As we are still inexplicably under a Tory government, I have heard this statement far too often. The attitude that we should look down on single parent families and that they should almost be punished for daring to not fit the confines of the nuclear family. I am here to go on the record to say screw that. Such a narrow minded and cold attitude to such a complex matter is not only immature, but it is naïve and irresponsible as well – and should certainly not be one held by some of the most powerful people in the country!
A single parent family does not have to mean single Mum living in a council house that she has always dreamed of, claiming off the dole and scrounging the government out of every penny that she can for all of her eight kids! The conservatives seem to have developed an almost cartoon like portrayal of working class families, which sadly seems to include single parents.
Single parent families are not necessarily always a bad thing, and certainly do not have to mean that either parent was incapable or irresponsible to their duties as a parent. A parent may have unfortunately passed away, the family may have been through a series of abuse, or it can be down to the sad but common fact that sometimes people do just fall out of love. There doesn’t have to be a long running stream of abuse or hatred, sometimes feelings can just change, and that’s okay.
During my childhood it was pretty much just always me and my Mum, that is after we got away from my abusive biological father. But even though we were a single parent family, I loved every second of it! We are so unbelievably close, a closeness that I have never observed with any children and mothers from nuclear families. I am by no means saying that this is not possible, however I don’t believe that me and my mum would have been this close if my dad had still been in the picture. I also got to spend a hell of a lot of time with my grandparents (I even call them Mum and Dad now!) as my mum had to go to work as she was the only one to provide for us.
“Single parent” needs to stop being such a taboo phrase, would you rather the child be raised in a toxic environment, or one where they were not getting the support that they needed? Of course not, sometimes for the best care to be possible, the parents need to live apart – sadly, sometimes it is that simple. I am so thankful for these family relationships that I have developed over the years thanks to my single parent family. My Mum is, and always has been, more like a best friend than an oppressive parental figure. We respect and love each other, and always have each others back. She is the one person I can turn to for support, and I cherish my childhood that we spent together, even when though it was “just me and her”!