Saturday, 25 April 2015

Single Parent Spotlight: Leisa Gawler

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 21st interviewee is 40-year-old Leisa Gawler, a graphics designer from Somerset who has one son aged eight.

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

He was 4 and my husband of 20 years walked out and left us for one of my ‘friends’!

What things have you found hardest as a single parent? 

Probably the sole responsibility of everything, having nobody to discuss decisions with or share expenses with etc

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

The time I now have to spend with my son is much more enjoyable, I have more time to focus on him, and our relationship is so strong and close it is worth every tear I have cried over his father.

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? 

Mainly from the ex who thinks I am ‘rich’ and ‘assumes’ that I get every benefit going just because I am a single parent!

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

It’s amicable for the sake of my son. I don’t choose to spend time with him but I can do so if I have to for my son’s sake.

How much contact did/does the father have? 

He has him every Sunday between 10 and 4.

How does your child cope with contact? 

He’s just ‘used to it’ now
Leisa and her son

Does he pay maintenance? If so, how did you come to an agreement on the amount? 

He pays the minimum that he HAS to pay (£30 a week). We agreed £60 a week when he left but he has since pleaded poverty (which is a lie) and now only pays what the law says he has to.

What’s your job, and how many hours do you work per week? 

Graphic Designer 28hrs a week

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

He goes to after school club, holiday club and my parents have him. I am lucky that the school have these options or I wouldn’t be able to work. School holiday club in the summer costs me over £300 for the 6 weeks.

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

He was 6 months old, he went to nursery. It took a while to adjust and I hated leaving him but I had no choice.

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

This is the one thing I constantly battle with, guilty that I don’t pick him up from school, or go to events during school time, guilty that I can’t spend time with him in the holidays and guilty at work if I take time off because he is ill, or I have meetings (he is deaf and we have a lot of meetings with various support staff etc) Guilty that I can’t give my job or my child 100% of my focus or time.

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

The cost of childcare is way too high if mums are to get back to work that’s for sure! I’m not sure how the Tax Credits thing works to be honest, I have never really understood it. I know I don’t get working tax credit even though I work (?).

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

My social life is non-existent and revolves around my son’s football matches etc, I have got to know a couple of the other ‘soccer mums’ but not socially.

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


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

I have no idea because I haven’t even been brave enough to enter that territory!

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

1. Sort out the finances first, contact the people involved, explain your situation and get everything sorted. (This will be a big weight off your mind). 2. Take everyday as it comes, don’t think too far ahead, get through each day and feel good that you have done it – You CAN do it! 3.Cherish every moment, the bond between you and your child will be amazing! 

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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  1. I enjoyed that, and second almost everything that that lady says, she sounds very strong x

  2. Lovely to read a post about other single parents. A lot of that rings true to me.


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