Sunday, 16 November 2014

Single Parent Spotlight: Rita Wilson

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 twelfth interviewee is 30-year-old Rita Wilson, a marketing communication executive from Gloucestershire, who has a 14-month-old son.

How old was your son when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 
6 months old, my ex left us for another woman.

What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 
Not having other parent to share the milestones or funny, happy moment with or let me have a lie in once in a while. Not being able to go to the gym in the evenings.

What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion? 
Get to parent in my own style.

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? 
When I was looking to rent a house a few agents talked to me differently or assumed I was on benefits as soon as they found out I was a single parent. It made me feel embarrassed and a little ashamed.

What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your child? 
Quite a hostile relationship as I felt I had to put conditions in place for him seeing our son as he has a history of drug abuse and several girlfriends since. He has not responded well to this. I've tried to remain diplomatic but not easy.

How much contact does the father have? 
Meant to be twice a week, but he often cancels or forgets.

How does your child cope with contact? 
I think my son is too young to be affected by inconsistent contact at the moment. However after contact with his father he is very clingy with me and his sleep is not great.

Does he pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 
Yes, we used the government calculator to figure out amount.

What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 
I work as a Marketing Communication Exec- 20 hours a week.

Who looks after your child/ren when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements? 
My little boy goes to nursery twice a week and my mum looks after him every other Wednesday. I think I’d struggle financially if my mum didn’t help out with childcare.

How old was your son when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work? 
He was 9 months old when I went back to work. I felt ready to return to work and my employer made it very easy with keep in touch days.

Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why? 
If my little boy has a cold I feel guilty leaving him at nursery.

What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare?
Childcare costs are far too expensive, if I didn’t receive working tax credits there is no way I could afford to work.

What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how? 
I make sure I have something planned for my days off work with my little boy, that way when at work I can look forward to that. I am fortunate that I have a great group of friends who always make weekend plans to include my little boy.

Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again? 
Not yet, only just feel ready again as I have trust issues from the way my ex treated me.

What would your top 3 tips be to a newbie single parent?
1.Sort out all the ‘boring’ financial and benefit stuff first and make sure you know what you are entitled to.
2. If you and ex do not get on then have a ‘business-like’ relationship so feelings do not get in the way.
3. Join a FB support group for times when you need to rant. It really helps to share your experiences and hear others.

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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  1. Good top tips.Interesting reason.

  2. I think to be a single parent is hard work just in case if you don't have money.If your child is little is very hard to leave him and go to work,he depend very much of his parent.

  3. I always admire single parents and it annoys me how many parents (mostly fathers) leave when the child is so small and don't do proper contact. Love the tips - very practical.

  4. Interesting read, good stuff!! great tips too

  5. I have so much respect for single parents - it must be so much work! These posts are great for sharing advice and hopefully removing some of the stigma - I'm sorry you get so much bad press. :-(

  6. This was fascinating! Really great to read x


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