Judging A Single Mum
Growing up I never planned on becoming a single mother. I grew up believing one day I would marry and have kids. I wanted lots to be the kind of Mum who had lots of children and it never crossed my mind that I might end up solo parenting.
(Last Updated 21st July 2021)
Becoming a Single Mum or a single Mom was one of the hardest things I ever did and today I’m sharing my experience and thought on why we should not judge single Mothers.
Not long after my daughter was born, I left her father. It certainly was not something I had planned or wanted to do but I needed to keep me and my child safe from a man who was physically and emotionally abusive.
I hoped things would improve. However when Sylvia was a few months old, I had to get out. I had to leave and move away on my own.
Within a day I went from being married and having people helping with my baby, (often controlling me and helping too much I might add) to being separated and becoming a single mum overnight.
Luckily when I first left Sylvia’s birth dad, my first port of call was going to my parents.
Choosing to Be a Single Mother
I guess if you had to choose between being a single mum or being married to a man who is destroying your soul, you would choose being a single mum every time.
I’ve been through some experiences in my life but nothing quite prepared me for my separation.
I knew it was coming. Not only was there abuse and domestic violence there was also adultery and other things which made the relationship impossible.
Apparently it was my fault he cheated because I was too fat. Fat because I had just grown a baby inside of me. Anyway, on with the story…..
The Emotional Struggle of Being a Single Mum
I quickly got used to being a single mum. It wasn’t too difficult. I had been looking after my baby for some months and knew what to do.
The hardest part I think was the emotional torment I was going through which everyone suffers during a messy separation and pending divorce.
It was not easy emotionally and sometimes I just wanted to go out for a long walk and have time to myself.
When your a single mum, you don’t always get the luxuries others get.
You can’t ask your partner to watch the kids while you go to the gym or walk around the block.
Walking has to take place in the day. I am not too much of a social butterfly so staying home with my baby a lot wasn’t too difficult.
It’s what most new mums do anyway, however I did attend a class one night a week and my mum watched Sylvia whilst I had the evening to myself.
I attended a number of classes, the first being called Breaking the cycle. It was a tricky class to attend and there were many women some of whom had left abuse and some who were attempting to do so.
After this class ended I did a course called reclaiming myself and then for fun, and to continue my Thursday nights out I took a class called Anger management.
I really wasn’t and never have been much of an angry person but the women in these groups were my strength and I enjoyed having one night a week just to go and talk.
I am fortunate that I had my parents to support me when I first became a single mum.
However due to a protection order and other issues, I ended up moving to a women’s safe house and then eventually moved to the UK to keep Sylvia and myself safe.
A Fresh Start as a Single Mum
Moving to England was very difficult. As a single mother I had less family support and the responsibility of solo parenting became even greater .
Once my daughter was asleep for the night, that was it for me. I could not nip to the shop or go for a walk or do any of the things one might want to do without giving it a second thought.
I often liked to go to Asda late at night to buy marked down items but this was not possible as I needed to settle my daughter into bed.
Once she was asleep that was it, I was stuck in the house and that’s where I would stay.
Adapting to single parenting was a little tricky and I sometimes felt like some people did not understand how difficult it was.
I never found it hard to care for my child or meet her needs. the main issue for me was not ever having a break.
Single parents hardly ever get a break, unless they have a strong support network or family willing to step in but all too often that is not the case.
Financially raising a child on my own was difficult. As a single mother the income was much less than that of a couple with kids and I often felt the pinch on the purse strings.
Some parents choose to stay home and raise a child whilst the partner works but for me I was reliant upon a benefit system.
The money was really low and the pressure to find a job and put my child into child care was really strong.
Choosing to Be a Stay at Home Mum
I chose to be a stay at home mother with Sylvia. I worked hard to make and sell little things on Facebook. I did car boot sales, shopped on a budget and friends often gave me second hand items they did not want for me to sell on Ebay.
This helped me to get a little extra cash so I could stay home with Sylvia but still make ends meet.
My plan was to go to work once Sylvia started Nursery school and I even went for a job interview when Sylvia was four but the following week we were struck with a terrible injustice and my daughter was removed from my care.
It’s a long story but I was wrongly accused of spending time in a psychiatric unit overseas which was not true.
As a result certain stories were made up and Sylvia was whipped away in a way that should not have happened.
The good news is that I fought in the courts and got my child back.
There was also a government investigation and we ended up with a statement stating it was a mistake and should have never happened.
We were also given a written apology and compensation for what the council agreed was a terrible injustice.
Whilst my daughter was away I was unable to work. In fact, I spent every day working, writing and fighting for my child. It was a full-time job in itself.
Also, had I taken a job at that point I would not have been able to go to supervised contact sessions with my daughter or be able to pay for a lawyer to fight in the high court.
Working as a Single Mother
So my plans to work went on hold and once Sylvia returned I needed to put my every effort into rebuilding our lives and helping my little girl transition back home.
My plans to be a working mum went on hold and I was back to being a single mother relying on benefits to get by. Not long after my daughter returned I met John my now husband.
Single Mother dating when having a young child can be really tricky. In fact there were a lot more phone conversations and skype calls over the computer via services like Match and black chatline numbers, than actual physical dating.
I did have grandparents and a good friend who were able to help out from time to time so John and I could catch a movie or go bowling but I must admit it is not easy to date when your a single parent.
There is always a silver lining to everything and for me I was able to build my friendship and emotional relationship with John first and the physical stuff came later.
I do think that is a good thing. Introducing John to my daughter was something I gave serious consideration to.
You don’t want to introduce your kids to any old person and so that waited until things got more serious.
Once John and I knew we wanted to be together, we discussed marriage and the prospect of becoming a stepfather.
There was a lot to consider but we made the right choices and never looked back.
Other things I found difficult as a single mum was shopping. I could not afford a car and so I had to push a pushchair and carry all the groceries. That was never an easy task.
Also being judged was something I found difficult. I was once at church and someone said something about being divorced.
A lady came up to me and said, she had not realised I’d been married and thought I’d just got myself knocked up! Even if I had what business was it of hers?
Don’t Judge Single Mother’s
The thing is I do think there is a stigma even in today’s society when you are a single parent. Rather than sit and judge it would be better for people to help and support.
It’s almost like when a father chooses to be a stay at home dad and people assume he is a single parent. I guess assumptions are often made in life and we have all been guilty at some point.
Going back to my point on single parenting. I do think people judge single parents at times but the truth is you never really know someone’s story.
You never really know how or why they ended up a single parent.
Some parents split up, others lose partners to cancer and horrible diseases and yes some parents even choose to single parent right form the start.
I guess the point I am trying to make is we should worry less about why someone is a single parent and think more about what we can do to help and support because single parenting was not and never will be easy.
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Angela Milnes is a Qualified Early Years Teacher who has specialised in Preschool and Kindergarten teaching. She has a wealth of experience teaching young children and is passionate about kids crafts and having fun as a family. Angela has also taught cooking skills and loves to share both family recipes and easy crafts here on The Inspiration Edit. Follow her on Pinterest!