It's 'single parents week' over on Netmums this week, they are trying to #explodethemyth around the stereotyping of what single parents are like. I wanted to join in because it is obviously a cause close to my heart. So this is the single parent myth vs me!
Myth 'Single mums are feckless teenagers who just have a baby to get a council flat.'
Well I've just celebrated my 30th birthday and my son is 2 years and 7 months, the maths isn't that difficult! :) I don't live in a council flat, I rent the cheapest 2-bed (although I'm still unsure Kit's 'bedroom' will actually fit a full-size bed) flat that I could find, privately through a letting agent, and I really struggled to find anywhere who would take me because of my relationship status (despite having a guarantor and a big deposit to offer), I was perceived as too much of a risk! When I got pregnant I had been looking for a place to buy with my son's dad for quite a while.
Myth: 'Single mums are lazy scroungers, taking benefits from the tax payer.'
I do receive benefits. I also work 21 hours (3 days) a week, I intend to work more once Kit starts school. I get child tax credit which pays toward Kit's childminding fees, I also get some housing benefit. This is because I earn below the income thresholds, if you were in a couple and earnt below the thresholds then you would receive the same benefits and actually I received some tax credits when I was with Kit's dad. I've paid taxes my whole life. About 6 years ago I had 3 jobs, one full-time, two part-time, all at the same time - I've worked since I was 14! I'm also currently studying part-time too.
Myth: 'Children from single parents families come from broken homes.'
If our home was broken when we split, for me it was fixed when I became single. I don't think Kit ever felt his home was broken, it just moved from one property to another. I was broken from the relationship that me and his dad had, I'd tried to fix it, and it hadn't worked out - life is like that some of the time. How broken would it be to have carried on and had my son's primary care-giver broken? There is nothing in my life that I feel needs fixing (apart from maybe the freezer!). There are a lot of things I now strive to acheive. I want to be the best role model to my son I ever could and to provide for him in every way (probably the same as any other mum). The home that he has consists of so much more than who lives in his house, friends and family are his home and he does still have a dad who loves him, he just doesn't live in the same house as him or see him as much as other kids might see theirs!
Myth: 'Children from single parent families are more likely to have drink and drug problems, turn to crime and do less well in school'.
Only the future will tell really. Kit hasn't started school yet, if he had a drink or drug problem at his age that would truely be bad parenting! As for crime, well he likes to tell people off a lot, I wouldn't be surprised if he became a police officer!
When people meet my son one of the most common comments they make is how happy he seems. That's what I think is important, happiness. Parenting 'alone' is not easy, but I don't know many married parents that consider bringing up a child a 'walk in the park' so to speak.
I'm not complaining, this is the beautiful, happy little boy I get to kiss goodnight each night, much as I might moan every now and then, I wouldn't swap the life I have with him for the world.