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Posts Tagged ‘single parents’

It’s a wonder any single parent can get out from under the duvet, let alone show their face in public with all these hideous media stories about. Oh, but hang on a minute, we’re all too busy bringing up to children to give a hoot.

No one can have missed the raging debate about multiple birth and underage parenting. I’m not upset by these stories, but I know people really who are. Who are we to decide if a woman has a right to bear 14 children? Well the chattering classes think not and Octomum Nadya Suleman is getting a bashing in the media (we all know she’s got 14 but the moniker for the latest litter just makes better copy).

Can a boy be a father at 12? Well depending the on the results of a DNA test, for now, little Alfie Patten is believed to be that very thing. And yes, people are horrified. And the Mum is only thirteen. The mind boggles at how they even managed it at that age!

These pantomime stories won’t last long – and they fall into the deep dark well of what I call Plastic Parenting. In the same way that glamour models will go up to a FF cup with plastic surgery to get the biggest boobs (and bucks) on the block, these people will go to any lengths to exploit their fertility in what can only be described as the new sport of extreme breeding.

These stories are just fuel to the fire when it comes to single parenting or in fact conceiving children outside of the bedroom. But this goes on everyday without the grabbing headlines. In fact, the real stories are being pushed to the back pages.

The charity Gingerbread published a story recently about it’s research into what happens to families once they break up. Apparently many children lose contact with one parent, about one in three are left with a big question mark above their heads. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault?

The Children’s Society also published a report, damning selfish parents and working Mothers, because it was so sensationalist, it got covered everywhere and I’m pretty disappointed about the whole thing. The Gingerbread story, a more realistic and poignant snapshot of our times has received a lot less media exposure. If they had decided to run with a sensationalist headline, say, one in three Mothers loses contact with their children after family break up, instead of one in three Fathers, I’m sure a tabloid witch hunt would be underway by now.

Now, I’m just going to get on with the rest of half term and put the newspapers away…

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…okay, okay, I’ve been lax and not posting recently, I needed to get Christmas out of the way and all the rest. I’d gone into the Christmas break with a flu and unemployment pending so it didn’t feel great and was dreading the whole thing as Miniminx was spending it with her Dad – boo hoo.

In the days before Christmas, I had a look around the internet for anything discussing single parents alone at Christmas – I looked not once, but many times. What for? So I didn’t feel so alone in my situation and such a social pariah – it made me cringe talking to the other school Mums in the playground, it seemed everyone was set for family time except me so it’s hard not to feel bad about the whole situation. I have one foot in the family camp and the other firmly planted in single life these days and this time of the year is the time it really comes to the fore. This Christmas thing seems to be the last taboo – no matter where I looked or what terms I searched under, there were meagre pickings and no advice available even on mumsnet or chat rooms. I used to really like mumsnet until David Cameron did a webchat for them and that nixed it for me – I can’t help but think of it as smug middle class mumsyish twaddle. I feel on the outside looking in and don’t visit the site anymore – why should politics come in to Motherhood??? Grrrrr….

My big question is why don’t people talk about the effect of post separation life – the 14 day rota that evolves as every other weekend is child-free? Is it just too painful? When I lived in bohemian East London there were more people in my situation, now in the W4 middle class ghetto, I’m the odd one out – career girl/single Mum, not stay at home earth Mother.

A couple of days after Christmas, Miniminx called me and we watched a movie, Tooth, together on the phone which was really funny – I mean the film was funny and we were sharing an experience even though we were miles apart. We missed each other like hell so it was great to get her home finally.

So my thinking on this internet community stuff is that people don’t really connect on things that matter to me. I suppose I should have posted something myself somewhere – it’s always been a heinous thought – how can children be wrenched away from their Mother’s on Christmas day? I remember hearing about Princess Diana spending the day alone without her boys and thinking it was tragic, never for once imagining that would one day be my fate, or as it happens, every other year. But I suppose, I signed up to be a fair parent post break up and ensure Miniminx has a life with her Father so that is that…

Happily I spent time with friends and had a great day and we made up for the day by having our own Christmas when Miniminx came home. Thanks Lucky Voice for a fab birthday – I sang my heart out along with my buddies and it was brilliant.

So it’s all on the up now, the dread has gone – I am free of 2008 and going to the gym every day and looking out for a fab job – but there’s not much about. In the meantime, I have to fill my days which is pretty easy. Miniminx is happy I can pick her up from school everyday. I’ve always found the lull between jobs gets pretty stressful after a while. I had a meeting last week with a recruiter and felt pretty ambivalent about the whole thing – having to grin and bear my situation while selling myself as hard as possible. In reality, the meeting went very well and the recruiter told me the job market never gets going until the second week of January, so hang on in there. So in order to keep my spirits up and feel good, the only way for me is to keep active – Wii fit (well it was Miniminx’s pressie) is getting a look in – and my gym gets to see me more. I’m doing yoga, pilates, running and swimming and lots of walking. Hopefully I’ll see a size-mic shift (ho ho) and all this exercise does help beat the January blues which is no mean feat. I’m still loading up my iPod and heading off to my storage unit this week to dig out years of old CDs which I can rediscover – I’m definitely filling my time with inane mundane stuff which I would never usually do if I was working, but it makes my days meaningful. I’m being more social as well – we’ve struck up a friendship with a family a few doors down which is fab – and meeting new people.

I’ve decided I’m going to try something new every day and today I’m going to create a collage on a giant blank canvas…how poetic.

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