Saturday, August 27, 2005

Add Sole and parent gets little respect

Sole parent; such a loaded term.
Are they:
  1. women who try to trap men by becoming pregnant
  2. vilified because of their predatory behaviour
  3. sluts
  4. irresponsible
  5. widows
  6. widowers
  7. taking responsibility of a child/ren because the other parent won't or can't
  8. naive romantics
  9. to be supported and admired
This government is going to add indigent to the adjectives.

Sole parents are many things including intelligent, hardworking, resourceful and honest.
I used the Sole Parent Pension for six years and lived in public housing to undertake further study. Whilst in public housing I witnessed a murder that began as family violence. This murder started as yelling and pushing...I wonder if most do.
Most sole parents use Parenting Payment Single (PPS) as a short-term means to create regular income while they consider the rest of their life. This may involve re-partnering, further study or training. Most sole-parents work the maximum weekly hours to not affect their pension. Many more work cash-in-hand and are underpaid, exploited and often unsafe.
I guess I was luckier than most in that my boss said to us,
"I prefer hiring you single-mums, you're desperate and not many bosses want you. I know you will show up for work 'cos your babies get hungry."
"One-parent families are the fastest growing type of family in Australia. In 2001, there were 528,000 lone parents aged 18 years and over with dependent children. Of these, 88% (462,100) had no other adults (such as extended family members or members of a second family) resident in the household with them. In 2001, lone parents were predominately women (83%), and lone mothers tended to have younger children living with them than lone fathers. Around one-fifth (22%) of lone mothers had at least one child aged 0-4 years living with them, compared with one-tenth (9%) of lone fathers."
"The circumstances of lone parents differ to others in a range of areas of life. For example, in 2002, more lone parents aged 18 years and over (52%) relied on Government cash pensions and allowances as their principal source of income, than did all adults (22%). Consequently, lone parents were over-represented in the lower income groups, with 43% in the bottom quintile of equivalised household income and 30% in the second lowest quintile, compared with 20% and 19% of all adults."
"In 2001, 62% of lone parents aged 18 years and over rented their dwelling, compared with 25% of adults generally, and among renters proportionally more lone parents were renting from a State or Territory Housing Authority (31% compared with 17% of all renters). Relatively more lone parents felt unsafe or very unsafe at home alone after dark (19%) than adults in general (8%); and 34% of lone parents had been a victim of physical or threatened violence, or actual or attempted break in over the year prior to interview, compared with 18% of all adults." - ABS
Being a mother is only one part of my capabilities. It does not define me anymore than being Culturally And Linguistically Diverse (CALD) would. If you feel you know me, you can say you know a sole-parent.
Advocate for us.

Adding more poverty to the difficulty that sole parenting can be is beyond comprehension.
Creating a greater underclass of disaffected young people who often struggle with absent father syndrome is not in the interest of our communities.

I'm setting up a barter system for emergency childcare. Emergency being a loosely defined term...
Only sole parents need apply.


Blogger joe2 said...

Suki, you are so thoughtfull you leave me speachless. A great post about sole parents.

7:01 pm  
Blogger suki said...

Thanks joe2.
It's easy to write from experience.
I once had a boyfriend's mother call me and angrily announce that she is not ready to be an instant Grandma!
I should have said
"Wait until you are asked."

...I didn't bother to tell her that I was no longer seeing her boy because he was way too needy, had questionable hygiene and was not much fun.

12:18 am  
Blogger Brownie said...

I dare not list here the things I wish for that No Instant Grandma woman.
That TV advert with the casual Worker Mum who is rung for an off roster shift, really points out the nightmare it is for any mother to try to raise her child/ren alone. Can't get a date, can't get a job, can't get respect. Battle Medals should be given for Successful Outcomes.

8:14 pm  
Blogger suki said...

Thanks brownie,
My favourite do-gooders were the ones who said I was being selfish only having one child...

5:13 pm  

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