Society vs Parents

All parents are amazing, no matter what their status is, single father, same sex couple, heterosexual couple, single mother, foster parents or adoptive parents. So why the bloody hell is it that we feel the need to slag others of? I am fed up of seeing memes on social media sites that bad mouth fathers, or the the protests that people hold saying that a child having same sex parents will damage them and cause bullying, the news articles that declare an older mother is being selfish for having a baby in her 40’s, or that teenage parents aren’t good enough.

Tell me something, does it really matter what a parents situation is? Does it really matter so long as that child is loved, cared for, and supported throughout their lives. I completely understand that we are all entitled to our own opinions and thoughts and that is fine, I just struggle to understand how we seem to think its OK to be so rude and negative towards people, when really as fellow parents we should be supportive.

I have lots of friends who have children and all of their circumstances are different, but the one thing that we all have in common is we want the best for our children, whether that means we do it as single parents, a married couple, older parent, young parent etc, but we all stand by each other and do our best to help each other.  We don’t judge one another for the decisions we have made or our home life.

When I feel pregnant with my eldest daughter I was 19, her dad and myself had been together 2 and a bit years when she was born and I remember phoning my family to tell them what we considered good news, all my family were happy except for my granddad, who expressed his disappointment and his exact words to me were ‘What the bloody hell have you done that for you silly girl?’ I remember sitting there and not having any answer for him and feeling really hurt by what he said to me. I guess he was from a very different generation where people courted, got married, had a home and then had babies. That wasn’t my situation though, we weren’t married, didn’t have our own home and were still seen as children ourselves in his eyes.

Jessica said ‘I am 25 but do look younger so I do get a lot of looks and snide remarks. Especially when I am by myself with my daughter. I have had someone think she was my sister whilst out with my mom who looked disgusted when she said she was mine’

Terri told me ‘Negative experience when I was 22 from midwives and health visitors. They thought I was young and stupid, the HV didn’t believe me when I said I owned my own house! even though  I was working. When my son had problems with his digestion, I was told it was because young mums only fed their children McDonalds! Positive when I was 34… even though  I was working and owned my own house. At 34 I was renting a shithole on partial benefits. But I was still seen as better as I was older.Now I’m in a much less secure financial and job position, and so tired that my toddler has had mire McDonalds than her brother had in his first 10 years, but its OK with health professionals because I am older and therefore, wiser (I’m not!!’ Bizarre. Toddler from second marriage, but actually had n comments about them having different dads. I think that is because of a 12 year age gap. Its less noticeable as the friends I have now are newish through the toddler. I felt better being a younger mum – I am exhausted now!! When my son was a toddler I breezed through life.

Laura gave me some examples of the small minded comments that are made towards her being in a same sex couple and having a child.

You must be daddy’s little princess

Oh wont she get bullied?

I don’t know, I just think kids need a mum AND dad

 But does she have any male role models?

 I mean, shes not really your wife’s is she? She doesn’t have any of her genes

 So who is the real mum?

I love though that Laura says the comments are usually from small minded strangers and so she doesn’t let it bother her. She does also say that kids need males and females, but they don’t need parents with particular genitals and that her daughter has 2 wonderful granddads who love her very much and she doesn’t need a ‘daddy’

Alice wrote I have 3 children and am no longer with the elder twos father. My partner is a fabulous step dad and fulfills the father role entirely that sadly, their birth father is incapable of. He was quite abusive towards me ans doesn’t have a huge contribution to give to his children so their step dad is thankfully does that for them. He is amazing. I sometimes hear pitying sounds as if the children are missing out somehow by nit being with their birth father still. Frankly, they are happy and live a in a loving environment where they feel safe so that is all that I care about.

Hannah told me, We became foster carers to a 12 year old when I was 25. Now I’m a foster carer to a 17 year old along with being a mum to a 2 year old. When 17 year old first came to live with us I’d get some really weird looks especially when it came to parents evening! At our first parents evening, my ex head of year looked at me, looked at my foster son and then did the maths and was like ‘Huh? How does that work?’ Yes in order to my foster sons biological mum I wold have had to be pregnant  when I was 13 lol. But also my foster son is half Kenyan half British, so when he does take my son/his foster brother for a walk to the park or to the shops he gets weird looks. The kind of down your nose how irresponsible of you! Which girls life did you ‘ruin?!’

Naomi said I’m in an interracial relationship so my little girl is obviously mixed race and had a comment before about someone thinking she’s not my daughter because of her skin colour. Also we get questioned a fair amount whether we have ‘issues’ out in public being together those people that ask cause more issues as we’ve never had issues when out and about! We actually get a fantastic response and my little girl gets so much attention!

I’m so pleased that you get such a positive response the majority of the time to your little girl. 

Becky explains I’m a content single mum of one, and a friend of mine who has a partner, child, dog, mortgage, a car each etc regularly makes references to single mums eg her partner is self employed and works long hours and she makes statements such as “I feel like a single mother!” if he can’t attend a birthday party or parents evening. Sometimes feels as though she’s looking down on us single mothers. However, I mostly get positive comments for being a single mum who juggles work, parenting and living with type 1 diabetes. 

Ally writes single working mum. Never had anyone disrespect my situation and only positive reactions thankfully. Hard going, but very rewarding. 

Beth told me ‘I fell pregnant at 16. Had negative comments such as a ‘friend’ telling me to abort and baby’s dad literally begging me to abort & his friends calling me selfish because I didn’t want to abort my baby. 

I was then a single working parent for a year and a bit until i met my current partner who I’ve been with for 5+ years. 

I did have one bad comment off someone when i was a single parent. I was on benefits for 5 months. I started looking for a job when Mia was 3 weeks old. Careers wales appointment every week and got a job at 5 months on. Dad of baby didn’t get involved until 5 or so months down the line’

Sophia sent me this 

“I’ve always had odd looks and disapproving comments about my appearance; being heavily tattooed and pierced, it’s easy to drawn people’s attention, so I knew to expect much of the same when I had my daughter. Ironically, my fears were that my midwife, health visitor or hospital staff would make harsh judgements on my character based on my appearance, but to the contrary, everyone was exceptionally welcoming and if anything, very curious and interested in my appearance.

It’s when out and about, shopping in my local town, that I find the comments start. I’ve had looks of disgust, as people look me up and down, I’ve had elderly comments ‘tut’ at me as I push my daughter, Willow, around town in her pushchair, commenting on how inappropriate it is for a mother to have tattoos. I’ve had people ask me if I regretted my tattoos, now that I have a baby – complete strangers in the street asking if I think it was a wrong decision now I have the responsibilities of being a parent. 
My tattoos and piercings don’t affect my ability to be the best mother I can be, and I know some amazing mothers who are as colourful and interesting to look at as I am. I hope that when my daughter is a mother herself, these unnecessary ideas of what a parent should look like will have changed, with society being more accepting.’ 

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