Single mothers are used to the stigma, David Archibald, but we’re far from lazy

David Archibald speaks at a rally in Perth in 2011. Photo: YouTube/mmattjanetSingle mothers lazy? Anthony Albanese – son of a single mother –is rightto call for Pauline Hanson to dump Western Australian One Nation candidate David Archibaldfor saying single motherhood “was a lifestyle choice” and thatsingle mothers were “too lazy to attract and hold a mate”.
Nanjing Night Net

As a single mum of four, I am used to this negative stigmatism which too often accompanies non-traditional parenthood.

Anthony Albanese’s mother, Maryanne Ellery, raised her son on her own. Photo: Albanese Family

I know I am in the minority: Only 16 per cent of families worldwide are single-parent families. But given I didn’t get a full night’s sleep for almost 4000 consecutive nights (or 10 years), that could hardly make me lazy. Singlemotherhood means double the work, double the responsibility and double the number of decisions. Theformula for raising children is often difficult for two-parent families to grasp let alone one on their own.

For me, the jobof single motherhood wasn’t a choice, but circumstances lead me here. The package goesbeyond fulltime paid work. I single-handedly supported a family of five, raising four children under seven, with the constant anxiety of being 100 per centaccountable for the well-being of my children. It’s not just the anxiety but the lack of some one to help with chores around the home that can be overwhelming. I was taking the garbage bins out the night I went into labour with my fourth child. I had to cajole the other three children into the car (yes … they all came to the birth). This cemented the turbulent breadth of responsibility that lay ahead.

Federal ALP politician Anthony Albanese, son of a single mother says he is offended by One Nation’s David Archibald calling single mothers lazy. Photo: Kate Geraghty

Despite my perpetual state of exhaustion, I drew upon my own life experiences to formulate a unique parenting method for a unique situation. These included three years backpacking, working and living around the world, learning various languages, three university degrees and a career as a finance journalist and editor.

My children have all thrived academically and socially and they are extremely kind, well-adjusted people so I can now look back relieved that whatever I did, for the most part, worked.

Of course, there are challenges unique to every single-parent family. The hardest parts of single motherhood have been:

1. Fatigue. My parenting style, which involved co-sleeping, breastfeeding each child for at least two years, home cooking, fulltime work and volunteer work, meant I was always tired.

2. Decisions. A single parent with full responsibility for their children has no consistent sounding board to flesh out decisions. When every decision needs to be made by one person alone, it can be overwhelming. I made plenty of good decisions but I also made some bad ones – and for those, it would have been great to share the blame with someone …

3. Vulnerability. Single parents with full responsibility are financially, emotionally and socially vulnerable because we are on our own. In a healthy relationship, one plus one equals so much more. But when you are on your own, there is no one to play devil’s advocate, no one to playgood cop/bad cop and no one to back up your argument.

Despite those challenges, there are some very special things about being a single parent. A conflict-free environment is possibly the most important. Then there is the closeness to your children. And the knowledge that they are the way they are because of all your hard work, love and dedication.

There is too the liberating side of making all the decisions on your own, unhindered by a partner.

I took my children to live in France. We backpackedfrom the Arctic Circle in Norway down to the Sahara Desert in Morocco. On another trip, we ventured through China and across Russia and Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian railway. We travelled around Australia – camping under the stars, swimming in deserted hot water springs and climbing mountains.

This latest comment from a One Nation male politician showsthere will always be people out there who label and judge.

Single parenthood comes in many forms ranging from parents with zero contact with their children to parents with 100 per centresponsibility.

Most of us don’t start out wanting to be single parents. We find ourselves in this circumstance for varied reasons, including the death of a partner, separation/divorce, adoption, planned insemination, unplanned or planned pregnancy and rape.

It is not just single mums who get judged. Career women, women without children, gay people and even white picket fence married people with children get judged.

There is no longer a prescribed formula for what a family looks like or how you should raise your children.

For me, from the ashes of the unexpected and a lot of hard work and intuitive, independent thinking, I grew strong and resilient and stopped caring about who was judging.And I learnt to embrace the abundance that I do have. I am many things to my family and friends: but lazy isn’t one of them.

Rosy Mobbs is a nurse and a financial journalist. This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Posted in 南京夜网