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      17.05.2013 04:20
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      Single parenthood.....a journey for both of us,

      Blimey, it is my 100th review here on Dooyoo! I have been here now around 6 weeks and feel attached to the site in many ways already. I have found people here on the whole to be really welcoming and helpful and I have had some great discussions with several long standing members. I met only one or two people who have issues around bigotry which proportionately is pretty good I think. So cheers to all who have rated and nom'd me... I really do appreciate it. Money is tight here (as for many) and it has given me access to funds to spoil my daughter. I have thought long and hard about what to write for my 100th review. Co-sleeping was one option, a Dooyoo feedback was another. But instead I have decided to write about the most important thing in my life and the thing that defines me in many ways. Single parenthood.... The Daily Mail blames us for many of society's ills. Tory's do not like us either. And yet a huge many children now grow up in families that no longer fit the category of a nuclear 2.2 kids, a mum and a dad. It was always going to be this way for me, having an alternative family I mean. I come from a traditional and monied set up and was born into a dysfunctional family unit. Without gory details it paved the way for much soul searching and wild living in my youth as I tried to make sense of it all. At around the age of 21 I "came out" as lesbian. Now I do not define myself in the way that many seem to and to me it is just a label that means little. I love who I love and that has in the past been men, women and more recently a trans-woman. My deepest relationships have been with women therefore for ease of the general public I guess, lesbian is the label that stuck. For a long time I was with women only. I knew that I wanted children and I had two close male friends who offered to be my donors. The first one failed after many attempts at self insemination and then the second came forward. That did not work either so I put it on the back burner wondering if maybe I could not actually have children. It was not a huge issue for me but I do love kids and did have my broody moments so when I met my daughter's donor (I will not use the words father for him as it is not deserved) it was last chance saloon. For ease of typing I shall call this person"P". Now I had known P some time and he made it very clear that he wanted a child desperately. He was older than me and highly plausible so we discussed it. Gradually over time a plan evolved which was geared around an alternative parenting set up, co-parenting with no real sexual relationship to speak of but focused upon the child as a unit. Now I had tried twice to self inseminate and failed so I decided that I would actually have sex with this person and see if that worked. We had a relationship that was based on friendship but I later found out a lot of things that were shocking and untrue, however at the time I was in full broody mode and he seemed the same. There is more to it obviously but it would take a book to cover it all..... The irony here was that I did have sex with him and I conceived immediately. After everything that I had been through with my two donors here I was happily up-duffed like that. I "knew" I was pregnant even before I tested and when the test confirmed it I was terrified but happy. There were changes around P, he became more secretive and odd towards me and slowly a lot of the things that he had told me came out as being untrue. I felt very stupid, very gullible and concerned for my future and the future of my child because I had told him that I would not be able to bring up a child alone due to my health problems and that I needed to guarantee his input. He swore blind that it was all he wanted and he would not dream of doing a bunk on his flesh and blood. Although a few days after the positive test that is exactly what he did. Now I was in a quandry. I was physically in bad shape and as pregnancy wore on I got worse and ended up on morphine and barely able to walk. I had so much to organise and sort in order for me to be able to do this alone that at times it was overwhelming. Quite how it all came together is still a bit of a mystery when I look back but come together it did albeit in some very stressful ways. P disappeared one evening when I had gone to support my friend who had breast cancer. He did a bunk, locked me out of my own home and stole 300 quid in cash. I emailed him but he did not answer my questions, even the ones asking him if he wanted to know the birth details, name, gender etc so I left him be. I lost all respect for somebody who could lie and walk away from his own flesh and blood. When my daughter was born I was swamped by rage and protection towards her and although I did let him know that she was here and safe I also told him that as she was his child he was welcome to any pics or even to meet her etc. There was no reply. To this day he does not know her name nor has he seen a picture of her. This is his choice and not mine. My daughter came and I was thrown into motherhood and health issues. I fought long and hard to manage basics such as bathing and carrying her because my pelvis was shot. We got through it by being ingenious and finding unorthodox ways of doing things. From the beginning of my daughter's life we co-slept which made life much easier. I breastfed and baby wore when I could manage it. I employed somebody to help me get out and about with her and bath her etc. Over time I was put on pain patches which helped somewhat and I guess my muddling through became the way we did things. My daughter thrived and now she has a full and varied life. Of course to her having a mother who walks like John Wayne is her "normal". My daughter is now nearly four years old. We still co-sleep and we are home educating. Four days a week she is out of the house mixing with her friends and going to fun activities, the rest of the time she is with me or hanging out with my friends. The home ed aspect has enabled my daughter to be confident around all ages and she has social contact with babies right up to pensioners. It sounds twee but my daughter has the kind of life that I would have wanted. I was not encouraged to have friends or mix so as a result I was fairly socially awkward. I have done the opposite with my daughter and she knows that friendships are good and are to be encouraged. The traditional and pushy upbringing that I had combined with some heavy dysfunction has taught me a lot about how I do not want to do things myself and I rear my child in "unconditional positive regard". I pick my battles and am very easy going in regards to rules. The rules we do have tend to be around manners....neatly summed up by "Don't be an arse" in my vocabulary and in hers "be nice". It works. My daughter and I ARE the family unit. We have not suffered for being a single parent family nor do I have any issues about being one. I am an older parent (44 in June) so am long past the point where I really care what others think of me because I have always been a bit outside the box. I am bringing my daughter up to respect all people and importantly to respect herself. I have looked back a few times and wondered if I would change things knowing what I know now about her donor. I wouldn't. I would have loved for him not to be a flake and a liar but at the end of the day I would not change my situation. Ultimately he has lost out on something irreplaceable. When my daughter came I emailed him and thanked him for her. My friends thought that was a bit odd but really, he may be an idiot but he gave me the most precious thing in my life. I am open to the idea of sharing our family unit with the right person but do not need to be with somebody to be happy. I would have loved for my daughter to have had two parents who adored her but as I have explained to her, there are many types of family setups and they are all ok. Her life is full and rich, she grows veggies, she has access to a house full of art stuff and instruments, we have pets and eclectic and interesting friends from new age traveller types who live in buses full time to more traditional teachers. We live close to amazing beaches in a safe village. She is happy and kind and funny and healthy plus she has the ability to wreck a tidy room in two seconds flat..... Being a single parent is an amazing journey that will push you to your limits in every way but it is the most important job that I will ever have and I intend to do it well. There are times when I have felt lonely, there are times when I thought tiredness would be the death of me but if my daughter can say in all honesty that she had a great childhood and she has a belief in herself then I will have succeeded. Sappy but true. Thank you for reading my waffle.

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        19.05.2010 09:52
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        Love it!

        I have been a single parent for almost a year, so not very long. However I probably view being a single parent different to some, I see it as a positive. I am in total control of all aspects of my childrens upbringing (I have three children aged 6, 5 and 4 years) I do work three part time jobs to fit in with preschool and school hours and one of those is running my own business as a nail technician. Children all need love, care and attention and because I have chosen to do this on my own I feel like it has been the making of me. I am certainly not ashamed of being a single parent and never hide the fact that I am. Dont get me wrong it can be extremely difficult at times juggling three young children with very different demands and I multi-task to the extremely but I wouldnt have it any other way. Financially and emotionally its pretty draining too but I think if you can cope with being a single parent you can cope with anything. Having a child or children as your sole responsibility (most of the time except when they go to their dads) is hard work. But I do get a proper rest, whereas when I was with my husband, I never did I was constantly looking after the children. I am lucky my soon to be ex husband pays and sees hes children regularly and I know some people are far from as lucky as me. However, I have lost friends and family through my decision to be a single parent, mainly my mum who has virtually disowned me, but thats up to her. I know this is a very personal account of single parent hood but I wanted to write a review from the heart and give a personal insight into how I feel about being a single parent.

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          12.06.2009 16:19
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          ..

          I myself am a single parent, I was 'single' to begin with though. I am one of those open minded people and sort of allows and accepts near enough everything that goes on in the world today at times, and having to be a single parent has never phased me. The father of my two was a friend, and I believed were becoming more than that, but me being gullable and naive thought wrong. I got pregnant 'by accident', I won't say mistake as my boys I do not class as a mistake - I believe in everything happens for reason and I got pregnant with my twins for a reason, what that reason is I don't know but I'm glad it happened! I had my boys, and to this day I do not find it daunting or bad that I am a single mum. Their father now sees them, but he is not a full time father of his own accord not mine, but so long as my boys know their father that is what matters. I love being a mum, don't get me wrong it's hard work, two babies running around, copying each other, fighting you know the drill when it comes to toddlers. But all the smiles, the cwtches and the love and affection I have with my children stomps all over the bad things and the hardwork. That kiss goodnight is worth every second of hardwork with my boys. I love to try give them the best I can, and to the best I can. I love the attention they get as they are twins, but this is when things start to get my back up. I know we can all be quite nosey and not agree with other peoples lifestyles etc, but some people I really don't think have a heart half the time. The amount of jokes, snide comments, and downright rudeness I have had because I am a single mum is beyond! "Aww well it's a good job you have your Mum' ... This is probably my biggest annoyance. My Mum is my boys NAN not their Mum, it's ME who is their mum so it's ME who is looking after them on my own the way any mother should if you ask me. My mum works 4 jobs a day and hasnt the time to help the way other people make out she does. I don't see why at the age of 22 (going on 52 sometimes lol) I can't look after my own children on my own. It really does bug me that strangers make it perfectly obvious with comments such as that and others that they either think I'm too young to cope on my own, or don't look like I can cope, or just don't agree with it. TOUGH! This may seem so trivial, but it is these comments etc which prove that single mums, and dads for that matter are stereotyped and we are all rammed in the same boat. In an ideal world, or should I say my ideal world I would have liked to have a proper family the way I was brought up, a Mum and Dad in a stable relationship and two parents to love my children. But everything isn't hunky dory in the real world. But I know my boys are happy, and have been more than content in their lives for the past 19months without their father and his family there 24/7, just because I am a single mum does not mean I can't provide the way a Mother and a Father would and can't make them happy. So long as my boys are happy that is all that matters to me, so I will continue to do the best I can for them and make sure their happiness continues. They see their father, but I am their main carer, I bring them up by my rules. So because I am not in a loving relationship I am classed as a single mum - So be it - it does not mean my kids are cared for any less. This is just my personal story, but of course all single parent families are different, whether it being parents getting divorced, parents passing away, one night stands and not knowing the father, the mother or the father having custody because of violence, drug abuse, a death of a family member and for many other reasons. Whatever reasoning behind a single parent family all that matters is that the children are happy, their wishes are met if they want to see the other parent (of course if it means they are not in any danger), they are brought up properly etc as with any family with two parents who are together. Just because a child has just one parent doesn't mean they are any different. I don't believe that just because a child doesn't have a mum or a dad it means they can go off the rails, cause havoc, become a criminal etc which tends to be a lot of teens reasonings behind things these days, "I didn't have my Dad in my life so I went and burgled somebody or I took drugs", so long as the parent who IS there disciplines their child, teaches them right from wrong etc there is no excuse for any child or teen to do it. Of course it can affect them in some way or another, but it's not an excuse to go burgling people, hurting people, trashing property etc. I do have alot of opinions when it comes to being a single parent. I'm not saying it's easier or better to have a two parent stable family as single parent families can be just as stable and comfortable. But people seem to do alot of judging when they know you are on your own with one child or more. It's mostly stereotypical comments, same old 'single mothers on benefits, six plus children and scrounging'. Not all of us are like this, or don't intend to stay living on benefits for that matter. Single parenting though does not always mean the child only has contact with one parent. It can mean that the child stays with one parent all the time and sees the other on arranged days and times etc. So long as children have a healthy relationship with the parents that they do see - putting your feelings towards your ex or whoever aside a child will be happy, comfortable and believe that it is their normal family life. In an ideal world parents would stay together and be happy but this is not the case and I certainly do not believe in staying together 'for the sake of the children' as this can often cause more problems for the children rather than helping them. As for me I am quite happy being a single mum and my boys are my world!

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            18.02.2009 17:59
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            Single parenting is certainly not easy, but you can make it easier

            After reading a few of these and mostly seeing views from Single Mum's or comments regarding single Mum's I'd thought I'd give a single Dad's view. I've been a single Dad now for around 3 1/2 years. I've had relationships in this time but since late 2005 it's just been my two children and myself living at home. The question I get asked most of all from friends, etc is 'Is it hard being a single parent?', and my answer is 'Yes'. But then I don't think it's all that much harder than for a stay at home Mum or Dad IF you are organised and not afraid to ask for help. I am very lucky that my parents help me out a great deal. My two don't see their Mum due to alcohol abuse and her abusive nature in the past (Not to them but in general), but they see their Grandparents most weekends and will go away on holiday for a week at least once a year. Which gives them a good time and me a break, which I think all parents need. The big difference I have found since becoming a single Dad is that you cannot get a break whenever you want or need it. i.e. You can't just say to a partner, I'm going into town for an hour, going for a drink, going to see a friend, etc. If the children play up or are noisy it's just left to you to deal with it and cope on your own. But then that is no difference to a stay at home parent who has a partner who works long hours. The only difference is you go a little longer without a break and you don't get any support/have to make all the decisions. In saying all that I do think there are some changes you can make to your lifestyle and things you can do to make life so much easier for yourself and your children. I was forced to give up work 9 years ago now due to my ex partner becoming ill and then becoming an alcoholic... This was a huge cause in the break up of our relationship. At the time I worked long hours for not exactly a huge pay. But I loved my job and still did spend a lot of time with my children. But as my ex became more and more sick, she became more and more impossible to live with, to the point where we could no longer live together and she became abusive. Now this is not a sob story, it was a long time ago and my only regret now is that I wasted so much of my life (5 years) in trying to help her and help her get better. But my experience with my ex leads me to believe now that my situation is slightly different than most, in the fact that when I became a single parent I actually found life easier, because I only had my two young children to bring up and deal with, and not a partner who demanded so much of my time and effort with nothing back in return. In saying that, my children were so upset by their Mum's actions in the last year in particular, and then being let down so often that they needed a lot of my time, so although in the time since I gave up full time work I had been working self employed I knew I could no longer do this once I became a single Dad. Quite simply I had to change my lifestyle. After a couple of months at home during the summer holidays I got back into self employed work and kept my hours down so that I only worked when the kids were at school, which is mostly what I still do today. I stopped drinking, had already gave up smoking and decided I didn't really need a car anymore. So these three things saved me a lot of money, meaning I didn't have to work extra hours and be away from my children, which then would have meant paying extra for child minders, etc. The one big thing I found is that to make life easier for you and the children, you HAVE to spend time with them, you have to take them out and show an interest in their lives. I know a lot of parents that don't do this for whatever reason, and therefore their children drive them mad all day, every day... they play up and it does make life extremely difficult for a single parent. Don't get me wrong, my two kids still play up and argue, but I do find that by taking them out and doing lots of things with them that they don't play me up as a lot of other kids seem to do with their parents. I also found that you have to be strict on certain things and lay down the law and stick to your guns. My children know that if they behave and are well behaved then they will get extra treats. Not sweets or junk food, etc but by going out and having fun, going out to eat, etc, etc. I also have found that it is a good idea to ask for help whenever you need it, whether this be from parents, relatives, friends, or even the children themselves. I don't mean taking advantage while you go to the pub and get drunk or sit and watch TV all day, but if I need to work outside of school hours then I am never afraid to ask my parents to have the girls for a couple of hours or ask a friend if my children can spend an hour at there's. As I often return the favour and try and help out my friends and family I usually find they are happy to help. After all, nobody can do it all by themselves. One thing we do a lot also, which we find is a huge help is to sit and talk once a week about things around the house. I tell my kids what I am happy and angry about, with regards to their behaviour, and they tell me if they feel I am not spending enough time with them or taking them out enough. By doing they know what is expected of them by me and I know if I am making enough effort to keep them active and happy. Chatting to a few friends about this I don't know of any other single parent that seems to do this. And I do think this is where a lot of problems arise. Only today a friend of mine came over with her children and to put it kindly they wrecked the place. They were rude, noisy, unresponsive and quite frankly were not well behaved at all. When chatting to my friend she said that her children never listen to her and always run riot, and I've heard this from a fair few single parents (Mum's and Dad's) but she (And others) also said that she never sits down and talks to them about their behaviour and never tells them what she expects of them when they go out. When I and my Brother were kids my parents were always taking us out, they told us what was expected of us and if we didn't behave we would get a whack around the back of the head. Now I don't hit my own children but at the same time I ensure they know what is expected of them when we are out and about, and if they play up then we don't go out again until they behave better. It often seems to me that children today control their parents. They whine and moan and parents give in to them for a peaceful life, but I really do think this is a cop out. I think when it comes to your children you have to be firm and strong as well as loving and do all the fun things. They need guidance and they need to be told what to do in life. Not ordered around like little slaves, but they do need your experience and guidance. I do think a major reason why so many kids seem to go off the rails or roam the streets causing trouble at nights is that they have no guidance from their parents, and are not taught right from wrong. So they have to find their own way, and often this is through friends who may lead them astray. I am a big believer that if you want and have children then you have to put in the effort it takes to bring them up to be responsible adults. Telling them to 'Go upstairs', 'Go out and play', etc really is the easiest way out, whereas if you just spend a bit of time and effort actually getting to know your children and spending time with them, I find they are far more likely to respect you and behave better..... and therefore give you (And them) an easier life. Nobody has children expecting to be a single parent, but if you become one I think you have to look at the best way to live your life to maximise the time you spend with your children and ensure you get the easiest life possible, especially if you do not get much help from an absent parent. I never planned on being a single Dad but now I am I don't want to waste time away from my children, paying someone else to bring them up or constantly fighting a battle to keep them under control. I'd rather change my lifestyle to make life as easy and convenient as possible for myself and my children, through hard work and a mixture of fun and good times. You can change your lifestyle to suit what is best for you and your children, it does seem to me though that a LOT of people take the easiest way out, when in actual fact this only makes life harder and more of a struggle... as you constantly fight to keep misguided children under control.

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              26.01.2009 17:03

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              my views on single parenthood

              I am lucky enough that I am not a single parent , but I have alot of friends that are in that exact situation themselves. I often see how much more of a stuggle it is for single parents, than with 2 parents. I do not agree though that the parents should stay together for the sake of the children, if they obviously hate each other and are making all thier lives hell, then end it.Staying together would not be good for the children. I think there should be a happy balance of time sharing with both parents if this is possible. The children should not be blamed for the mistakes of thier parents, and no matter what you think of the childs other parent, you must remember that they love them equally to you. Don't upset your child by slagging off thier dad (or mum). I have seen this so often with my friends, and it is so hard on the children. If it can be amicable, then that is great. I have 2 step children and things are very balanced and work well, just how it should be.

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              20.01.2009 19:05
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              not a great choice but if you find yourself in this positon make the most of it

              I have been a single parent to my son who is three in April for nearly two years as I left my husband due to domestic abuse and we took up residence in a refuge. I have to say that I did think I was the last person who would be a single parent. I was thirty six when I found out I was pregnant after trying to conceive for four years was happily married and thought I had the complete dream. After the abuse from my husband, I found that after I left it was easier to care for just my son and myself. Although our life was turned upside down I only had to cook, clean and wash for two people. I didn't have to second guess what someone else was thinking or wanted and could do things my way. I actually felt more relaxed and the first night we left my son slept much better as it was clearly a better atmosphere. I did want my husband involved in my son's life and thought it was important he had a chance to sort himself out and be a positive figure in my son's life. Due to his previous behaviour I supervised the access and we did visit various parks, soft play but after one visit when he was kicking doors, and generally been aggressive I stopped contact and told him he would need to go through a solicitor as I wasn't prepared to see him. He didn't see his son for six months and now has access in a public place with his mother supervising. For me the most difficult aspect has been time management. When we finally moved to our new home my son was too young to understand don't touch so had to mostly paint and build furniture during the evenings so didn't get to sleep very early yet was up and down during the night as my son is a poor sleeper and was still breast feeding. We only had DVD's to watch for the first three weeks as we don't get a TV signal where I live and didn't see the point paying for sky or a TV licence for the first few weeks as I didn't get chance to sit down and watch TV and my son was happy with his DVD's. Tiredness although something all parents suffer from when your child is up all night or poorly you are left with no option but to carry on. There is no one to say go back to bed and have an extra hour. Where you yourself are unwell yourself the TV is the only babysitter you can have. I bumped into my friends husband yesterday who told me he had given his wife a lie in till 10am while I felt I had had a lie in as my son slept till 6.45am. The fact I moved to a new area meant I had no friends locally although I have build up a circle of friends and acquaintances most of them already have children so any time my child is sick I tend to become much more socially isolated myself. As a result of the start my son had ,he was an extremely clingy baby which was way beyond the normal level of clinginess and I did receive support from a sure start worker while I was in the refuge who got to know my son and play with him .She build up his confidence in her so I was initially able to leave the room for a couple of minutes. She stayed involved when I moved and looked after my son while I painted the bathroom, came to a solicitors appointment with me so I could listen to the solicitor as my son gets a little over excited in any office for some reason. This intervention gave my son the confidence to go to nursery and while it did take him a very long time to settle there he now is very confident there. While I talked to my son none stop he has suffered from delayed speech and I believe this is down to spending too much time with me so didn't need to speak but as his confidence and time spent with others. There are also positives to been a single parent. I do think that I am very close to my son as he doesn't have to share me with anyone else. I do get to raise him the way I feel is right for both of us and while I do have friends who disagree with some things I do or have offered advise I make the ultimate decisions for us. Sometimes I would share the responsibility for some decisions. I asked my husband about the swine flu injection three months ago mentioned it a month ago but is yet to give any input so have had to make the decision on my own. I have now made friends who have looked after my son while I have been to some doctors appointments and I even went out on my birthday and one evening before Christmas but these were the only times I went out without my son last year so at times I do feel sometimes like I am losing social skills. I have been unable to work since having my son as my son would not have coped with nursery initially but now I attend two college courses on a Tuesday when my son goes to crèche which he enjoys. This is so that when my son starts school I have the qualifications to go into a job to teach my son that education is important and that it is not an acceptable way to live on benefits long term. I do find particularly in the media there is still a stereo type about single parents, that we are all teenage girls who have just got pregnant without any planning or to avoid working. While there are some people out there who do plan to be single parents it is far from the easy option. The stereo types are also so wrong most of the single parents I know or have met have been let down by their partners. The only person I know who planned to be a single parent was in her thirties and felt time was running out, she does have good family support and continues to work. Women's aid report that 30% of domestic abuse starts during pregnancy and coupled with the many other reasons a couple separate make it a reality that is likely to continue. I adore been a Mommy and relish every day with my son but some days are very long days especially when he is tired or testing boundaries. He also makes me very happy, proud and we laugh an awful lot. It is not the life I imagined when I planned to have a child but with the events that have happened since my pregnancy this is defiantly the best option for both my son and I.

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                14.10.2008 15:21
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                Just because your a single parent doesnt mean you are a bad one.

                Being a single parent is not easy and not a choice that is made i am sure. I was very young and take full responsibility for that however it was not a choice it was made for me but i had had health problems and did not want to have a termination with this being my only possible chance of having a child (17 or not and still the only child) All i could worry about was all the comments i was going to get with only being 17 and single for that, you read all these stories and statistics and think great now i am one of them. I made a point of prooving that i hhad made the decision to keep my baby and i was going to raise her and provide for her the best i can. I have always worked and paid my taxes etc but i can not help that i recieve tax credits etc to boost earnings and i cant help that they give me money off my childcare. this was introduced for a reason to help lower waged families to help the unemployed numbers rise ans show that there is help out there and you can work and not just sit at home cause you get paid too by the state. However i do see that it is so hard to get a job that is going to be flexable enough to go around child care etc and then theres the whole do you work part time so you get to spend time with your child if you dont you get labbeled for that too that you work to much and just pay others to have your children so why did you ave them?? I dont think in any situation you can win, everyone has there own views on working mothers or stay home mothers and it is all down to choices and decisions and i think that everyone is entitled to do what they can without feeling guilty or in fear of being a statistic or stereotype! Sorry rant over i just dont like the thought that you get labeled for trying to do whats best for you or your child.

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                  22.09.2008 00:20
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                  find a balance

                  I had my first child when I was just 16 yrs old, my second followed when I was 21. I broke up with my partner the yr after because he didn't grow with me when we had the children, he behaved like a 3rd child. I use to stay at home, look after the children, make the house a home with the little we had and enjoyed it. My ex would hit the pubs and clubs while I cared for the children at home alone. He would go missing for days, I discovered he was unfaith many times and taking drugs. I forgave him many times and like a fool I believed him when he said that he'll change, I wanted it to work, didn't want to be a young sigle parent we all know the stigma's attached to that... but then the violence started and I left him and cut all ties. I moved up north alone with my children via a council exchange, I'd never been there before, I was 22 yrs old with no money or car to try and improve our quality of life. I knew no - one. Once my children started school, I returned to education, just college at first, then university and got a Degree in Care Management. It was bloody lonely and tough financially, we had nothing, on occasions I went without dinner and monitored every light/plug switch in my house. I would walk for miles after dropping my children at school to get to college sometimes in the snow because I couldn't afford the bus fare, I couldn't even afford a warm drink during breaks with my fellow students in the cafe, would go to the library at break times us an excuse to not join them. I never had freedom to meet up with anyone out of college. I mostly studied at night once my children were sleeping between 2am-7am. When I put my children to bed at 7.30pm I would sleep from 8pm - 2am. I've known my younger sister to ring me on a Saturday night at 3am from London laughing on her way home from a night out cause she knew I was awake studyng. At times I wanted to give up but my children kept me going. After 4 years I returned to London to be near my parents and to start work. I'm now a manager of a drug and alcohol project which supports children with family members with drug / drink problems, which I created myself and have been doing so for the past 3 yrs. My children are now 14 and 11 yrs old and I'm now 31 yrs old. My 11 yr old loves drama and dance and in the summer I took her to the West End as a late Birthday treat to see the Phantom of the Opera. After the show we walked down a back street to get a bus home and we bumped into my ex (how strange, we never go to the West End or live near it). He looked a mess, possibly sleeping rough and it was clear he was still taking drugs. I said hi to be polite as my daughter was with me, she was shocked that this man was her father. He tried to follow us but she told him to go away. What quality of life would we of had if we had stayed with him!? At times, being a single parent can be hard, draining, lonely and v scary, your trying to do everything at once, work, clean the house, pay the bills, care for your children. You live by a routine / by the clock, I'm still watching my pennies. You have no - one to bounce off if your unsure about something regarding the children or home; no one to attend school plays, parents evening or even hospitals if they have an accident or no-one to share the joys of your children successes with when they achieve or say something silly. However in my situation I would rather be a single parent and raise my children alone then try and hold a family unit together with someone like that. What role model would he have been!? So many people try to stay together with their partner even thought they are very unhappy for either the children's sake, financial reasons or because their scared of being alone or because of the stigma or being a single parent and uncertain about change. Don't do it. Life is too short and if there's something in it making you feel unhappy which can't be resolved then get out of the situation for everyones sake. You may find it tough at first but in time your be more than ok. Look forward, focus and take control of your own life. I did wonder (for 5 minutes) what may have being going through my ex partners head after we left him that day, my daugher looked gorgeous.

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                    26.03.2008 21:20
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                    Go check out the latest news on this case on Family Lore - a legal web blog

                    Another great media story for guys when it comes to not being cleaned out for once in the divorce courts was the story featured in the Times about a rich heiress who married a penniless Eastern European refugee. Linda Berkley, who has dual American and British citizenship, saw her 1 million dollar inheritance being reduced to just 160 grand supporting Mr. Ardian Bulliqi and his immediate family from Albania. Two judges in the divorce court hearing decided there was no good reason to depart from the principal that the couple's wealth should be divided equally from their 12 year marriage and so did just that, even though Ardian financial contribution was limited. I had to chuckle that even back then in 1990s the Alabanian-Kosovan husband wanted his own car washing company, his wife funding his business washing limos. So much for racial stereotyping! You've got most of this all wrong! It wasn't in the Times - the Telegraph, Evening Standard, the Sunday Mirror, and x2 in the Mail. Also - get the latest facts right: I won the case. The two lower court judges are wrong, so said the court of appeal. My ex-husband was an abusive and violent "chancer". Oh yes, he's gotten something, but nothing like what he thought he'd get. The principles involved in McCartney/Mills are the same principles involved in mine. They were upheld. Further, why are so many men incapable of recognising that the principles involved in cases like these apply to women too? Why do so many men think that if I had lost that it would somehow strike a blow for men in some way? I do not see my winning this case as being a one-up for women in any way, though I do see it as being relevant to other people.

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                      23.03.2008 14:19
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                      Benefit Britain...

                      In a week that three prominent single mom news stories have dominated the news agenda, that of the ghastly Heather Mills, the feckless mother of Shannon Mathews, and the hippy in India who's pretty 15-year-old daughter was murdered after being left alone with a smorgasbord of drugs, it's been proof enough from these stories and images that GB isn't very good at bringing up kids these days, top of the single mom leagues in both teen girls and mature women. When we talk about single moms in the media it always seems to be a non-representative opinion from the middle-class ones that get to have their say and predominate on the airwaves and in the newspapers as it all single moms are in this fortunate position, tucked away in their ex husbands houses with another money left over to join other ladies that lunch. A single mom to me is the one that pushes the buggy around with a fag on the go and knows he doesn't have to get a job because the state will pick up the tab. Just as children of middle class parents are 'prepped' for university around their 12th birthday (Bea McCartney), underclass children are aware around the same young age that their fete is also sealed, they the next generation of teen mums in their sink estate families (Shannon). Indeed many teen mums admit they got pregnant so to avoid dead-end jobs and escape their broken families. These girls are not ignorant about sex but getting pregnant as a means-to and-end. But unfortunately they just can't break the cycle and we know have four and five and generation families in some of our poorest areas. Where as teen mum rates predominate in the so called 'underclass', there for all to see in the Mathews case on our national TV screens, divorce is rampant in all social classes. An interesting piece of research has showed that child victims of divorce, especially in the affluent Middle Classes, are damaged so much by the experience that they are 50% less likely to get married themselves than sibling that have been nurtured in settled married family homes off all social classes. Pretty much everything in life is dictated by your surroundings in early life and just as we have a destructive repeat single parent culture in the lower classes to rampantly reproduce and sod the consequences we have this complete opposite in the upper classes, as proved by this findings... Like the delicious irony that the poorest people in the rich west are often the fattest, the women that dominate single parent rates around the world are also the most likely to have voluntary abortions. In the borough of Lambeth there are 20 pregnancies per 1000 girls between the age of 13 and 15. Schoolgirls in Lambeth are 18 times more likely to get pregnant than those in Chiltern. Of the 24,000 or so underage conceptions in England and Wales in the last three years, not surprisingly some 13,000 were aborted. 84% of NHS chemists give under 16s the morning-after-pill. Britain's inner cities again dominated that distribution. You don't need to be a genius to figure out hat having kids in your early teens is not only ignorant and poverty related but damaging to society. Yes...I'm sure young girls who had a tough childhood at home have babies to give that kid to give the love they never had, but, alas, it only ends in tears. This cycle has to be broken. With single mom rates as high as 50% in Afro Caribbean families in England you only have to look at the gun crime problem to see the corrosive effects of having kids too young in that community, the father taking flight because of that responsibility of a child. Over 100 girls in England have had six abortions in their life time, a statistic suggesting it's become birth control in some communities. To be fair if a nice middle-class girl gets pregnant in their teens there's a good chance its abortion for them too and nothing is going to threaten her university place. It was the mother of Shannon Mathews that seemed to shine a light on just how messed up the underclass is. A superb hour of TV on Channel Fours 'Dispatches' program followed the family's plight in the last five days of their ordeal, and how the people closest too the immediate family weren't there to help but just wanted to cash in by giving negative news stories to the tabloids, inflaming the situation, but all the time moaning to camera that the McCann's got better publicity because they were posh and pretty. It really was like that Harry Enfield sketch with Wayne and Waynetta and you are not surprised the kid hasn't been allowed home. Because Mrs. Mathews had seven kids by five different men its was inevitable there would be some deviant in the family tree who had access to her kids, in this case her current lovers brother. Nine out of ten child abductions and murders are a result of family members and close friends, usually working class people, and so that's why the police, and indeed the press and public, didn't let this case build up as much publicity as the Soham case, for example...People said at the time that the more photogenic and middle-calls McCann family always got an easy ride over little Maddies disappearance early on and if they had been a couple of Scousers in Benidorm they would have got the Mathews treatment, which seems to have been proved and played out in Dewsbury. On the day the McCann's were getting a rightful full page apology on the Express newspaper Group the same redtops were effectively accusing the Mathews clan of being involved in the disappearance of Shannon. I suspect the less connected underclass family from Yorkshire won't even be allowed a tiny paragraph apology for what's been written about them. At the other end of the single parent spectrum is the odious Heather McCartney, Paul getting off lightly with just a £25 million pound pay off for her four years work. If she had kept her lawyers she would have trebled that, even with all her lies, which makes guys angry even more. This was a victory for single dads across the nation-make no mistake! Yes Paul bought it upon himself going for a young trophy wife and deserves all he got; clearly marrying the bint because she was a Linda McCartney clone who 'apparently' believed in the same causes and charities (Mills tax returns showed zero charity contributions since 2000) but surely he should have seen this coming. Men are suckers around confident sexy women. To prove to all the feminist out there that Mills really is a waste of time (some are still defending here), when Heather announced on the High Court steps that whilst Paul will be traveling in A-class, his daughter, B-Class, what a surprise to read that when Heather flew to America on Friday she went first class and her daughter flew cattle class with the nanny. What an odious creature she is. Another great media story for guys when it comes to not being cleaned out for once in the divorce courts was the story featured in the Times about a rich heiress who married a penniless Eastern European refugee. Linda Berkley, who has dual American and British citizenship, saw her 1 million dollar inheritance being reduced to just 160 grand supporting Mr. Ardian Bulliqi and his immediate family from Albania. Two judges in the divorce court hearing decided there was no good reason to depart from the principal that the couple's wealth should be divided equally from their 12 year marriage and so did just that, even though Ardian financial contribution was limited. I had to chuckle that even back then in 1990s the Alabanian-Kosovan husband wanted his own car washing company, his wife funding his business washing limos. So much for racial stereotyping! Just as underclass girls dominate single mum rates it's the same with cot deaths in the U.K. When you analyze where and when the baby's die and you find alarming trends, certainly not pointing to the baby's health being the defining factor, something else to take in consideration over the negatives of single parents. These statistics are deemed too sensitive and subjective that it would be wrong to print them here. But again it's predominately the same group of girls that have those abortions and babies at a young age that dominate cot death statistics. Scientists and doctors scrambled over reasons why babies die unexpectedly and came up with all manner of theories in the 90s, including chemicals in cheap plastic bedding, smoke cacogenics, and the 'mystery gene', all consistent with working class parents. When the deaths dropped 16 fold from babies sleeping in cots due to an excellent campaign in the 80s they rose a similar ratio to babies sleeping with their parents in beds and on sofas to the present day. You can make you own mind up about that one. My conclusions... The guy who wrote Ulysses said that women are not as clever as men or they wouldn't go through the pain of child berth, which must have an element of truth to that. If I could get pregnant I know I wouldn't fancy it. I just don't believe that these feckless young women that pack the statistics have babies by accident and although having a child is more than just something to accessorize these days there are moms out there that use kids to generate benefits and get housing, much higher numbers than any feminist dare say. There are so many reasons why women end up single parents and just as many are down to feckless men as money worries of course, but it's more about the girls than the boys if you ask me. And why do those young mums always have first names beginning with K? They all seem to be Kelly's, Kieshas, Keiras and Kylies... The parent with the most kids in GB is the state, now paying the way for one in six mothers, 80% of all social housing now the home to single mums. It's pretty clear that booze and drugs plays a part in the embarrassingly high rates of pregnancies here and it's also clear no one seems to want to stop these pregnancies. Another report from social workers talks about women that have hard drug problems inevitably can't care for those kids and many are taken away, but because they rarely get them back they just get pregnant and have another. To be really controversial I would say all the above reasons are why we have so many teen and single moms here and maybe why rape convictions are so low. We clearly don't treat new life as precious as we should and too many young people get drunk and have sex, and so babies, whether they really planned to or not. If the pill is the real baby killer then booze is the baby maker. To know the state will always pick up the tab is the biggest reason why the UK has the most single mums in Western Europe. -Links- http://www.news-medical.net/?id=27901 http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tmbeing-a-teen-mum-better-than-bad-job-namepage. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/7212060.stm

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                        17.03.2008 21:22
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                        My rant on parenting in the news

                        In the news today there has been some contrasting views of single mothers in the UK. On the one hand you have Heather Mills bemoaning the fact that a mere £35,000 a year will mean that the daughter of Paul McCartney will have to travel B class in future. That really does show just how in touch Ms Mills is given that the rest of us have never even heard of B class travel, whatever it is I'm pretty sure that I could manage it on £35k a year which does not include my private school fees or the cost of a nanny while my mother goes off around the world with her next meal ticket, sorry that should read husband. Given that the divorce has cost McCartney the equivalent of £700 an hour maybe he now wishes he had met Mills when she was a hooker and he had actually paid by the hour, it would have been a lot cheaper in the long run. You then have the wonderful example of a single mother who managed to save up £7k from the welfare benefits she receives to go and have a six month holiday in Goa with some of her numerous off spring, she did manage to return in time, presumably to collect another load of benefits, however she will now be down one child benefit payment a month having neglected to bring back one of her daughters whose use of drugs and alcohol undoubtedly cotributed in a small part to her premature death at the hands of possibly one or more rapist scum. This women sets the most awful example of parenthood and is a good reminder to those who advocate a liberal attitude to child raising and the dangers of not setting suitable boundaries. As if that was not enough you then have the mother of rescued school girl Shannon believing that her nine year old and ten year old are actually twins just because out of all her seven children they are the only two that share the same father. Admittedly at present she is not a single mum but given her attitude to the role of the family in the lives of her children and the reported abuse she and they suffer at the hands of her current boyfriend singe parenthood will surely be in her future. That is not to necessarily say that single parents are all like this, many children are raised in perfectly loving stable homes where there is only one adult present and where this is the case that parent deserves every support possible to make a difficult job manageable I just wish there were a few more role models around rather than the current poor examples in the press. I often read reviews on this site having a pop at religious values however a part of me can't help feeling that the lives of all those concerned in the above cases might hae benefited from some sot of faith and moral code, no matter what th religion, just any religion would do rather than the worship of money and personal gratification. Rant over, boy that feels better.

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                          27.02.2008 19:47
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                          Being a single parent isn't all bad.

                          Being a single mom of a wonderful ten year old son can be difficult at times but also incredibly rewarding. I got pregnant at twenty by a man that could have cared less about kids. I, on the other hand, had always wanted a child, with or without a man. There are days when I wish I would have waited until I was truly in love before having a child and there are days when I am thankful that I can make it on my own. I used to jump from relationship to relationship before my son grounded me. I really never had to take care of business on my own until I was left raising a baby without support from the father. I spend eight hours working a full time job daily and more hours developing a budding writing career so my son can play ball and I can afford to eat out now and then. Though being a single parent can be default to say the least, I am thankful I can provide a roof over our heads and food on the table. I am thankful for good friends and an awesome family.

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                            13.04.2007 20:53
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                            Tiring but worth it

                            I am a 24 year old single mum with a 3 year old daughter and a full time job. I get so tired its horrible. Men don't want to know because they think they might get trapped or that i'll be restricted in the things i can do (which is true) because of my daughter. They don't understand at all. I haven't been out except for food shopping, clothes shopping, visiting family and work in over a year. Probably closer to 2 years actually. I can't get a second job to help for saving for a deposit on a house because that means needing someone to look after my daughter in the evenings / weekends. I dont get a penny from my daughters dad because he's working for his parents company earning over £300 a week getting paid cash in hand, and his parents have signed an affidavit saying he isnt working for them - hes in his 20s not claiming the dole but spending money. Are they still giving him pocket money??!! On the bright side, i get plenty of tax credits to help out, a monthly one for paying my childminder, and then weekly money that i use for petrol, so petrol doesnt have to come out of my wages. The main problem i think with being a single parent i think is the fact that its lonely. You dont get the opportunity to go out and meet people, you lose touch with friends because you cant go clubbing any more and your always skint because kids need shoes every month, clothes every couple of months and all the added extras! I love my daughter more than the world though, and would give up every last thing i could for her.

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                              20.06.2006 13:10
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                              All part of life's rich tapestry!

                              If you had said to me when my two sons were born that before the oldest was 10, I'd be a single mum, I would have laughed and told you not to be silly. Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men. Here we are, three years after separation and divorce, living an hour away from my ex husband in a new area with a completely new life. I suppose the worst parts of being a single parent are, in no particular order, 1) Financial worries 2) No one on hand to ask for a second opinion 3) No one to leave the kids with for 5 minutes while you have a bath in peace/nip down the shops/phone a mate or any of the hundred and one other things you did and took for granted that your partner would be there to help out with. 4)If you're ill, you have to look after yourself Over time, the best bits for us have been: 1) Getting a dog, my ex husband would not allow pets! 2) Making our own new rules, for example we have choosing nights for dinner, one each and the other 4 nights is whatever I cook gets eaten 3) Making new routines, Sunday night is DVD night etc 4) Discovering a new relaxed way of bonding with your children 5) The boys learning a bit more about responsibility 6) Looking forward to seeing each other again after contact time with the other parent, after all when you live with your kids full time, you never miss them because they are always there! 7) Holding family meetings! A civilised forum for discussing vital and diverse issues like do we have enough tomato ketchup and cereal to last the week and whose turn is it to clean out the fish tank. (Yes, we have gone for the small menagerie style of living since the pet ban was lifted!) Most serious issue ever raised was the house rule on photos of their dad, which used to be all over the place as I'm a photo person. Rule is, you can have as many photos as you like in your own rooms. He's still a part of their lives, after all. So, is single parenting for you? For some of us, we have no choice, for others it's the best option if a relationship has gone past the point of no return. Be prepared for a roller coaster of emotions and if you have been in a two parent family, there will be massive changes. At the end of the day, if it's best for you, it will probably be best for your kids too.

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                                10.04.2005 19:13
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                                Well I am now a single parent again afterthree years but let me tell you this I may have been in a relationship but I still did everything alone.People brand single parents and its so wrong they make out like we only had kids to keep the person well I for one did not but whats different about been a single parent to been with somebody because as far as Im concerned nothing.I love my kids and I know im better off raising them alone daddy was never around it was me who mopped up the tears me who dealt with the cuts so whats different ? Dont get me wrong been a single parent is hard work you cant just say right im off out now because you have to think about the kids.I love the fact that its just me and the kids we can do what we want go where we want and not have to worry about what he will think sometimes I wish somebody was here but thats only when im feeling low I know I can always turn to my family if I need any help but at least I can hold my head high and say yes I did it alone and I lived to tell the tail. People say single parent family kids miss out .Miss out on what? The arguments seeing mum and dad fight what child wants to see the two people they love the most in the world hurt each other towards the end of my relationship my son was always upset at mum and dad fighting and because I was stressed I was taking it out on my children but I can look back now and see the mistakes I made and I realize its better on the children if im on my own they benefit mummy will always be there to help I wont have to say sorry kids butb your dad wasnts me to do this or that . I was brought up by my mother after my father left I never had any contact with him but I will always remember my mum been there for me every step of the way and I know my kids will .Sometimes you have to be alone even though its scary and all new to you rather than be in an unhappy relationship and see the kids suffering because there the ones we need to be thinking about there the future and they learn from us so what if people brand you hold your head high and say i can do this.The kids will hurt but in time they will look back and see its better now than it was.

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