A single parent has something she wants to say.
In this country, it seems it makes us comfortable to put things in boxes. This guy is a Muslim, so he’s an extremist or terrorist. This woman wore a short skirt and walked down the street and got raped, so she was asking for it. The guy sleeping on a bench at the train station is homeless, so he must be a drug addict. And one that we really love is single parents. This woman has three kids and is a single parent. Clearly, she’s just having kids to get the pension.
Do people think parents sit around all day with our feet up, watching the money roll in? Has anyone who has held power in our past two governments sat down and had a hard look at the consequences cuts to single parents – and families – will have on the country’s future?
Every cut pushes parents further into the workplace, consequently taking us further away from our children who need us. It puts pressure on us to make ends meet and the ones who pay are our children.
You don’t just get divorced on a whim. Some women are fleeing abusive relationships and they are scared. Some have no money. Their children are afraid. They are fighting custody battles. They are under immense pressure, not only during the divorce, but up until their children are adults.
I am not saying single parents shouldn’t work. But there should be more flexibility on the number of hours they work, because sometimes, our children need us. During the six years since my divorce I have been in hospital eight times. In fact, a recent Harvard study has shown that single parents are more likely be sick later in life because of the immense stress placed on their bodies.
Governments complain that there is too much stress on our hospitals, but do they look at innovative ways to minimise this? It seems logical to me that placing extra pressure on single parents – and families – will just make us sicker as a population, thus perpetuating the hospital saga. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take care of our country’s most vulnerable, so they don’t get sick, rather than further subjugating them to unfair policies? Think of how much money we could save. Not only in hospitals, but in the entire heath industry – GPs, psychologists etc.