Saturday, 4 April 2015

Single Parent Spotlight: Steph Bray

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 eighteenth interviewee is 48-year-old Steph Bray, an accountant from Hampshire who has three children aged 21, 18 and 10.

How old were your children when you became a single parent, and how did this come about? 

1, 9, 11 . Father became an alcoholic and died 7 years ago.

What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 

Having to be sensible and in control but it’s getting easier as they get older. Worrying about what would happen to them if I became ill.

What are the benefits to parenting alone, in your opinion? 

I feel very proud of all they have achieved and that I can take all the credit J

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? 

Not really. It’s a bit tricky at things like parents evening where they set out 2 seats and I still get things addressed to “Mr and Mrs” after all these years.

What sort of relationship do you have with your ex, and how easy/difficult is it to maintain for your children? 

None (deceased) but my ex mother in law does come and stay for a couple of nights every month. This enables her to see her grandchildren plus gives me a break.

Steph (left) and her 3 children

How does your children cope with contact? When we were separated but he was still alive there was very little contact because of his condition.
What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 

I am a qualified Accountant and work 32 hours a week.

Who looks after your children when you’re working? How do you feel about the current childcare arrangements? 

My youngest goes to an afterschool club 3 days a week. I am able to collect her on the other 2 days.

How old were your children when you first went back to work? How easy was it to adjust back into work? 

I have always worked so they don’t know any difference.

Have you ever felt guilt by working? If so, why? 

I feel guilty if they are poorly and I send them to school.

What’s your view on Child /Working Tax Credits, and the cost of childcare? 

It's not applicable to me due to my earnings. I do feel strongly about the withdrawal of child benefit for higher as it should be based on household income not per individual. It seems unfair that a couple can earn a joint income of £100k and still receive it.

What is your work/home/social life like? Have you managed to find a good balance? If so, how? 

Not too bad. I go on lots of holidays. I work from home once or twice a week which gives me more flexibility.

Are you dating again? If so, how long did it take before you were ready to date again?

I dated almost immediately and almost got married again which would have been a big mistake. I do date but have not had a “serious” relationship for 1 ½ years now.

What tips do you have for other single parents wanting to meet someone? 

Try to do meet someone in “real life” and not via the internet.

What would your top 3 tips be to a newbie single parent? 

Make sure you have “me time”, put your children’s feelings first (even if it means being nice to your ex in front of them), remember that your kids will grow up and appreciate everything you did for them.

If you want to be interviewed for the next Single Parent Spotlight, contact me on the tab at the top of the page!

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