An up-to-date picture of single-parent life

·1-min read
<span>Photograph: Gary Hider/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Gary Hider/Alamy

Thank you, Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett, for accentuating the positive that can come with single parenting (I see you, single parents. I see your work, your pain – and your joy, 9 August).

If single parenting is hard, solo parenting – with no partner in the picture at all – is incredibly tough. It forces you to ask for help, which can create a feeling of frustration at best, and shame at worst. Systemic factors in society perpetuate the isolation and inequalities, eg one income having to cover everything, childcare costs, and fewer part-time jobs at senior levels. For many, circumstances are compounded by the slow or impossible-to-contact Child Maintenance Service, which sees many children not receiving timely payments. Yet there is no government strategy that focuses on helping single parents “level up”.

Despite this, it is high time we changed some of the outdated narrative of total despondency. Recent books showcase an up-to-date picture of single-parent life, offering support on how to get through, eg Happy Single Mother by Sarah Thompson and Surviving Solo Motherhood by Amy Rose and Dr Emma Cotterill. A scroll through the Frolo app for single parents shows that we are a diverse group – while finances may be the top issue for some, finding single-parent friends may be the priority for others.

I have learned the importance of kindness and compassion to oneself and one’s children, acceptance of the situation, and focusing on what you can do, not what you can’t. Single, solo and co-parents, it’s time for us all to turn the volume up on who we are and the issues we face.
Lucy Smith

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