THIS IS SO NOT TRUE. It's a misconception that we're given a very comfortable amount of money to provide on, and that we really have nothing better to do than watch Jeremy Kyle all day. I have a six month old called Rhys, and yes, I am a single parent. I was engaged to his father, but when he turned violent, I left. I found out I was pregnant three months later. He got in contact again when he found out I had had a child, which scared me shitless. I packed up everything and moved over 400 miles away, to keep myself and my son safe. I'm told that every child needs a father, but personally, I don't agree. Not if you had to risk your child's safety to provide them with one.
As for the financial side of it, yes. If you're a single parent, of course you're on benefits. How else are you supposed to provide a home, and food on the table? I can only send Rhys to nursery at the age of two, as, on benefits, I can't afford the sky-high private nursery fees, to send him sooner. But as soon as he is able to go to nursery, I will be going back to work. And yes, I do have a council flat. But I didn't have a child to get myself a council flat. I applied for a council flat to provide a home for my child. Where I was living in London, was the top floor of a rough council estate block. I shared the box room of my parents flat with my son, as there was no where else for us to go. London is a dangerous place to live. There was a boy of fifteen, stabbed to death within a minutes walk of where I lived. Some of my neighbours had drugs. Some of them had a violent history. I just couldn't raise my son there. No chance. No way in hell would I keep my child in such a place. I needed to take him out of that situation, so we moved. It's safer here. We live in a residential area, with a park and a community centre just opposite our home. Tesco, and the doctors, are both a five minute walk away. The school, and nursery, are a ten minute walk away. The town centre is a fifteen minute walk away. My sons godparents live on the road next to ours. I can provide my son with a much better quality of life here, and I don't regret my decisions for a minute. So far, the move has positively benefited both of us. It's a small rural town, and options of work are very limited. But, with this move, I'm a firm believer in being brought somewhere for a reason. For the first time this past month, I've felt a lot more like this is where we're supposed to be. I have a beautiful son, a family home, and all of our family situated close by. I have freedom, where I felt very restricted back in London.
Equally, to provide food on the table, pay my bills, and keep the flat heated, I budget my benefits to the penny. I've become very sensible with money by living independently. You pay your bills, the gas and electricity, you pay for the baby milk, wipes, nappies, and food and medicine your child needs, and then you feed yourself with whatever money is left over. My food shop for me and my son never comes to more than £40 a week. The thing is, with benefits, is that you really don't get enough to doss around with. You have to be responsible with it, because obviously you don't get any extra if you mess it up. (By the way, in no way do I mean to sound like I'm complaining. I'm not, I just think it's really important to clarify the facts).
So, this social stigma that single parents are all bad people, is damn right disgusting. It wasn't you who was put in that situation, and it's awful to tell a girl to have an abortion instead of a baby. It isn't you that would have to live with the mental side effects of that for the rest of your life, of not knowing what could have been, if you had had an abortion. I have a beautiful little boy who means the world to me. He would still be worth everything even if I have to struggle for the rest of my life to provide for him. And in no way am I bad parent, when all I have ever tried to do, from the minute I found out was pregnant, was do the best thing for my child. My son will now be brought up in a family home in a safe area, with a safe place to play, and all of our family around us. He will know the importance of family, and go to a good school. He will be able to do whatever he wants with his life, with me supporting him all the way. I'm already saving for his future, whatever that may be. And when I can go to work, I want to show him the importance of a good work ethic. I want my son to be raised well, safe, and with a lot of love. This is where he'll be able to have that.