Statistics paint a bleak picture.
Today I have been reading lots of statistics around parenting from within the UK and America and it seems that Single parent statistics look grim in different ways BUT both seem to maintain that these children are more likely to live in poverty and are more likely to suffer abuse…the rest of the picture doesn’t look too great overall either!!
Now I am a very reasonable person but I do take offense to this, although I know it’s not a personal dig at me I can’t help but feel that way for a brief fleeting moment…these are the reported statistics so who am I to argue with them? Well I am a single parent who actually doesn’t ‘FIT’ into these statistics and neither do my children, I am sure I am not the only parent who feels this way…so where are other parents like me who do their absolute best for their children and go against these grim statistics?
I will be the first to put my hand up and admit it is so much harder to be a single parent (did you know 8% of single parents are men) BUT it doesn’t have to mean our children have less of a chance in life…I made it my absolute goal to ensure I raised well balanced children, after all they didn’t ask to come into this world…their father and I did that! They didn’t ask to be raised in a home where one parent was absent…their father and I did that too!! So I was teeth-clenchingly, determined to raise two children who are confident, have always been catered for in terms of their basic needs. Their wants were things they had to save up for; this gave them a respect for their possessions and a good sense of money management.
Single ‘parentdom’ can be a very lonely journey full of uncertainties as you don’t have a second parent at hand to discuss day to day decisions with…are you making all the right decisions? It is not easy to know the answer to this question and so many others. The trials and tribulations faced have to be dealt with, and to a certain degree you have to trust your instincts and maintain control and reason.
I made a vow that I would never smack my children…big fat commitment which I am happy to say I managed…well…each has had one tap on the bottom in their entire lives which they found quite amusing but that was it. I think smacking is a sign that you are losing control and losing the battle of the wills and I chose to deal with things very differently. Thankfully my children are a credit to that decision and have been complete pleasures to raise despite the usual growing challenges they made it to young adulthood unscathed!!!
Committing to my vision and ideals of parenting meant I had to work longer and harder than most and I had to make huge sacrifices personally and in my social life, particularly when they were very young. I made these sacrifices because I had a duty to my children to do my very best for them.
I remember I couldn’t go out very much in the evenings with friends, once in a very long while was all I could manage. I had fabulous friends who completely understood and came to me every fortnight on a Friday…you really learn who your friends are.
I was self-employed, worked part-time, studied every night after putting the kids to bed (I wanted to cherish the time they were awake). I did this so that I could increase my earning power and yes for years I was tired and I look back now and wonder how on earth I did it…I made it a bit more difficult for myself as I had made a point of enjoying the children and creating memories with them which meant all housework and studying took place late at night to the small hours of the morning. ..But, I look at my children now and know that it was the right thing to do and it was so worth it! They have grown up to be confident, intelligent, well balanced, assertive and ambitious young women that I am so utterly proud of.
All that studying (and I still study now…it’s an addiction), paid off, I got better paying, better ranked work and now I run two businesses full time, I am now fully my own boss and it’s great as I can continue to enjoy and support my children (young adults) who are at such different phases in their lives. They are great at reminding me that I am their role model…they look at my strength, motivation, perseverance and sheer determination and know that they too can do whatever they want in their lives…isn’t that the greatest thing for any parent to hear?
If you are a parent, single or otherwise why not join me on The Parent Confidnate Page; I’d like to hear your views on the statistics but I’d also like to hear your amazing parenting achievements. Please share!
Links to UK statistics: http://www.gingerbread.org.uk/content/365/Statistics
This is a US statistic document: http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-240.pdf