Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Please don't judge me for being a single parent

I have been a single mother for a few years now and in that time I overheard some very disturbing  comments being made against people in my situation. I try not to listen to them because I know that they are untrue and that single parents should be regarded as super-heros as it is one of the hardest jobs in the world, especially if like me you have no family around to help with child care. 

Maybe you're a single parent too or if you are not, chances are you know one. The biggest things that single parents deal with is feeling alone and misunderstood. I also feel left out/different. Single parenting is lonely and I admit I have to fight daily with feelings of jealously towards 'happy' families and that feeling like you're not worth being loved. Everyone around me seems to be in a happy relationship and I am always the single one at the table during family meals out. 

It is easy to judge someone before knowing their story and background. There is always a good reason why a person is in the situation they are in today so it bugs me that people are so quick to make assumptions nowadays. Nobody likes to be judged, labelled and misunderstood, it's a horrible feeling. It is easy to say to me that I always look sad and begin to list a ton of things that I have gone wrong in my life. I know what went wrong and there is no need to judge me for the mistakes I have made. There is also no need to make assumptions. Yes, both my children are from the same father (a question I have been asked many times), yes I was in a happy stable relationship with a good career when I made the decision to have children, and no I didn't ask/want to be a single mum. Please please don't judge, judging people doesn't help anyone. 

I know that there are thousands of single parents out there and I am so glad to have been able to meet others in similar situations to me through blogging. It why I still want to carry on and I really value all the support and encouragement I get when times are hard.

 I wanted to list a few common assumptions people tend to make towards me as a single mum:

- I am desperate to find a guy, one with a fat wallet, because I just can't be without a partner. Oh and some have even presumed that I want to steal their husbands because I am so desperate. It is also unfair to say that I need a man in my life to be happy. When people say 'why aren't you putting the effort in on the dating websites?' it makes me feel like I am letting them down. Why do I need to be in a relationship? In my opinion, I am better off as a single parent. 

- Assume that I am so extremely poor that I cannot pay my side of the bill when we all eat out/stop for a coffee together. Also its kind of not OK to tell me that I shouldn't be buying myself and the children new clothes, having days outs, taking a trip to the theatre, and that I should be limiting trips to the supermarket. Nobody wants to discuss their personal finances and have people tell them how to manage them unless they are working for the bank of course. 

- Some people think the complete opposite to the last point which is that I am rolling in tons of money because I get CSA and benefits. This really bugs me because its far from the truth. I don't get a lot from the government and hardly anything from CSA. When I tell people the amount of help I actually get from CSA they tend to be horrified. 

- I don't work and I just sit on my bum all day watching Jeremy Kyle with a bag full of cookies. Actually I do work, yes it's only part time but I don't think we could have the lifestyle we have today if i didn't work. When I get home I wish I could fall onto the sofa but there is just so much to do that I don't normally sit down until the children go to bed. Just because I am a single parent that doesn't mean  I am lazy. 

- I sleep about because I have two children with no father around. This is what I feel like people think of me all the time when in fact I haven't had a partner in two years and that was my husband. I have never had a one night stand and I was in loving relationship when the children were born. Unfortunately relationships break down through differences, not all are because one partner was unfaithful. My relationship broke down because it was better for the children to separate. 

- Single mums can't be hired because of their demanding lifestyles and family responsibilities. My previous employer hated me for being a single mum and made life difficult for me. I left because of the discrimination I felt and I wasn't the only mum there who felt forced to hand in their notice. When I went for interviews for a new job, many employers expressed their concern that I was a single mum and so wouldn't be able to fulfil their expectations for new employees. I guess they felt I was going to take so much time off, be unable to work shift patterns or be too tired to work my best. I think this is extremely unfair because parents know hard work/long hours and want to work to provide a good life for their children.

- A single mum's child will grow up to be a menace to society. This statement can be true for children growing up in both single parent homes or two parent homes. There are so many examples where children have come from single parent homes and have gone on to succeed in life. Just because their parents are no longer together, that doesn't mean that they are going to fail in life. Single parents are able to love and nurture their children just like married couples can. 

I know this was a bit of a long rant but I just wanted to get all my anger out onto a blog post about how I have been treated these past few years. Hopefully this post will relate to other single parents out there and encourage them to ignore any negative assumptions they might experience along their journey. 

Have you heard any assumptions lately about single parents that you feel should be put to rest? 


Monday, 27 July 2015

30/52 25th July

This weeks portraits for Living arrows were taken during a day out in Plymouth on Saturday. We avoided the city and headed to the waterfront to check out all the classic sail boats that were moored up for the weekend. The harbour was packed full of people but we still managed to have a lovely time. 

“You are the bows from your children as living arrows are sent forth" Kahlil Gibran

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Living Arrows

Sunday, 26 July 2015

My Sunday photo

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This weeks sunday photo was taken at the national marine aquarium in Plymouth. It was fairly dark in there so apologies for the grainy photo but this is Snorkel the loggerhead turtle, a favourite amongst everyone who visits the aquarium. She was rescued 25 years ago after being washed up on the beaches of Cornwall but was too ill to be released back into the wild. She is blind in one eye and has a deformed shell so she cannot swim very well but she is definitely a beauty. 

Linking up to my sunday photo. 


Monday, 20 July 2015

29/52: Happy Birthday Tom

Dear Thomas,

On Sunday you turned Seven! I can't believe it's been seven years since the midwives handed me another beautiful and precious little angel. You were a spitting image of your big brother and you still are. Your birth was exhausting and wasn't without complications but when I first held you in my arms, everything was forgotten, it was love at first sight. You were a good baby, you didn't cry too much and seemed content to sit in your chair staring at your big brother running around you. But then you learned to crawl and climb and we noticed what an  amazing personality you were developing. You were a little explorer (and still are) and love to get into everything. You were hilarious and always had everyone in fits of laughter. One thing I really love about you Thomas is how much you love me. You loved and still love our mummy and son cuddle time. My favourite memories will always be you and I on the sofa reading together surrounded by all your teddies who never left your side. 
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You're about to leave infant school and head to junior school. You have so many friends and I am sure you will be fine. Everyone you meet absolutely loves you and I couldn't be more proud of my confident little ball of energy. All your school reports boast how smart you are and your teachers tell me they love having you in their class. I just know you are going to so well in the rest of your school years. 

I know that you will change as you grow up, but I hope some part of you always stays as you are now, sweet, funny, loving, inquisitive, and excited about everything. I am so blessed to be able to call you my son and I just know Alfie loves being your big brother. You two are the best of friends and I hope you always will be. You and your brother have made the my world worth living.

I hope you are able to achieve your dreams and live the life you deserve. Right now, it's your ambition to become a zoo keeper. I think you would be perfect. You are so loving and caring towards animals, you only want to watch animal planet on TV and all the neighbour hood pets come running to you and only you for lots of cuddles. But if your dreams do not work out for you, just know that I will always be there to support you and help you back on the right path. 

So happy Seventh birthday baby boy. I hope I made it special for you. We had a fantastic day out at your favourite theme park, Woodlands on the Saturday and Granddad came to take you for fish and chips on the beach on Sunday. You were smiling and giggling the whole weekend and I hope you will remember the fun you had for many years to come. I also hope you enjoyed your birthday cake which Alfie insisted he gave to you.

I Love you Thomas. Happy birthday. x

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Living Arrows
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Saturday, 18 July 2015

My Sunday Photo

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Through my child's eyes #17

Hello and welcome back to Through my child's eyes, the link up for mini photographers and artists. The link up was started when my eldest son Alfie started to show an interest in photography. He wanted me to put his photos on my blog and also he wanted to see if other children like to take photos too. The Linky will run from Thursday to Saturday, so plenty of time to link up your posts. 
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This weeks 'Through my child's eyes' has a dinosaur theme. At the moment, both boys are obsessed with dinosaurs after seeing the film Jurassic world. They are always playing with their giant dinosaur models in the garden, recreating fight scenes from the film. In Alfie's photos the T-rex was hiding in the long grass and as the triceratops and stegosaurus walked past, then he pounces on them like a cat. 

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The Linky 

  • Please add my badge to your posts 
  • Link up your children's artwork or photos, with or without words is fine
  • It will run from Thursday 12am till Saturday
  • Can be old or new and as many as you like
  • When you add your link, please make sure they lead to your posts and not your blog's homepage. It may be difficult for me to find. 
  • Share your link up on twitter using #throughmychildeyes and tag me @gemma_stevens so I know to retweet and comment on your post. 
  • Try and comment on other posts in the link up. 
  • Feel free to link your Instagram photos too
  • Enjoy working together

I look forward to seeing the photos and artwork your children have created recently. Please help me make #throughmychildseyes a success by sharing the link up across your social media and by adding my badge to your posts.

Through my child's eyes


Why I love having sons

I really love having my two boys and I definitely feel extremely blessed to have them in my life. I love their energy, their playfulness, and how loving they are. I will admit I used to wish for a little girl but my shop is closed. The doctor confirmed my children were miracles and I was lucky to have fallen pregnant twice with the condition that I have. I may never have anymore children but I am fine with that. My boys are all I need and besides I have nieces and a little sister that I can spoil with all those gorgeous pink frilly dresses I see in the shops. So instead of dwelling on the daughter I may never have, I want to list all the amazing things my boys bring to my life. 

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1.  Quick to get ready in the mornings

There is no need for french braids, neat buns, or pig tails tied up with a ribbon with boys. This is great  for a mum who struggles to make her own hair look acceptable for work let alone someone elses. The boys hair sometimes doesn't even need to be touched as I like to keep it short unless its picture day and then I might spend two seconds rubbing some gel into it. Also boys don't care about what they are wearing. You just have to throw them a t-shirt, pair of jeans and a pair of trainers and off you go. As a young girl I remember stressing out over what to wear to non-uniform days, school discos, and clubs. Boys just want to be comfortable, they are not interested in impressing anyone with their latests fashions. I have heard this might change when they are teenagers though, something to look forward to. 

2. Lots of cuddles

My boys never stop moving, they are just so full of energy but when that energy does start wearing off in the evenings, its cuddle time. My youngest boy is especially the most soppiest little thing you will ever meet. Boys really do love their mums. I know all children love their mums regardless of gender but I do now see why the term 'mummy's boy' is so frequently said. Both of my boys love to fight over who sits on my lap for a bedtime story and get upset when mummy gives the other brother more night time kisses than they received. One day they might tell me that they are too old for kisses and became a little distant but I know we will always have that special mother and son bond. 

3. The muddy adventures

It is perfectly acceptable to be running around the fields covered head to toe in mud, holding worms in their hands while fighting to keep their trousers up because their pockets are so full of stones. I am a self confessed tom boy so I love going into the woods to hunt for that perfect tree to climb, looking for bugs and building dens with the boys. 

4. The toys

I have always preferred boys toys over girls, I just think they are so much cooler. Having sons is the perfect excuse to build giant lego structures, play with dinosaurs, push around fire trucks/ambulances, shoot each other with nerf guns and play with all the avengers action figures. There is also the fact boys are just so much fun to be around. Alfie and Tom love to dress up in costumes and create scenarios where one will be the good guy and the other the bad guy. They will hide behind trees with their giant water pistols, jump off low walls, attempt a stunt roll, and just randomly break dance when they catch each other. Boys can be quite fascinating to watch. 

5. Creating gentleman

I have a very important job to ensure that my boys grow up to be respectful gentleman. I have to teach them to be men but tell them it's OK to express your feelings. I want my sons to know how to treat others and to have confidence in themselves. I want to teach them about how hard work is rewarding and that their dreams are possible. Also, I want them to know that I will support them in what ever decisions they make in life and that I will always be there for them. I have years until that dreaded day where they fly the nest and I am no longer needed but for now I hope I will create kind, loving, and respectful gentleman. 

What is your favourite thing about having a son? 

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