Annie's story

Last updated: 04/02/2020

Single mother of two boys, aged 11 and six, based in Glasgow

 

How did you become involved with One Parent Families Scotland and what has the experience been like?

My work coach at the Job Centre put me forward for it, so I’ve been coming since about April, on and off. I got put forward for the wee wellbeing course that Ciera did which I liked. It was nice having something that was just for me to go to.  

Then Scott also put my name forward for me and my boys to go for a wee holiday on the September weekend to a caravan – that’s the first holiday I ever had with the two of them, so that was amazing. It was just three nights, but it was something we had never had before, so it was brilliant.  

They also put us forward for help for Christmas things and now that the course on the Wednesday is finished I go to the social hub on the Tuesday, so I’m still getting to come along and meet new people and do different thing each week. It’s nice having something for me and just seeing where it will take me. 

When you come here you don’t feel judged because it is all single parents and they’re here to help you and you feel like you can relax. 

What would make things better for you as a single parent?

More understanding, without it feeling like it’s pity. You get the awww, or the judgemental side, like you must be less than they are just because you’re a single parent. It’s like, I would imagine no one really chooses to be a single parent, it’s just sometimes s*** happens and that’s how it’s gone.  

If there were more opportunities like when your children turn over five and they say you’ve got to find work. I’ve been out of work so long I don’t know where to go or what to do. You’re just looking for a job that falls within school hours, which is none, so it would help to understand where you want to go back into work or have opportunities for education or courses.  

"You get the “awww”, or the judgemental side, like you must be less than they are just because you’re a single parent."

- Annie, single mum

I’d like to do something arty but there are no courses for that kind of stuff, if you want to do upcycling and stuff like that it’s like you need to pay for that course on your own, that’s not an educational course. I’m not an academic person, I don’t do well at writing papers or exams – it didn’t happen at school, it’s not going to happen now.  

If there was funding I would go for it, provided the courses could be during school time rather than evening or weekends, because otherwise I’d be like I can go once every three weeks or one night a week but it will vary. So, it’s about timing and availability and non-judgement. 

How does Christmas impact on you as a single parent? 

So, I’m a single parent, not with their dad, but this year they’re at my house for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning so I’m on Santa duty, which is added pressure, but I’ll try to work it somehow. We’ve always done it that Santa just delivers to one house, instead of going to multiple houses and there’s a Santa gift at every single house that they go to. 

Financially [it’s hard] not being able to get them everything they want or the things they ask for from Santa. Especially as my oldest one gets older and he wants more expensive things, technology and stuff like that.

When you get help to get other gifts that they want that are not so expensivethat tends to be the stuff I go for but I cant get that many if someone else is helping you with that stuff, you think, well, I can save up and get them something that’s really special as a one-off gift.  

"The help takes some of the pressure off and it lets you get more into the Christmas spirit with them instead of just feeling anxious and worried about it."

- Annie, single mum

You don’t want to feel like they’re losing out, you don’t want your kid to feel disappointed at Christmas. The thought of only being able to get a couple of things and it not being main things they’ve asked for on their list, it feels sickening you feel crap basically.  

Even if you’ve got them one thing on the list that they want and they’re like oh my god, that’s amazing, Santa got me this… The help takes some of the pressure off and it lets you get more into the Christmas spirit with them instead of just feeling anxious and worried about it for the whole year.