the stereotype!

(33 Posts)
nightowl Wed 10-Aug-05 03:04:56

its been a really bad and stressful day today and i need a rant. i am sick and tired of seeing snide remarks about lone parents. (ok i apologise totally if im feeling rather insecure and taking things the wrong way).

i am a lone parent. my two children have different fathers. i live in a council house. i claim benefit too.

i am not a lone parent through any fault of my own. i am not a slapper. my first child was planned and i was to marry his father, things just didnt work out and we split mutually. my second child was accidental yes but i was in a relationship with her father and he left me three months pregnant.

i live in a council house because when i split with my ds's father (first child), the house was too small for us (one bedroomed) and because he kept losing his job i could not get my name off the mortgage and i could not get any money back to start again. i took on a shit tip of a council house and have spent every bit of money ive earnt on this house to make it nice for me and my children.

i claim benefit at present but i have worked ever since i left school (12 years). last year i was made redundant whilst on maternity leave and took my former employers to a tribunal. it took me ten months to get back into work but i did. i was then made redundant again after three months due to a problem with the company. in the three months i was working, the inland revenue effed me up big time, so bad that i am now in debt.

so i am claiming benefit again.

my house is not dirty. i dont swear at my children or smack them. i am not a lazy person or a scrounger. so anyone here who thinks that can just back off because i am f*ed off with hearing this crap.

dont judge a book by its cover please. i have struggled and struggled to get back into work and anyone who reads my threads will see ive been cut up about this. the thing that gets me most is that when i meet someone all they see is a loser. i may be losing now but its not for lack of trying...and i wont be down for long.

so before you condemn us lone parents on benefit, take one moment to consider how we got here and how we intend to get out. apart from the qualifications i already have, i am at college and gaining more and one day i will laugh in the face of my ex employers and ex "friends".

my life has been a constant struggle (and suffering from depression really doesnt help) but i will be back up with the rest of you. walk a mile before you judge.

ok, rant over. sorry, one peed off nightowl.

sunchowder Wed 10-Aug-05 03:20:23

Sorry to hear this nightowl..I have not been following any threads that relate to what you are angry about, but I feel for you in your situation. Hopefully things will look better in the morning light. It is difficult for people to understand unless they have been in your situation and experienced it for themselves. Try your best to be grateful for all the things that you do have as hard as that is to do when you are this upset.

Don't feel that everyone is condeming you, maybe the comments were not even meant for you, yet you took them to heart. I wish you all the best.

vicimelly Wed 10-Aug-05 03:33:42

I know exactly what you mean nightowl, I'm a single parent on benefits too, I didn't choose to be single parent either, nor did I choose for my dd to be disabled but thats life!! I deal with it, and like you say I'll be up again and I am sick of people judging me too. I don't have a dirty house, swear at my children nor am I lazy either!!
Unfortunatly there are people that want to fit us into boxes, and it's all to easy to put us into that one, I also have the added bonus of being young, being 19 when I had dd, I also fit nicely into the teenage mother box
But at the end of the day I know this isn't me, I'm happy being who I am, I am happy in the knowledge that my dd is being brought up well, and as infuriating as it can be sometimes being stereotyped like this, I tend to let it wash over me, and tell myself that the people or person doing it must be so narrow minded and so stuck up their own backside they probably deserve my sympathy more than anything else


Hope you feel better soon nightowl xxxxxxx

prettyfly1 Wed 10-Aug-05 22:19:55

i too am at uni, i work but live in a council house and i do get the same as you. good on you for being so brave and holding everything together for your family darling and dont let others predjudice get oyu down, you have nothing to be ashamed of and no need to explain yourself to anyone

KBear Wed 10-Aug-05 22:24:35

You know your life story that's all that matters - hold your head up and ignore. I don't know if something on here or in RL has upset you but please don't diminish all your hard work by getting upset at someone's throw away remark.

There but for the grace of God ....

spursmum Wed 10-Aug-05 22:29:00

Vicimelly. I could have written most of your post!! Apart from the teenage mother(I was 23) I am also on benefits with a ds with ASD and have to say that I tell people to mind their own damn business. Its hard enough to raise kids on your own but to have someone tell you in no uncertain terms that you are a sub standard citizen really gets my goat.
Can you tell this irritates me too?!

weesaidie Wed 10-Aug-05 22:44:36

It is a pain in arse isn't it?

I am on benefits, but I'll lose my IS when I go to Uni is September. Don't live in a council house but do get housing benefit...

I was with my partner for two years and (stupidly now) thought he would support me when I got pregnant. WAS ON THE PILL by the way! He decided not to, and without that support I needed and happily accepted help from the state.

But my flat is lovely, my dd is lovely and I am intelligent, good person who is hopefully going to do well at uni, get a good job and become fully 'independent.'

I know that no one in my life judges me because they know my situation so well but the stereotype does piss me off sometimes!

cori Wed 10-Aug-05 22:49:52

I imagine you do feel really pissed off Nightowl.
I actually find the constant berating of loneparents quite offensive. I am not a lone parent, but I was brought up by one. My mother was on benefits for quite a while and we lived in a council house. My brother and I turned out OK. We both are well educated, earning a decent living, not particpating in antisocial behaviour on drugs, in jail etc.
In no way are we the scum of the earth some sections of the media make children of lone parent out to be.I am sure yours arent either.
It makes me very .
and

BadHair Wed 10-Aug-05 22:50:39

Stereotypes are only believed by stupid people. Anyone with a grain of sense knows that no-one fits a stereotype, so anyone who tries to put you in a "srounging single mum" box is obviously thick.
Rise above it - the only thing you can do in life is your best, and you're already doing that.

jamiesam Wed 10-Aug-05 23:01:28

God nightowl, I'm sure I've been guilty of believing the stereotype in the past (if you read it often enough in the papers etc), but recent events at home have made me realise how easy I have it. I have dh and two ds's, I work part-time, but as my wage is basically spent on childcare, I'm only really working for my own 'enjoyment'. I get to share most of bringing up the boys with my dh but on the odd occasion that one of us is out of action, we realise what bloody hard work it must be for lone parents.

Look forward to and enjoy your 'laugh', in the meantime, I think you know how well you are bringing your kids up. Good luck with college by the way.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 23:01:41

I echo what all others have said.
Although my situations's a bit different. Reluctantly i am saying this...I am a lone parent on benefits and i will very admit that it was a drunken one night stand that got me here, and I have beaten myself up for being so stupid at my age and with my intelligence, and also struggled with guilt for "sponging off the state" as a result of my stupidity, but I have learnt to be very proud that I stuck to my principles and saw the consequences through and am being a good strong mother to my daughter. I chose life and I think I deserve all the support I get.
Even though mine was a stupid mindless mistake (glad now that i made it though ), I am nowhere near a stereotype either. Perhaps the stereotype doesn't exist in rl.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 23:04:23

I'm just sitting here realising that a lot of that is just talk from me... i still feel pretty sh*t about it all and dear oh dear i'm feeling miserable now, i was obviously just getting on with life and ignoring that gnawing guilt & shame.

Lizita Wed 10-Aug-05 23:05:47

Sorry, nightowl, i guess what i'm trying to say in a roundabout way for you is what others have said - only YOU know the truth and you know you've NOTHING to be ashamed of, you've just gotta grow a thick skin and ignore the ignorance out there.

spursmum Wed 10-Aug-05 23:44:28

Don't beat yourself up Lizita. We all makes mistakes (and im sure your child is a gorgeous one too!) But you didn't go out looking to get pg like the girls who are all under 16.

Caligula Wed 10-Aug-05 23:59:23

FGS, why should we condemn girls under 16 who "go out looking to get pregnant" either? Let's face it, they didn't do it on their own. I feel sorry for any girl under 16 who in a society which condemns you out of hand for getting pregant under about the age of at least 25, still thinks the best thing she can do with her life is to get pregnant.

And most of them don't "go out looking to get pregnant" anyway. Staggering though it is, most of them are still woefully and quite stunningly ignorant about the basics of sex=pregnancy. Funnily enough, effective contraception really has made the link between recreational f*king and babies more of a surprise to a below average 14 year old than it was fifty years ago. Then, many of them knew nothing about the mechanics of sex but they did know about babies; now, they know all about the mechanics of it, but thanks to the condom culture, nothing about how unreliable contraception still is, if not used properly.

I really think we should stop trying to have a hierarchy of deserving mothers versus non-deserving ones. A child of 15 who goes out looking to get pregnant, is not someone we should be treating with contempt and scapegoating, any more than any other lone mother or any mother.

Lizita Thu 11-Aug-05 00:01:14

I've been lying in bed agonising over this thread...
Nightowl I'm really sorry, I realise I inadvertently hijacked your thread. It's dawning on me that while I initially was trying to identify with you (being a lone parent and feeling the same way about lone parent stereotypes) in actual fact it is people like me who give people like you a bad name. (That sounds awful, "people like me" & you but i don't know how else to put it).
You have been through a really tough time, my life has been a breeze in comparison and I had no right to come on here feeling all sorry for myself because of my own mistakes!

So, I'm really sorry.
Just remember you're not a loser by any stretch of the imagination...

Lizita Thu 11-Aug-05 00:04:07

Caligula, feel a bit better now I've read your post.

"I really think we should stop trying to have a hierarchy of deserving mothers versus non-deserving ones."

I was doing just that just now.

spursmum Thu 11-Aug-05 00:32:31

Sorry caligula I meant to add that I was only referring to the sisters who got pregnant between months of each other because they wanted to see who could get pregnant first. And whose mother blames everyone else but herself. She needs to take some responsibilty for her daughters. I know that most under 16s are ignorant about the whole mechanics for various reasons.
Again sorry but i was lost in the thread about "lost" at the time.

Caligula Thu 11-Aug-05 00:38:20

Understandable about the lost thread!

Yes that mother was really a one-off, wasn't she. (Hopefully!!!) But from what I gathered from the press reports, she herself had got pregnant at about 14 or 15. IE, when she herself was a child. The depressing thing is how bad we are at supporting children like this to help their children break that cycle. Government progreammes to support young mothers like these are such a low priority and yet long term, I'm sure it would save the country millions in related costs and give the children of such girls something better to look forward to than the lives of their mothers and grandmothers.

Tortington Thu 11-Aug-05 00:55:42

confucious say very wise words "f*ck'em all"
or
"before you critisise someone, first walk a mile in their shoes. that way you will be a mile away from them and have their shoes!"

stereotypes are not based on fact but from hyped up snippets from lazy journos who pander to the increasing and depressingly ever growing right of left person. as caligula rightly pointed out its ignorance - there is never an excuse for ignorance.

its just bobbins that you should have had to explain yourself in the first place.

nightowl Thu 11-Aug-05 02:01:52

im glad this thread hasnt ended up in a big fight! i realise that last night i was having a major rant and feeling rather sorry for myself (nothing new there then ). i do think i shouldnt have to explain myself but the looks of disgust i get from new people i meet sometimes make me so angry. before i had children i felt like this too but its true you just dont realise until you have been in that situation, what it is really like, and how many barriers you come across.

i only wish that people would get the full story before they judge.

ive never actually met any woman who had a baby just to get a council house. i can assume women like this exist...but im only assuming.

and if a girl of 16 feels the need for a baby then perhaps there is some other reason. maybe that girl was never shown any love by her parents and felt the need for unconditional love. im not saying i would recommend this (i definately wouldnt!!) but its not always going to be about money.

we can all make bad choices where men are concerned, its just that sometimes we have children by that relationship too. if its not working, far better to finish it than continue being unhappy in a partnership purely because we are scared of what other people will think.

a single mother does not automatically make a bad mother. some children have two parents and are abused.

how can anyone assume that a one parent family is not good for a child?

and lizita...please dont think you have hijacked the thread, or feel bad. your pregnancy may have been accidental but so what? married women have "accidental" pregnancies too. lots of them. it just never seems to get the bad press that we get. people "like you" dont give "people like me" a bad name at all. you and i are no different. we may have gotten pregnant in different circumstances but we both love and want the best for our children yes?

getting back to my point, i love my children very much. they know this. no matter what a bad day i had (oh yes, dd is very demanding and a stroppy little thing) every night, before bed, i cuddle them and tell them they are loved. that may not seem like much, but its more than i ever had, and everything i ever wanted. i may not have as much time as i would like with them...its just not possible. but noone can ever say to me that these children are mistreated and i guess thats all that matters.

essbee Thu 11-Aug-05 02:20:10

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Thu 11-Aug-05 06:55:02

Nightowl,I'm not a single parent now but I have been and I was completely shocked at how I was treated vs how I was treated when I had a wedding ring on my finger. Sorry you're feeling this way, there are lots of us who don't think like the ignorant tossers out there.

Lizita Thu 11-Aug-05 09:51:32

Thank you nightowl. You're absolutely right of course.

expatinscotland Thu 11-Aug-05 10:00:39

Dang, nightowl. Hope you're feeling better. Any threads in particular that attacked lone mothers?
Hey, I don't condemn them, but I do think the state should go after the blokes who leave them behind, and at least give over some of their benefit to their kids. That's not on to father kids and then just walk off scot-free, you know. But it seems to happen a lot.

We're working poor ourselves, although we don't receive benefit other than Child Benefit, so I know what it's like to struggle along.

It's too bad folks have to take potshots at the poor just to make themselves feel better.

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