Single Parent Spotlight 29: Janette Davey

19th March 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 29th interviewee is Janette Davey, Life With Six Kids blogger, has three jobs and is from Shropshire. She has six children aged between 20 and 2 years old.

How old were your children when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 
They were 17, 15, 13, 4,1 and I was 7 months pregnant.  How I became a single parent was quite complicated and sudden.  Too much to go into here but it is on my blog if you would like to read it.
Janette during her last pregnancy

What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 
Having to take the little ones with me when I run the older ones around as there’s nobody at home to leave them with.   Being ill and nobody to help with the house or the children.  Having nobody to chat to or to make me a cup of tea after a bad day.  

What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion? 
Being able to make my own decisions regarding parenting.  My ex and I had very different ideas so this is definitely easier.  Financial freedom as I know exactly what is in the bank account and what is being spent.  A closer relationship with my children.  This last one has been the most significant and the best one for me.

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? 
Having six children, I fall into the stereotype of a single person having lots of children to get benefits.  Nobody has directly said this although I have been asked if they all have the same father.  I point out that I was married for 19 years and did and still do work.

What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your children? 
We have no contact.
Janette’s 6 Children
Does he pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 
As he is on benefits, he pays £6:72 a week for the five children still at home (in total, not per child).  He pays via the CSA as he fell behind on payments when we had an agreement.  He is still in arrears.

What contact does your ex have with your child?
What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 
I am a part-time teacher – 6 hours a week.  Self-employed antenatal educator and baby massage teacher – 10 hours a week.  Mums in the Know Area Manager – 6-8 hours a week.  Utility Warehouse distributor – 6-8 hours a week.  So in total, I work around 30 hours a week, although most is now in the home rather than out of it.

Who looks after your child when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements? 
They are all at school apart from my youngest who goes to nursery 3 days a week (9am-3pm).  My mum does school pick up and drop off once a week while I am teaching at school.  My eldest two look after my younger ones for one evening a week so I can teach my birthing class.  

How old was your son when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work?
With my last, I went back to work 2 weeks after he was born but this was self-employed working from home, so I was able to manage working from the laptop while having baby cuddles.  The older ones, I went back to work at around 6 months and I found it too soon as I was still breastfeeding on two occasions on my return.  But, I always found the thought of returning to work worse than actually returning.

Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why? 
Yes.  When my children are ill or I can’t attend school events, I have felt guilty.  Which is part of the reason for cutting down the employed work and increasing the self-employment, so that I have a little more flexibility to be able to go to sports days, performances and so on.  

What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare? 
The cost of childcare is so high that it makes it hardly worth working.  Even with help with working tax credit, I was working for less than the minimum wage after childcare, tax, NI and pension (and that is with a teacher’s salary after 10 years in the job).  As for the tax credit cuts – I could rant all day on that one!  It is just going to put more children in poverty and reduce the incentives to work.

What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how? 
I have no social life but then I moved here a year ago and still don’t know lots of people. I feel that moving more from employed to self-employed, my work/home balance is better although I am working more from home. At least my children are here with me so I can do both. (Well, try to!)

Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again? 
Definitely not dating again as I can’t get out of the house in the evenings.  Totally ready but it will be a long time until my youngest is old enough to be left so I can go out dating.

What tips do you have for other single parents wanting to meet someone? 
Don’t know as haven’t reached that point yet.

What would your top 3 tips be to a newbie single parent? 
No matter how bad it gets – This moment will pass.
Make sure you have a little treat for yourself each day, no matter how small it is – a bath, a bar of chocolate etc.
It is not a weakness to ask for help.

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

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