We Are Family: A Conversation with Slummy Single Mummy
Today, when we think of family, no single image comes to mind. Nowadays, the typical family structure includes blended families, single parent families and same-sex parent families.
With this in mind, we have asked parent bloggers in the UK to share their experiences raising their families in today's world.
Joining us today is Jo Middleton, the creator of the hilarious parenting blog Slummy Single Mummy. Jo writes about everything from packed lunch horrors to family pension planning, and is currently the Vuelio number one UK parent blog. Jo’s first novel, Playgroups and Prosecco, is out now.
Q: How did the family construct in which you now live evolve?
A: I was just 16 when I found out I was pregnant for the first time and 17 when my eldest daughter Bee, now 23 and expecting her own baby, was born. I know that there’s often a lot of stigma attached to teenage pregnancy, but I have to say that I really didn’t feel it - my family, friends and college were all very supportive and I was able complete my A-levels and carry on to university as planned. My second daughter, Belle, was born when I was 24, with a different father, and at home now it’s just me and Belle, who is 16. (Plus three cats.) Bee lives with her partner about an hour away from us. I was in long term relationships with both of my daughter’s fathers, but unfortunately they didn’t work out and I have been single this time around for about two years now. I’ve had periods of solo parenting throughout their childhoods.
Q: How do people in your environment respond to your family? Have you ever felt discriminated against as a family? If so, how did you handle the situation?
A: I’ve never felt myself discriminated against as a single parent, although I’d be the first to admit that I can be fairly oblivious to things going on around me! I have a very positive attitude generally, and tend to only see the best in people and situations.
Q: On a scale of 0 to 10: How much do you feel your family model is accepted by society? (0 = not accepted at all, 10 = fully accepted)
A: I’d say that single parents are pretty much accepted now as a very common family structure in the UK. On an acceptance scale of 0 to 10 I’d say an 8? There are always going to be a minority who like to blame different lifestyles for everything that’s wrong in society, but overall I’d say that with separation and divorce rates so high, single parenting is considered mainstream now as a family structure. This could of course be that rose-tinted glasses outlook coming through!
As every family is unique, we want to hear from parent bloggers with different structures and experiences. If you are a parent blogger and would like to take part in the We Are Family series, please get in touch with sophie.moran(at)care.com. Hashtags: #wearefamily #familyforeveryone #familyfirst
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