>Another single mum bashing in the press

>According to the Daily Mail Britain is the European capital of broken homes. It states:

The study found we have the worst record on teen pregnancy in Europe and more children living in one-parent families than any other European country. More of our single mothers are unemployed and on benefit than anywhere else in the continent, largely because we hand out so much in benefits. Britain’s rates for divorce and illegitimate births are among the highest in the Western world, and our mothers are among the oldest, putting their health and that of their baby at risk.

So basically we’re a nation of dried up old hags, having babies far too late, making our children miserable by not remaining in loveless marriages and risking a slating in the press for daring not having an abortion just because we end up pregnant and alone, often through no fault of our own. What a lovely picture to paint!

Who are we to blame for this shocking state of affairs I hear you ask? The labour government apparently according to a smaller piece further back in the depths of the paper which states:

According to the OECD, this is the grim legacy of 13 years of Labour Government. The Mail has warned for years that Labour’s dislike of marriage and obsession with rewarding single mothers with ever more benefits was exacting a devastating toll on the family.

Well unless the labour government were personally responsible for impregnating the single mothers in question I highly doubt that they can be held responsible for these figures. I’d also like to know where all these benefits for single mothers are that I’ve been missing out on for all the years that I was single. I certainly never received a magical single mum benefit and it certainly doesn’t effect the way in which tax credits and child benefit are calculated and awarded either.

Ok so yes Britain does a high teenage pregnancy rate, but will this be solved by people who are quoted as stating this?:

Those who imagine that the answer to high teenage pregnancy rates, family fragmentation and the state dependency culture is to be found in a form of sex education that values all types of relationships equally and sees nothing wrong with young people having a series of casual sexual relationships are deluded.

I think not. What has sex education got to do with it anyway? Sex education is not the be all and end all in terms of preventing teenage pregnancy. Sex education has always been a bit of a bore, more so when I was younger, it was time for the stuffy RE teacher to inform us of the value of not having sex before marriage and if we did, putting a condom on a banana would apparently prepare us for any possible fumbles behind the bike shed with our spotty faced youth of choice. And surely valuing all types of relationships equally is a positive thing and from what I’ve heard, sex ed doesn’t “see nothing wrong with young people having a series of casual sexual relationships” – can you imagine what would happen to a teacher that even implied that in front of their students, the PTA and school governors would have them by the balls let alone the education authority! The whole young mum thing is an entirely different post altogether but being a young mum does not equal a bad mum now that’s for sure!

Then there’s the single mum side of things, more of us are unemployed and on benefits than anywhere else on the continent. Maybe everywhere else on the continent doesn’t have a benefits system that is easy to access or the wider family unit provide a financial support in instances of single mothers, if this is the case it’s very hard to compare. And once again single mums are included in such statistics as if they are parasites and don’t count as much as other mothers because they haven’t got a man by their side. Single mothers are generally not single by choice and if they do plan in advance (through sperm donation of whatever kind, surrogacy etc) to have a child on their own then I believe they should be able to support themself and the child financially, but what happens when as a result of being left by the child’s father when you are pregnant, or you contribute to the UK’s terribly high divorce rate and find yourself in a situation through no fault of your own you are unable to cope financially, should you be punished just because you are single? I think not. Am I a better mother/person just because I now have a partner and no longer contribute to the hoards of single mums out there the statistics just love to hate – no I’m bloody well not!

As for the old ladies among us who at an average age of 29.8 decide to have their first child – how dare you! You are contributing to the UK mums being among the oldest mothers in Europe don’t you know! I think the people who produce these statistics and accompanying commentary need to sit down and take a look at what’s bad and what isn’t as being an “old” mum at 29.8 is seen as bad, yet so is being a teen mum. The article goes on to say that women are choosing to forge careers for themselves and leaving it later in life to have children, which is surely a good thing because they can provide for their children in that circumstance, yet a few sentences previously it’s mentioning teen mums and single mums on benefits, so what is best then, do please make your minds up because it seems that no matter what any of us do it’s wrong!

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