By Sarah from Home-Start Orkney
Sunday 21st March marks Single Parents Day.
Most mothers or fathers do not choose to be single parents and for them the challenges life and parenting bring are to be carried on just their own set of shoulders.
According to Gingerbread, the leading national charity working with single parent families, there are 2. 9 million single parents in Britain. The National Records of Scotland census results show that Scotland has experienced an increase in the proportion of lone parent households from 9.3% of all households in 1981 to 10.5% in 2001.
Who do these parents turn to for support?
In many cases family and friends are heavily relied on for practical and emotional support. There are also support services families can turn to.
Home-Start Orkney is a local community network of trained volunteers and expert support helping families with young children through their challenging times.
We are there for parents when they need us the most because the early years are crucial.
Currently we support 36 families with young children, and a number of these are single parent families.
We asked some of the families we support what their experience is like being a single parent. One of our parents found being a new single parent eye opening.
“Trying to juggle two young children, appointments, basic routine with no extra hands. I also however have found it has brought me and my children closer. The bond we have is like no other.”
Parenting is challenging for all families, and with the current restrictions in place, families aren’t able to rely on the same support network of family and friends as before the pandemic began. A large proportion of families in Orkney have no family locally, and now they have had to be even more self-reliant than before.
If living in a pandemic under lockdown restrictions is difficult for two parent families, we can only imagine how tough it must be for single parents. Additionally, circumstances like mental health, financial difficulties, loneliness and isolation and additional needs are exacerbated.
Our parent says:
“The lack of at hand support can be hard. Not having someone to watch the children whilst I carry out basic housework and food prep. Bath time and bedtime routine can also be more tricky as I can’t spend the 1-1 time with each child. Financially it was hard to get around the massive drop of income. I have also been off long-term sick with a unwell child myself so this has also been hard. Having PND, the loneliness can be very hard.”
However the support from Home-Start Orkney has been invaluable:
“Having my phone calls from Erika have been the best support ever. She listens and gives advice. She lets me rant, cry or just have yap. She gives me any information about grants and help there is out there in Orkney. Home-start really have been my saving grace. I would be lost without them, I really would.”
Let’s take some time for the single parents we know this Sunday. Get in touch with them and show them what an amazing job they are doing.