The reality is, I’m sure you’ve never had to wait weeks, even months for any money towards your child.
The reality is, you probably don’t know what it’s like to never have a ‘sorry’ from someone who’s so unapologetic and sees nothing wrong with their actions or how it impacts their child.
The reality is, you’ve never had a pang of guilt from reading yet another article about how children from single parent families are less likely to do well academically, are more likely to suffer from mental health issues and even drug abuse, amongst many other negative statistics & research findings
The reality is, you’ve never had to experience the pitying looks when you tell people you’re raising your child alone.
And the reality is you’ve never felt like just a statistic, in the media and society where single parents are now considered ‘normal’ with over 2 million single parents in the UK but at the same time such a stereotype exists – we need to break this down and show a different side of life!
Growing up I was an only child, very much loved and spoilt by 2 parents who started out together and then when I was around 6/7 years old the unthinkable happened and my Dad moved out. I sometimes saw the hurt even though things were always covered up as much as possible, I saw my mum cry only once when my Dad couldn’t take me out one weekend. But I was very lucky and had an amazing bond with my dad, he was reliable, he had regular access and never let me down apart from that one time I can remember. I was witness to only one bad argument but now I know how difficult it is myself, and these things sometimes happen, but overall my mum and dad were able to get along with each other and always came to an agreement about when I would see him and how much maintenance he would give. When I was around 13 it was agreed that my dad would give me £100 a month, I felt like a millionaire 😂 my Dad would take me to Romford and I would treat myself to new clothes and then as I got older the make up obsession started.
I never missed out and had a very happy childhood and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. And still to this day I have a great bond with my dad as he has always been there for me and now is also always there for Kimaarah, shortly after Kimaarah was born he moved back to Essex from Kent so he could be closer to us. My dad has always been a great dad and I know that co-parenting is an amazing thing when both parents can communicate effectively and put the past aside to do what’s in the best interest of their children. Unfortunately for different reasons it doesn’t always work out like this and in 2019 it seems that the dating / relationship / situationship culture has done no favours for us women. A lot of us are putting up with men who can’t / won’t communicate like an adult, have no respect, are selfish and don’t even know how to be a man let alone a father. And that’s not me being a man hater! I’m sure I’m not the only woman who regularly wonders why I thought it was a good idea to have a child with the wrong man, we have all ignored the red flags, we have all convinced ourselves it would work out in the end and we have all been in love with the wrong person. And I have to live with that for the rest of my life! I’m surely not the only one who struggles with this on my bad days.
My last blog post was maybe taken in the wrong way by some people and I just wanted to have this chance to clarify something – I’m not saying that all mums don’t have a stressful time, I’m not saying that coupled up / married mothers have got it all figured out and have nothing to worry about, life ain’t all sunshine and roses and I’m well aware of this. All parents struggle, motherhood is a huge lifestyle change and we all make sacrifices for our children. But what I’m saying is that single mothers go through very different situations that others may not face! For example single mothers in my own experience and from speaking to others have more financial worries relating to child maintenence, none of us want to have to deal with the CMS for example but when a reasonable agreement can’t be made then this is the road we go down, some women have even told me they’re scared to ask for maintenance or they see no point because the father doesn’t work or has other children to pay for as well. The way I see it is – it’s not the father doing you any type of ‘favour’ it’s their LEGAL responsibility to pay for their child, even if you go through CMS they will usually order them to pay 15% of their salary before any tax is deducted. Which I feel is very reasonable and not asking too much at all, this money is to be used on whatever you see fit for your child whether it’s clothes, food, household bills, birthday / Christmas presents etc it all helps. Now I’m not saying that all single mums have a problem in getting child maintenance, and it shouldn’t be an issue for us but in a lot of cases it is and that’s very sad! I can assure you I don’t live off Kimaarah’s dads money, I still work in order to sustain a healthy lifestyle, there’s a lot of women out there who get no maintenance and honestly it sickens me.
Another issue that us single mothers face is when the father decides to move on, whether this was the reason for the break up, or maybe it happens months after. There are so many different things we’ve experienced, again not only myself but from speaking to others – betrayal, heartbreak, anxiety, feeling scared for what the future holds, worrying how you might cope on your own, a change of routine, sometimes moving home and moving to a different area. I was lucky here as I always rented my own flat and Kimaarah’s dad never lived with me so I was used to being on my own. But the other main issue is when they meet someone, it’s the dread that another woman will be around your child which is your pride and joy, you don’t know this person and they don’t know you apart from whatever story your ex might have told them, you want to make sure they have the right morals and act right around your child! And also you worry that now this new person is in the picture your child might miss out because their dad is too busy! Now myself I have nothing against Kimaarah’s dad moving on, we’ve both had enough time apart and I wouldn’t have him back as I’ve said many times in the past, I wish him all the best with whatever relationship he gets into. But what I have an issue with is making sure Kimaarah is around the right people in life especially as she’s still young and she’s very impressionable. It can be confusing for a young child so I’m always careful about who I introduce her to and would hope her Dad would do the same. That’s all I will say on that subject for now but watch this space as I’m really hoping that in the future a stronger co-parenting arrangement can be established.
This leads me nicely to my next point, when some uneducated woman recently tried to tell me that I was in fact not a single parent but a co-parent (hahahahaha) a struggle that many of us single mothers have is trying to find a balance for our children where they can build a great relationship with their Dads and also the Dads side of the family, I am still in contact with some of their family which is good, I want make sure that Kimaarah grows up to be well rounded and aware of both sides of her culture, I have joked in the past that Kimaarah is being raised as an Essex girl but of course she does have a whole other side to learn about and explore especially as she gets older and as well as myself teaching her about this it’s important for her to experience it from her Dad & his family. Many single mothers have a ‘baby father’ (I actually hate this term) who visits occasionally when he can find time in his busy schedule and whenever he feels it’s appropriate and convenient for him, then wants to be crowned father of the year because he posts a few photos on Instagram, please note this is not co-parenting and anyone who says it is may want to do a little research! With co-parenting I do want to write more on this as it’s a big thing when you’re a single parent, I also want to speak about the definitions of a single parent because there are women in all different circumstances, some of us separated from a partner, some divorced, widowed, some pregnant from a one night stand / casual relationship, some have a great coparenting arrangement and some have none at all! I also had a message from a lovely woman who decided to tell me that ‘people like you make me sick’ just because I’ve been on a few holidays and there’s people worse off who can’t afford to feed and clothe their kids! So just because I get to travel, I don’t have the right to feel lonely, I don’t get to worry about money, I don’t get to feel stressed about life?! People really need to think about their attitudes because it’s absolutely disgusting to say that to someone you have never met and don’t know on a personal level!
Whatever your situation is, as long as you’re doing your best I applaud you. It’s definitely not easy for single parents though and I do hope this post has brought a little more clarity about what we go through, we don’t say all of this to moan or make people feel sorry for us! I personally hate people being sorry for me, all I want is for people to be mindful and empathetic, I want to raise awareness and use my platform to empower other single mothers to share their stories and to feel more positive about life. I appreciate everyone who messages me on a daily basis to tell me about their experiences! Single mums keep doing your thing! ❤️