Single Parent Spotlight: Rebecca Jones

12th August 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 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!

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 eighth interviewee is 34-year-old Rebecca, a fellow blogger who lives in Birmingham with her 11-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.
Rebecca & Her Gorgeous Kids

How old were your children when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 
I split up with my daughter’s dad when she was 3, but we continued living together until she was 6. My son has a different father and we split up when I was 15 weeks pregnant.
What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 
The assumption (especially when my son was a baby) that you have a partner and just the day to day pressure of being the only person responsible for absolutely everything.

What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion? 
You get to make the majority of the decisions, and this may be a bit controversial, but when they spend time with their other parent, you get some ‘real’ me time!
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? 
Definitely. I get the assumption that I must not be very intelligent because I am a single non-working parent. Any difficulties at school, I am always made  to feel like it is because I am the only parent. There is also the assumption that I must want to be in a relationship, I’m not sure why? I don’t get saddened by this, more a bit irritated that the assumption is that your children are disadvantaged in some way.
What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your children? 
My eldest child’s father: civil yet frustrating. He’s not the most reliable, yet doesn’t see a problem with this. My youngest, again civil yet frustrating. I have to see more of him than I’d like to because my son is only two and his father doesn’t live locally.
How much contact did/does the father have? 
My daughter sees her dad every weekend, my son sees his dad every other day.
How does your children cope with contact? 
My daughter is starting to notice that her Dad isn’t very reliable, but she is getting a bit older now and is equally as happy to spend time with her friends instead. My son has never known any different so he copes fine.
Do they pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 
Yes, both fathers do based on advice from Child Maintenance Options.
What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 
I am a full time mature student at university, studying for a BA in English and Creative Writing. Prior to this I worked as a Registered Veterinary Nurse for 17 years.
Who looks after your children when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements? 
My daughter is at school, my son goes to a registered child minder, who happens to be a family friend which makes it easier. I have known her for my whole life so I trust her 100%. I may have felt differently had I had to leave my son with a stranger. Our arrangement works very well.
How old were your children when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work? 
I returned to work when my daughter was 18 months old. With my son it was different because I used to work shifts. As his Dad had left, I could not work shifts with a baby as a single parent, so I did not return to work after my maternity leave. I chose to study instead.
Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why? 
Yes, especially when my daughter was a toddler. Leaving her at nursery at 7.30am and not collecting her until 6pm. Just seemed like I wasn’t spending enough time with her, so I ended up working from home 2 days a week in an admin role. I returned to working full time when she was at school, working closer to home with less of a lengthy commute.
What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare? 
The cost of childcare is ridiculously high compared to the national average wage. Don’t get me wrong I don’t begrudge paying the going rate for decent childcare. The peace of mind for finding a childcare provider that you trust is priceless, however, most people’s wages aren’t high enough to pay for this and other essential living costs. It is a bit silly that we are still living in situation where some single parents on a low wage are better off on benefits than working.
What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how? 
It’s not a great balance, but there is some balance. For instance, as I mentioned in an earlier answer, you do have more quality time to yourself when the children stay with their other parent. Perhaps more so than couples with children. However not having someone to share the load with, both the highs and the lows does become very tough.
Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again? 
Yes, I am! But only very recently. Last month I started dating again, so nearly 3 years!
What tips do you have for other single parents wanting to meet someone? 
Don’t rush it, wait until you feel happy with your own life and how you feel about yourself before you look at meeting someone new. Don’t be afraid to date someone that isn’t your ‘type’, there are so many interesting people out there, some of which you may write-off at first, don’t! You never know!
What would your top 3 tips be to a newbie single parent?
1.Get a good support network in place so if you need help you can ask. If you do not have any friends or family that you can turn to, join sites like Netmums and Mumsnet for online support and advice.
2. As tempting as it might be to slag off your ex in front of your children, try not to. I know this is easier said than done! They may be a crappy partner but that doesn’t always mean they’ll be a crappy parent. And your child loves their other parent too, you don’t want them to feel like they have to take sides.
3. Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up if you have bad days or struggle with chores. It’s so hard in those early days but you will get through it. If you need a day in your PJs crying over chick flicks and eating chocolate, do it!

If you want to take part in Single Parent Spotlight or know someone that might, please contact me.
Interviews are done via email and can be kept anonymous if preferred.

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  • BexJ30

    14th August 2014 at 10:20 pm

    Thank you for featuring me! I enjoyed thinking about my answers, made me focus more on the positive side of single parenting. Sorry for the delay in replying, my internet connection was off for two days! xx

  • Bek

    11th December 2014 at 1:41 pm

    It is good to see from the perspective of another single parent. I agree with the not slagging the other parent off advice. I get more quality time by myself now that my ex cares for my children now and again. More than he did before.x

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