Last updated: 11/08/2022
Kelly is a single mum of four in Dundee
How did you get involved with One Parent Families Scotland, and what kind of support have you had?
I got in touch with One Parent Families Scotland because I’d went to my GP because of everything I’d gone through, I was going through domestic abuse, and I got really depressed and suicidal. My GP gave me a list of different places that would be helpful because mental health resources are really stretched and there was no counselling that would have been available there and then but they felt I needed something.
So they got me in touch with someone who put me in touch with One Parent Families and then I met Audrey and she’s helped me loads through everything that I’ve been through. They’ve made a huge difference in everything in my life. I think they made it easier being a single parent. If I didn’t have that support I don’t where I would be now compared to where I am.
I don’t go to any of the groups and stuff because I’m a bit apprehensive about sitting in a group with loads of people and with everything I’ve been through I worry about seeing someone there who knows my ex-partner, so I tend to avoid those kinds of situations. So I see Audrey and she comes up the house so I don’t have to go anywhere if I don’t want to go anywhere.
It’s not counselling but it definitely helps. It takes a huge weight off your mind having someone there that you can speak to that you need to, and someone you can ask if you don’t understand things. Just having that extra support makes a huge difference. And if I didn’t have that I still don’t get counselling so I don’t even know where I would be. I’ve come such a long way just having the support from here, just feeling like I’m not alone.
I was in Women’s Aid when I first left my partner, but my partner found out where the refuge was and there were threats made, so I was moved into the council’s homeless accommodation which is secure. But the way Women’s Aid works is that you only get 6 extra sessions once you leave.
Audrey’s never mentioned anything to me about a timescale and I think that makes a difference because you don’t feel like you’re going to lose that support. You’ve got that support till you’re ready and you’re not pushed to do anything you don’t want to do, like going to the groups. I’m the kind of person that needs to do it in my own time.
What are the specific challenges you face as a single parent?
Time is a massive thing. Being organised and knowing what I’m supposed to be doing. And I think just money. Getting out places on my own with the kids is a massive thing because I’ve got four kids.
And just trying to cope with it, because it’s a huge change going from being in a relationship where you’ve got that help if you really need it to having none.
I don’t have any family support either so its just me, so that makes it really difficult. I do have my parents but they’re not really involved; they see the kids when they feel like it which is every other month, so it’s just me. My kids are still young and they cause absolute chaos all the time [laughing].
What would help make things easier for single parents in society?
Better support for single parents going back to work. A better programme so you can get the kids in the same after school clubs or the same childminder. Because if you’re a single parent to multiple children it makes it really difficult to get them all in the same place.
I was at college until last year but everything got too much and I had to leave. I’ve just been trying to get back on my feet since then and figure out what’s the best thing to do.
Audrey’s been helping with that, like telling me what I could do that’s going to mean I’m not going to worry, because I worry about having time to get the kids to school and nursery and cook them tea and do my housework. So, I am looking to go to work but I need to get over the fear of how everything else is going to get done. I worry about everything, and I get so stressed.
I just think someone should open something that works for everyone. Open 24/7, wouldn’t that be handy? Because if you’re a single parent you’re restricted in what jobs you can get because you cant work at night unless you have someone there to look after the children.
I think it’s just more help getting back to work. That’s the only thing I would say though. I think everybody gets used to [being a single parent] after a while. It is stressful but you get used to doing everything and it just becomes normal. It’s hard to not see it being like that for the rest of your life – I can’t imagine myself having another partner. I’ve got so used to doing everything myself that I wouldn’t want someone to come and mess that up.