Tuesday, 21 August 2012

mum = me

Being a parent is really tough, being a single parent is even tougher.  Until the children are old enough to go to school it's difficult to fulfill your dreams without the support of a partner or close family members.  I hear a lot of my friends talking about 'bums who don't work, sponge money off tax payers and get the council to give them housing.'  Some of the time that's exactly what people are doing, other times they genuinely need the help.  Myself for example had a paper round at age 12, my first 'real job' at age fifteen and worked throughout my college years in different retail establishments.  Even when I fell pregnant with my first child and dropped out of college due to complications with the pregnancy I continued to work part-time up until my maternity leave then went back to evening college and part-time work when she was 6 months old.  

I had always dreamed of becoming a barrister, according to my mum I love an argument and even when I'm wrong I'll find a way to prove I'm right.  (though I wouldn't write that on a application!) Unfortunately having only taken one A-level meant I didn't get on the law course so I changed my plans and became a teacher.  That whole time I had the support of my mum and by the time my mum was ready to go away my daughter was of school age and although it was hard to make ends meet or spend quality time with her during term time, I was able to make it work.

When I decided it was time to get back on course to my dream of becoming a barrister I applied for the GDL, words can't describe how happy I felt when I got in.  It had been a difficult few years, I was unhappy in my job, my long-term relationship had broken down and my mum had needed my support through a difficult time so this was great news.  To top that off I had developed a good friendship with a young man who knowing everything I'd been through managed to make me smile every day, little did I know that that friendship would lead to my beautiful little boy, who coincidentally, led to the end of my friendship.  I took out a loan to pay for my GDL and support myself through the years course (I wasn't entitled to a student loan or any form of income support).

I then applied for a bursary through one of the Inns of Court but because I needed to defer and they didn't see how even with a bursary for the course I would be able to support myself through the year I was not successful.  So here I am a single mother of two beautiful children having sat my GDL and passed whilst in my eighth month of pregnancy but being unable to continue my studies because of the huge university fees (nearly £17,000), the cost of childcare (in the region of £900 per month for under 2s) and the inability to support my children whilst studying.  It's not that I don't want to work, it's that working doesn't make sense for me.  It's the choice of struggling to make ends meet and having time for my children or struggling to make ends meet and having no time for my children.  I'm now trying very hard to find any work that I can do from home and still have time for my children.  

I'm a single mother and proud of the fact that I am raising well behaved and intelligent children with good values.  I will still be where I want to be at some point (God Willing) but until then I'm doing the best I can to be the best parent I can  be.