Single Parent Spotlight: Sarah Shermann

20th June 2014
The aim of these interviews is to show how AMAZING us working single parents are. I’m sick of seeing the bad press single parents get, especially because some single parents have unfortunately taken the choice to live off benefits, or even worse, have children in order to get benefits, and we all seem to get tarred with the same negative brush!

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!
My sixth interviewee is 28-year-old fellow blogger Sarah Shermann, who lives in Scotland with her 1-year-old son, Jacob.

How old was Jacob when you became a single parent, and how did this come about?
I guess it happened the day I found out I was pregnant, Jacobs dad and me just don’t work together so we made a decision not to try. We thought and still feel it’s better for our son that we’re not together. 
What things have you found hardest as a single parent?
Having no one else around when you need 5 minutes to your self, the lack of sleep has also been pretty darn hard! Now at a year old Jacobs finally starting to sleep well. 
What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion?
This is hard question but part of me is pretty grateful, that 90% of the time it’s just the two of us. I’m glad I’m getting this time to build a bond with him – it’s a hard one to explain exactly what it is to someone who’s never been a single mama, but it sets a different tone when it’s you and no one else, one on one with your child day after day. It’s as good as I make it, and it’s pretty great if I’m honest, our bond is strong and that makes me happy. 
Have you faced any negative judgements/stereotypes for being a single parent? 
Honestly not really but then again I’m not sure I even tell people. The women did NCT with know, there’s no judgement there. But I never really tell people, I would if they asked but know one has, I’m more likely to get asked about my tattoos!
What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your child?
It’s alright, we’ve got different ideas about parenting that caused a few issues. Most of the time we get on. 
How much contact does the father have?
He did see him once during the week and then go overnight once at the weekend. Just now because of his work it’s just the once at weekend 
How does your child cope with contact?
Jacob never know any different so he copes ok, I do think this might change as he gets older and works out other peoples dad’s live with them.  
Does he pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount?
Yes he does, I basically use it to pay for baby classes. We work it out ourselves 
What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week?
I did run my own business right up to a few months ago, but closed it mainly because it really wasn’t what I wanted to so. Having Jacob really made me aware of what I want from life, so come September I’m about to start a arts degree. Pre closing the business I worked 70 hours a week whilst pregnant, went back to work 8 days after my section, and somehow managed til Jacob was 6 months to work around about 35 hours a week without using child care. 
Who looks after your son when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements?
I don’t have any at the moment, if I need him looked after either of his grandmothers can normally take him. When I start back at uni he’ll go to nursery 15 hours a week, which I’m pretty sure he’ll love. 
How old was Jacob when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work?
8 days, I just took him with me I never really even crossed my mind that I might have to adjust to anything. I think however when I start at uni in sept and we won’t be together all the time I might find that hard. 
Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why?
No, I can’t see a point were I will I think over the coming years it might be hard at points but I’m sure we’ll learn to cope. 
What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare?
At present time I don’t get working tax credits. However I think they’re great, I think it helps women stay at work if they want. 
What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how?
No I’ve not found a balance to be honest I’m pretty awful with my social life these days but part of that is because I really just love spending time with my son. 
Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again?
No I’m not, I don’t see it happening for a while 

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