Thursday 20 February 2014

Unsung Heroes by Anya Harris

The chances are that you know a single mum somewhere, or even a single dad. The chances are also that they are not particularly young, especially unintelligent or went out of their way to find themselves in the position that they are.

Yet, when one hears the term 'single parent' coined, it would not be unreasonable to immediately conjure the all together common image of a young girl, being raised on a council estate, having her babies incentivised by financial gain via benefits from the state.

And it would not be unreasonable because such a portrayal of fecklessness is carefully constructed by the media, despite it actually being a reflection of a mere 2% of those to whom the label really belongs.

This means the majority of us are wholly misrepresented to quite a major degree!

Some of us might take that less quietly than others. We might not be shouting about that awful statistic from the rooftops - our stamina is good, but let's not stretch it - but we might make a little noise in our own corner of the World Wide Web. Which is what I do.

We are still parents with high aspirations for our children. Our intelligence doesn't plummet in some sort of warped inverse relationship to rising divorce rates, yet you'd be forgiven for thinking so because of the way in which we're represented. Many of us are more or less middle aged and muddling along as best we can, in the same ways other mums and dads do. Yes, it's harder, but it's not as hard (or as damaging for the kids) as being in an unhealthy marriage, so we go it alone.

I run Stories of Single Mums as part of my blog - written by warm and inspiring, wonderful women, who have - generally unwittingly - found themselves parenting alone - even for just a while.  Most importantly, it showcases people who are nothing short of unsung heroes, quietly sassy, getting on with raising their youngsters to the best of their ability despite their circumstances.

Some of them have lost their husbands to illness, others, like me, have endured an irretrievable relationship breakdown with our children's father, but each individual voice is very far removed from those knowing no better than blindly milking the system.

We don't need stigma - we've been through enough. We're more easily pleased than most, more grateful for a cuppa and some company, or a glass of something stronger with someone than you can possibly imagine. So that single mum you know at the school gates, or even that single dad somewhere, give 'em a smile, or an invitation over and the chances are you'll make yourself a feisty new friend!

To find out more about Anya Harris and her blog, visit Older Single Mum Blog. Anya can also be found blogging at The Healer Blog and of course, you can follow Anya on Twitter @anyaharris01 and Google+.