Single Parent Spotlight 28: Fran

28th February 2016
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 28th interviewee is Fran, an optical dispenser from South East who has a 7-year-old son.

How old were your children when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 
I split with my partner whilst pregnant.

What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 
My son is disabled so working whilst being his carer and managing finances has been tough. We lost our home, had lots of hospital stays and appointments and I have to fight for financial and practical support. 

What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion? 
The control I have so I can do things my way. The bond between my child and I is very strong.

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? 
Yes. I’ve had assumptions that my ex left me and that I don’t work. It’s water off a duck’s back as I have more important things to worry about. 

What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your children? 
We have a good relationship- he has contact and pays maintenance. He takes no responsibility for education, our son’s disability or medical support. It can be hard to maintain at times but is worth it. 

Does he pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 
Yes, we agreed a figure together after son was born.

What contact does your ex have with your child?
2 nights every other week and Wed after school until bedtime.

How does your child respond?
OK mostly, some meltdowns due to different routine
What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 
I’m an Optical Dispenser and work ad hoc due to being carer.I have school holidays off and time off sick when required. I also cover sickness and holidays at work so 1-2 days per week

Who looks after your child when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements? 
My son is at school now so I work school hours only
Before this he would be with a childminder for 4 years prior to school for 3 days a week and it was a specialist childminder.

How old was your son when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work? 
8 months old and I found it really hard!

Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why? 
Not for working, but I do for trying to juggle work around my son’s disability needs.

What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare? 
I couldn’t have survived financially without them. Childcare costs were ok as I was awarded 2 year old funding, but it was taken from WTC so it actually left me worse off.

What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how? 
Good home work balance, no social life though!

Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again? 
I have dated during the last 4 years, which included dating someone for 2 years, but it didn’t work as I had too many commitments.

What tips do you have for other single parents wanting to meet someone? 
Go for it and see!

What would your top 3 tips be to a newbie single parent? 
Enjoy your child
Get financial advice
Work if you can you will be better off both financially and emotionally

If you want to be interviewed for Single Parent Spotlight, just answer these same questions on this online form here.

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  • Barbara

    29th February 2016 at 11:41 am

    Your dedication to meeting your child's needs shines through. You set a good example for many parenting couples who probably don't do half as good a job as you. Respect to you!

  • mummy24

    29th February 2016 at 2:20 pm

    Great post – very honest 🙂

  • Unknown

    2nd March 2016 at 8:50 am

    great post. others don't realise how hard it can be sometimes.

  • SpookyMrsGreen

    27th June 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Just exploring this blog via Britmums and I have to say I feel so much respect for all single parents, but in my experience most especially mums. My circumstances mean that I often feel like a single parent but I don't have the guts to do it for real! Anyway, thanks for sharing your stories 🙂

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