This is a bit of a rant but as a very reluctant single mother I feel I need to stand up for the majority of lone parents that didn’t choose to bring their children up on their own.
There has been a lot of media hype over the last few days about single parents, in particular, single mothers. The charity Gingerbread are campaigning to change the prejudice of single parent families. Apparently the average age of single parents is 36 years and only 2% of single parents are teenagers. I refuse to accept that anything other than the minority of lone parents on benefits are on them for any other reason than necessity. I would like to compare those numbers with families with two parents on benefits.
I have a chip on my shoulder…it’s a rather large one.
I hate that I am called a single parent. I hate that I have become a statistic and that I am now lumped into a category that the media typically portrays as scroungers.
Single Mothers on state benefits make ‘ lifestyle choice’ This article published just a couple of days ago on the Telegraph.co.uk site takes it findings from a study conducted by sociologist Mr Dench.
Mr Dench said: “It seems that lone motherhood is less a result of relationship breakdown, more a lifestyle choice.
“And the existence of state benefits as source of economic security seems to be encouraging young mothers not to bother with male resident partners.”
Although no numbers are provided the study apparently shows that the rates of married or co-habiting mothers gaining employment has increased steadily and yet only a small rise for single mothers. It doesn’t mention that this may possibly be because two incomes increases the likelihood of being able to afford childcare or that childcare is shared between the spouses. An option not available to single parents.
The study also found that the numbers of single mothers believing that “being a housewife is rewarding” has increased by 12% since a study carried out in 1990. So….for all those doing the unrewarding, worthless job of ‘home-maker’ take heed. Or does this only apply if you are a ‘single mother’ ? So chip yes, you are getting bigger. I don’t understand why the question was asked, if they had said “no it’s not rewarding” I’m sure there would have been criticism over that too.
What a lot of these articles have in common is their focus on single mothers in particular, they forget that in most cases there was a man involved, a willing father. What is their role in helping ‘single’ mothers stay off benefits? Or their role in aiding their ex partners to hold down a job if necessary?
I chose to have five children with the support of my husband and with the intention of them being privately educated, therefore at no cost to the ‘state’. We made the decision together that I would stay at home to bring up our children thus relinquishing any career. My career prospects at the moment are zilch, I would be lucky to earn half of what my child care costs would be. That is if I could find a job that would fit around a school that finishes at 3pm. All of my choices have been taken away, three of my children have had to go into the state education system. I have no idea what the future holds for us, I will of course start studying at home to try and increase my chances of gaining employment as soon as I possibly can.
I think far too often women are vilified for inadvertently finding themselves left literally ‘holding the baby’, unsupported. This really has got to change.
I would like to state that I am not receiving any benefits.