Single Parent Spotlight: Leisa Gawler

25th April 2015
The aim of these interviews is to show how AMAZING us working single parents are. 
I want to highlight how hard, but also how rewarding being a working single parent is, and to hear how other people in my position handle the tougher times, in the hopes I learn how to be the best parent I can be! 
I’m sick of seeing the bad press single parents get in the media, because some single parents have taken the choice to live off benefits, or even worse, have children in order to get benefits. We all seem to get tarred with the same negative brush!

My 21st interviewee is 40-year-old Leisa Gawler, a graphics designer from Somerset who has one son aged eight.

How old were your
children when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 
He was 4 and my husband of 20 years walked out and left us for one of my

What things have you
found hardest as a single parent? 

Probably the sole responsibility of
everything, having nobody to discuss decisions with or share expenses with etc

What are the benefits
to parenting alone, in your opinion? 

The time I now have to spend with my son
is much more enjoyable, I have more time to focus on him, and our relationship
is so strong and close it is worth every tear I have cried over his father.

Have you faced any
negative judgements/stereotypes for being a single parent? If so can you share
with us what happened and how it made you feel? 

Mainly from the ex who thinks I
am ‘rich’ and ‘assumes’ that I get every benefit going just because I am a
single parent!

What sort of
relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain
for your child? 

It’s amicable for the sake of my son. I don’t choose to
spend time with him but I can do so if I have to for my son’s sake.

How much contact
did/does the father have? 

He has him every Sunday between 10 and 4.

How does your
child cope with contact? 

He’s just ‘used to it’ now
Leisa and her son

Does he pay
maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 
He pays the
minimum that he HAS to pay (£30 a week). We agreed £60 a week when he left but
he has since pleaded poverty (which is a lie) and now only pays what the law
says he has to.

What’s your job, and
how many hours do you work per week? 

Graphic Designer 28hrs a week

Who looks after your
child when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare

He goes to after school club, holiday club and my parents have
him. I am lucky that the school have these options or I wouldn’t be able to
work. School holiday club in the summer costs me over £300 for the 6 weeks.

How old was your
child when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into

He was 6 months old, he went to nursery. It took a while to adjust and I
hated leaving him but I had no choice.

Have you ever felt
guilt by working? If so, why? 
This is the one thing I constantly battle with,
guilty that I don’t pick him up from school, or go to events during school
time, guilty that I can’t spend time with him in the holidays and guilty at
work if I take time off because he is ill, or I have meetings (he is deaf and
we have a lot of meetings with various support staff etc) Guilty that I can’t
give my job or my child 100% of my focus or time.

What’s your view on
Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare? 
The cost of childcare is
way too high if mums are to get back to work that’s for sure! I’m not sure how
the Tax Credits thing works to be honest, I have never really understood it. I
know I don’t get working tax credit even though I work (?).

What is your
work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so,
My social life is non-existent and revolves around my son’s football
matches etc, I have got to know a couple of the other ‘soccer mums’ but not

Are you dating again?
If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again? 


What tips do you have
for other single parents wanting to meet someone? 

I have no idea because I
haven’t even been brave enough to enter that territory!

What would your top 3
tips be to a newbie single parent? 

1. Sort out the finances first, contact the
people involved, explain your situation and get everything sorted. (This will
be a big weight off your mind). 2. Take everyday as it comes, don’t think too
far ahead, get through each day and feel good that you have done it – You CAN
do it! 3.Cherish every moment, the bond between you and your child will be

If you want to be interviewed for the next Single Parent Spotlight, contact me on the tab at the top of the page!

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  • Looking for Blue Sky

    29th April 2015 at 3:10 pm

    I enjoyed that, and second almost everything that that lady says, she sounds very strong x

  • Unknown

    30th April 2015 at 9:37 am

    Lovely to read a post about other single parents. A lot of that rings true to me.

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