Christmas can be a wonderful time for single parents.
It can be a relief to get out of a shitty relationship, to have some peace, enjoy the children, not to have to get up for the school run, to be able to take up offers of friends' and family's kindnesses and generosity and generally run the show, or kick back and let someone else do it for a change.
On the other hand, finances can be strained at the best of times, frustrations galore will exceed themselves, tantrums will take place more than usual - even by Mum / Dad - because the pressures can out do the pleasures when the burden of 'making sure everyone has a good time' can be too much. Yet we all know that the same could be said of many non-single people on that front!
It seems timely and appropriate, being Christmas, to introduce Gingerbread, a Charity organisation that aims to provide expert advice, practical support and public campaigns for single parents.
They have an utterly fascinating history, stemming all the way back to 1918, a Helpline and quite a bit of clout with the media and politicians.
At the moment, they are inviting stories from single parents in order to support one of their current campaigns, entitled 'Single Parents: You're Brilliant!'
They claim one in four families are now headed by a single Mum or Dad in Britain today - 1.9 million single parents raising nearly three million children.
Their Chief Executive, Fiona Weir, said:
“Single parents are raising happy, healthy children and most are holding down a job too. They deserve praise, not criticism, for the brilliant achievements they make.”Hear! Hear!
Thank you to Confessions of a Single Mum for introducing us to this fine organisation. We hope to have a Story for our Series from her in the New Year.
In the mean time, for every person suffering at this time of year - and there are many for whom being single was thrust upon them and they are, indeed, presently unhappy, there is one who has come through the bad times, grown and developed into who they now are and who wouldn't turn back the clock if Father Christmas gave them the option!
So, whoever you are, wherever you are at, single, not, or in-between, I wish you the very Merriest Christmas and may your 2012 bring you everything you deserve and more!