That Single Mum Stigma

Last year I saw an interview with TV personality Fearne McCann. She spoke of her refusal to being branded a “single Mum”, about how just being a Mum should be enough and it made me think a lot about my own views on being a single mum.

I have no issue with being called a single mum. I’m a mum who is single so why should the wording bother me. What I do have an issue with is the stigma that surrounds this. Not for the first time there seems to be a spate of negative posts about Single Mum’s on social media. The generalisation is this, that we

“Sponge off the government and spend tax payers money on nights out and ASOS orders, while looking for a new daddy for our children while sitting around watching Loose Women in our free new builds”

The truth is, yes some single Mum’s do this but so do some married parents and Men and Women who don’t have children.

Believe it or not a lot of us never chose to be a single mum, not all of us popped out babies for extra benefits. I know girls who became single Mum’s at 17 years old who have worked their arses off the same as everyone else ever since. I also know girls who are on their 3rd/4th/5th kid without ever setting foot in the staff room of any job!

I would happily show my bank statements to anyone who thinks all single mum’s get lots of free money. The majority of what I have comes from what I earn at work, I pay my own rent, childcare and bills. I do get child support from my ex and some tax credits that top up what I earn but I don’t expect a medal for providing for and making sacrifices for my children, that’s being a parent, single or not. I’m not ashamed that I get help because of my situation. I save for nice things and am lucky enough to get some nice things from companies for a bit of online promotion now and then.

Here are some facts…

  • Nearly a quarter of all UK families are single parent ones. Funnily enough some of the people posting these negative things were raised in single parent families, take a lead from the likes of Barack Obama and Adele and celebrate single parent upbringings instead of slating them.
  • 68% of single parents are in work
  • Yet 47% of children in single parent families live in relative poverty (it’s not all Disneyland and PlayStations )

Dating as a single mum is difficult, people have either that slummy single Mum view or assume you want to give them a couple of kids that aren’t theirs for life! My children have a Dad so that isn’t a priority for what I look for in a relationship. It’s great if someone can accept and fit in with your lifestyle but I aren’t looking to palm them off with a ready-made family after one date. That’s if you ever get the chance to meet anybody with said ready made family in tow at all times!

So feel free to call me a single Mum, to be honest there’s an awful lot worse I’ve been called! Just remember that we are very much like the rest of society…a whole range of people who are vastly different. Also if anybody would like to pay for me a Disneyland trip or my ASOS wish list I’d accept being called a sponger!

Colin the Caterpillar is getting married and I’m still single!

…EDIT…title change before someone has a coronary!!! Sorry!

My Sister got engaged to the love of her life at the weekend and I’ve had to bite my tongue every day since. Not because of their engagement of course, but because people are continually asking me if I’m upset by it.

My sister is 8 years younger than me, she is beautiful and has just settled into her first home. I am a 33 year old single mum who’s never been a homeowner or someone’s fiancé. Yet I have never been jealous of her one day of my life. I think being sisters the lines blur…if she’s happy I’m happy and if I’m happy then she’s happy.

Here are the reasons people assume I am unhappy about the engagement.

  1. I am lonely. What is that saying about being alone but not lonely. Yeah thats me. I don’t know how many times people need to hear that I do not need a boyfriend but it doesn’t seem to be going in.
  2. I thought I would get married first. To who??? My ex? a new love? The invisible f**king man?? I love a wedding (because I love fashion and flowers and food and making everything look fantastic) but I’ve never aspired to marriage. I’m not anti-getting hitched but I’ve never obsessed over it.
  3. I never wrote on my sisters engagement status on Facebook. Blah blah blah!!!! To the person who trawled through 111 comments to see if I’d wrote anything here’s your answer. I didn’t comment. I had spoke to her before it was Facebook announced. I’d already made it clear how excited I was. I was out partying, I had 25% battery left on my phone and didn’t want 111 notifications draining what was left! Haha
  4. I’ve been sad this week. Without too much detail, The end of August is tough for me. The anniversaries of losing 4 amazing people fall in the same week and I think that means I’m allowed to feel a little bit rubbish.

So here’s how I actually feel…. Nicole and Jamie, I am over the moon that you are now engaged. I am happy that you have found each other and are planning the most perfect life. I am excited to be part of a wedding (I can scan through 40,000 photos of wedding stationery now without feeling like a weirdo). I am sorry that I said “do I have to be a Bridesmaid?” as if it was the worst thing in the world. I promise not to take over but know that I will Instagram the fuck out of everything slightly wedding-y we do in the next 2 years and will tag you in every Rock-n-Roll bride post that I see before your wedding.

Congratulations on your engagement!

“Cause I know there is strength in the differences between us and I know there is comfort where we overlap”

The Shelf 

Say Hello to the last single girl in her friend group. All my mates have slowly got coupled up, settled down or married leaving just me ( currently in a relationship with a large Pimms, Love Island and my new cheek illuminator)

My friend married her childhood sweetheart, she left school with her future husband whereas I left with a brown envelope of B’s and C’s and a snog from a popular boy behind a prefab.

My long-term loved up friends have never had to understand the struggle of sex and dating in 2017. We laughed over wine while I told her the only man (boy??) I even slightly liked in real life was completely inappropriate and showed her how Tinder worked.

So for those of you who’ve never had the pleasure (??) of using it here is my rundown of Tinder.

(I talk about it from my viewpoint, a girl looking for a guy. Obviously there are other options on Tinder that are just as common, most probably just as ridiculous and as wonderful as my experience)

1.The Basics

So you set up your profile, put in the age/gender/location of who you want to meet and you’re good to go. Pictures of guys pop up and you swipe left if they’re horrific (there’s no time for personality on Tinder, it is brutal) right if there’s a possibility they might be a babe or up if you’re an absolute Keeno and want to “Super Like” them. If you both swipe right for each other you become a Match and you can message each other until you get a hotter match and accidentally forget about your other ones.

2. Hey 

The Beiber of the Tinder message world. It is just absolutely everywhere!! “Hey” is Tinder’s go-to greeting. Don’t ask what is wrong with Hi or Hello but they just don’t happen. (Sometimes the opening line is “Hey, how’s you?” which is the absolute worst- just stick with Hey.

3. Naughtiness 

Hands down if you don’t have a good sense of humour Tinder is not gonna be for you!!!!! You will get THE naughtiest messages! The most normal looking guy will ask you the dirtiest questions, suggest the most disgusting things and if you don’t laugh it off you are going to be seriously offended. For the other extreme please see Plenty of Fish for some serious melts!

4. Photos

According to Tinder profile pictures…90 % of guys have traveled the world, had their photo taken with a sedated tiger, worked as a personal trainer and walked around with their mates continuously pointing at them. The pointing is a good thing…at least you can tell who the profile belongs to… I will never swipe right when all the pictures are group ones, there’s always a chance it’s that creepy guy on the end of the group selfie. There are also the weirdest pictures. I have seen…..

Just children (no sign of the guy on any of them)

Pictures of someone’s gravestone

Couple pictures (yet no mention of group activities)

Dogs (there are loads of dog pictures!)

A wedding photo

Some Easter eggs

One of those naff  “man-u” quote pictures

5. Married? 

Here’s the bit that is going to freak out all my friends who read this. Some of your husbands/boyfriends are on Tinder! Not many but more than one or two. I’d like to think they are just too stupid to realise it’s a dating app but they’re possibly just too stupid to realise that people like me will see that they’re on it.

6. Accidents 

There have been a few occasions when I’ve been looking through Tinder while I’m half asleep and swiped the wrong way while nodding off. Luckily you can delete a match when you realise that 20 year old chav has appeared on your Match list

7.Jamie,Geoffrey and that S&M guy 

I have speed swiped through beautiful looking boys by mistake, gone forever just as you realise that they actually could have been everything. Yet some guys pop up constantly….not matter how many times you swipe left. Either they have thousands of profiles, they’re bots or there’s a massive glitch in the app.

Speaking of Bots- according to my guy friends there are loads of girl bots to match with who will try to get you to sign up to porn sites/ send money etc. I have never matched with a guy bot but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Be careful guys

8. Friends

It’s always a bit awkward coming across guys you know in real life and never knowing whether to attempt a right swipe. I know some girls swipe right for anyone they know….I’m all for only doing it but just if you actually fancy them ( a little bit….you know who you are. Don’t get too excited! Haha)

9. Catfish 

Please watch seasons 1-6 of MTV’s Catfish even if just to learn the art of reverse image searching. Do not believe everyone online is who they say they are…I know of some real life horror stories and I’m sure you do too, be careful.

10. Fun

Remember that Tinder is meant to be fun…yes some people have married their Tinder matches or have had really great hook ups but these are few and far between. I have met up with two people that I met on there….one was awful, one was great..Both led to nothing.

I’d love to hear your Tinder successes or horror stories as well as your comments and opinions as always.

Of Course Sometimes Shit Goes Down When it’s 12 Thousand Dollars and a Trashy Parent*

*No explanation needed! If you know, you know! 

What do you want more than anything else in the world? Health, wealth, happiness? Love or a lottery win? World peace or a Cartier ring? 

Current mood: furious with everyone and everything! Prepare for some shade….

I am bored with bragging. I am tired of people choosing finance, extravagance and showing off over the things that really matter.

I have spoke before about “insta-lives” and how it’s hard to know what is real or fake on social media. I struggle so much some days when people are posting about their amazing lives/jobs/kids/husband. Today is one of those days, mundane (current sitch: hungover, sprawled on the sofa, watching Ab Fab, 10 fucking stone heavier after a diet of Boosts and Monster Munch) and seeing exotic holidays, glam purchases and meals in fancy restaurants is enough to push me to the edge. 

I’m pretty sure I do it too. I post about the free shit that I get, the amazing days out we get to have and the beautiful food we get to eat. I do however admit that my Armani jacket was £15 from work, that most of my expensive shit was free and that I spend most weekends with a serious case of FOMO wishing I was having a romantic meal with my non-existent hot boyfriend. 

When I do (if I do?) find someone to put up with me long enough to be my boyfriend/husband I would hope my Mum would spend her time “bragging” about how lovely he is, about how happy we are, about how he is a good Father and a decent person rather than how rich he is and how ridiculously extravagant my wedding will be. 

I would rather be happily sat in my Primark PJ’s binge watching 4 seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race with the people I love than be crying into my Mulberry purse because my boyfriend isn’t quite as exciting as I hoped and because I’ve pissed off 75% of the town so not enough people see my over filtered fake-book photos. 

It is true what they say money can’t buy you class or morals or a personality but stick a filter and a vignette over everything and you can pretend it does!