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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Support, not sneers, needed

GINGERBREAD, the parenting organisation, kicked off a recent campaign about fighting the prejudice faced by single parents.

A great initiative which is long over-due. It is too easy, too lazy and too bigoted to write off those doing the hardest job in the world – on their own. Surely it is time the sneering tone was banished whenever the term “single mother’’ is uttered.

Only the dangerously smug would feel superior to women who, for whatever reason, find themselves caring solely for children. Having a partner doesn’t make you a better mother, it just offers the opportunity for more help.

And let’s be honest, it’s single MOTHERS who are judged, not single fathers who are regularly viewed as heroes by society when they bring their own children up. Think of the fuss made about Father of the Year contest. Man receives medal for washing clothes, plaiting daughter’s hair and not moaning endlessly about it.

Meanwhile, across the country, millions of women are doing exactly the same only, instead of being praised for their commitment and dedication, are harangued by Daily Mail readers and those so blinded by their own self-righteousness they won’t know a single mother if she jumped up and punched them in the face.

Single fathers are also admired for giving up their careers to care for their children, regarded as making the ultimate sacrifice for the good of his kids. While single mothers are deemed as “lazy spongers’’ for not wishing to stress themselves to death finding a job which allows them to leave in time for school pick-ups and school holidays.

Mothers in general find themselves damned for whatever choices they make, but somehow the single mother, not having a male in her life, is viewed as the worst. (Oh, by the way, as society happily lays all the evils of the world at the feet of single mothers, where are all the fathers?)

Single mothers aren’t a breed apart from the rest of us. They are our sisters, friends, cousins, daughters, a cross-section of women who are simply caring for their kids the very best they can. These are the women who are bringing up a generation in tough times; they need our support, not our condemnation.

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