Friday, 31 January 2014

Single parent stigma

I have just read this article on the Gingerbread website, written by author JK Rowling I don’t know how I came to be there – I’ve been enjoying myself browsing the web this afternoon, having submitted my tax return with almost 11 hours to spare until the midnight deadline, woo hoo – but there I was. I’m shocked. Read the article and read the comments underneath and tell me if you’re not shocked too. It’s not the content that left me gobsmacked, it’s the attitude that JK and those commenting have come across as single parents. What century are we living in for God’s sake? How can people still have this outdated, stereotypical view of single parents, their children, their place in society and their morals? It’s the sort of thing I expect to see in Call the Midwife, an attitude from the darker days before women’s lib when women stayed at home to raise babies and cook dinners, not an attitude I thought was rife in 21st century life. 

Women have fought hard for equality; laws have been passed to improve our status in society, laws that are supposed to give us the same rights and respect as those afforded to men. Are male single-parents subject to the same stigma? I wonder.

I’ve only just become a single parent and I can see I have a lot to learn. I receive child and working tax credits as I only work part-time. I hope I will also receive help with my council tax and yes, perhaps even my rent. I will not be made to feel ashamed by this. I have spent my adult life paying into a system and society that discriminates against the poor and brands people on benefits as scroungers! It’s not me who needs to feel ashamed.

Thursday, 30 January 2014


So, I moved back to the north east, not quite back to where I was born, in Gateshead, but across the river to Newcastle.

It’s close enough – I’m near my sister, who I now see several times a week, my dad, who I never see, and my brothers, who I never see, but that’s nothing new. At least with my dad I know he’s just a car ride away and I find that comforting, especially as we are all getting older.

I’m comfortable, I feel content. You can’t just dismiss 24 years of a relationship without any comeback – sadness, regret, wonder if you’ve done the right thing, fear at what lies ahead and worry about finances – but for all of that, and I’ve experienced all of that since my move, I’m content.

I don’t know if I’m happy. I sing along to the radio and I’ve smiled/laughed a few times, but does that mean I’m happy? It will take time to know, or even it will take time to become happy – I don’t think it will just come naturally, just like that.

Emotionally this time is very much up and down for my daughter – and so for me. She is not content. She blames me for breaking up her world, taking her away from her dad, her friends and her school (that she didn’t like so much at the time, but now remembers with the fondness of rose-tinted distance).

I don’t know how to handle her at times. I think she is starting to settle and enjoy her new school, being near her cousins; she seems calm. Then she explodes. Complete meltdown. It happened again this morning. She is not at school because she refused to go. And I feel totally guilty and helpless.

She is almost as tall as I am so I can’t carry her to the car, I can’t drag her out of the house; I talked with her and thought I was getting through to her, but no.

This is the second time since Christmas I’ve had to ring her school and tell them she refuses to leave the house. They are very understanding and, like last time, there will be a meeting with her form tutor and senior staff to try and make everything okay, make her happy.

I feel like I can’t make her happy, I can’t do anything right. Of all of this – the massive decisions already taken, the huge move almost 300 miles away from where I’ve been for the last 24 years and the man I’ve been with for the last 23 years – this is the biggest thing, the hardest thing to deal with. My child’s sadness is my fault, and, knowing I would give my life for my child, what does this say about me?

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Sanctuary Spa giveaway results and hi, it's 2014

Hi everyone.

Happy New Year!

Please forgive my recent radio silence, but my life has undergone the biggest change since giving birth to Dot 12 years ago. Yes, I'm now a single mum and I've moved back to the country of my birth - Geordieland.

It's been a shock and still is.

I'm sure I'll be writing loads about life changes and experiences in the days to come.

However, now is not the time. Now is the time to announce the winner of our Sanctuary Spa giveaway - nothing like a bit of pampering to make a girl feel special and cheer her up I think.

The winner of the Ultimate Girls Night In kit, which I posted about here is...

Louise Rah. 

Congratulations Louise, email me your address and I'll post your prize to you asap.

Now that I have a kitchen table to work at and a chair to sit on, normal service will resume. I also have a beauty giveaway lined up for next week so watch this space.

Lisa x