Monday, 22 October 2012

The one where I try not to offend single parents

A few days ago I received this comment on this blog's Facebook page, in reply to a post I'd shared.

"I am sorry to put it this way, but I have briefly read through some articles here, such as the holiday and up sizing the family car, and I have to say that for a supporter of single parents, the contents are easily viewed by some single parents as inappropriate, because of content. When presenting articles aimed at single parents, you need to exercise a little politics. A large number of lone parents do not have the income, to indulge in such activities described. This can be viewed as hurtful and offensive."

If I'm honest my first reaction was to be quite stung by it, after all I don't court controversy on here and have only had a couple of negative comments over four years (my favourite was the recent "Ur a dik hed" - It made my day).

Then, after I'd had some time to digest it I was slightly annoyed. Annoyed with the idea that I had somehow offended single parents, and also with the inference that I'm a supporter of single parents in name only.

The main theme of this blog is to share my own experiences and offer help by directing single parents to the right place. Yes okay, I'm not storming Downing Street waving a placard but I like to think it might help some single parents in a small way, and indeed I've had emails and messages to back that up.

The comment also implied that some of the topics covered on here - namely our recent holiday and wanting to upsize our smaller car - were inappropriate. Inappropriate.

Why is a one-week holiday in Wales inappropriate for single parents to read? Single parents have holidays too, in fact I happen to know that some single parents even go abroad!

And while we're at it, let's explode some myths about single parents:

  • not all single parents are destitute;
  • many single parents have careers, or at least decent jobs;
  • there are plenty of us who take holidays, have nice homes, drive a car, buy designer brands, eat in restaurants with proper napkins, drink good quality wine and own an iPad;
  • most are not single parents situation by choice, but still try to make the most of a sometimes difficult situation.

The thing is, there's so much negative rubbish written about 'feckless' single parents and how we are the scourge of society that many people believe it and I for one am sick to death of it. Most single parents are decent, hard-working people trying to provide stable, happy homes for their children despite the odds.

There are plenty of obstacles for single parents to overcome and trying to maintain a work/life balance is often top of that list. The absence of a partner can make it more difficult to fit work around home life, and as I mentioned recently it's the lack of affordable childcare and flexible working which pushes many into part-time, low-paid work. That's not an easy one to overcome and I don't denigrate the hardships many single parents face, in fact I'm also on a low income but somehow we manage.

The bottom line is this: it's my blog and I write about our lifestyle which happens to include annual holidays in Wales. If you're a regular reader you'll also know that I've written plenty of times about our highs and lows as a single parent family, and yes it does have its hardships and they're often emotional rather than practical. If, like me, you don't have a support network of friends and relatives helping out with school pick-ups, babysitting, etc it can be frustrating and downright exhausting. But here's the thing:  there are actually *whispers* some advantages too.  

So, this is a long and rambling way of saying that being a single parent isn't all bad, despite what the Daily Mail would have you believe. 

Oh, and guess what?  We're already planning our holiday for next year.