Changing attitudes | Single Dad's Diary - The secret diary of a single parent dad



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The secret diary of a single parent bloke

Changing attitudes

Uploaded: Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Sunday, August 14th, 2005.

I’ve recently noticed a change in attitude towards me from the people I work with. In the two and a half years I’ve worked there, I’ve never got on with most of the staff.

I was taken on to add and integrate a new department into the factory, which I have successfully done, but the business is old and failing, and the people (many of whom have worked there since the beginning) have been very hostile to any change. Even the management, who acknowledge that I’ve done a great job (and turned an £80k per year outsource cost into at £120k per year income) are against me. At my appraisals, the usual “cause for concern” is that I’m “a perfectionist”. Even though I wouldn’t say that I am a “perfectionist”, wouldn’t it be a good thing if I was?

Today, one of my most venomous detractors, who had been OK with me recently, told me how much she admired what I was doing, and how she’s misjudged me. I asked her what she meant, and she explained that someone had told her that I was now bringing up two children on my own.

I’m not sure what shocked me the most- the fact that she knew, or the fact that she was being nice to me.

A hadn’t told many people about my circumstances, but I remember talking to Fiona during a someone’s leaving do. It was a few weeks ago, and the first time I’d been out on my own since the breakup. I was sat outside the pub feeling a bit lonely, I was really missing Natalia and Jack as they were at my Dad’s for a few days. Fiona is a young single mum, and I’d always admired the way that she worked tirelessly, despite earning next to nothing, to give her son the best that she could. So we got talking, and I explained my situation. I guess that she told others, and it quickly became common knowledge around the factory.

It’s funny how attitudes can change. I wasn’t behaving any differently to how I always had, but I was now being seen as a better, nicer, person. I wonder if that would have happened if I was a single mum?


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Comments (6)

6 Responses to “ Changing attitudes ”

    Metajugglamum commented at 12:52 am on July 28th, 2010

    Hello :-)
    You asked on Twitter what Single Mums might think of this post …
    It got me wondering myself!
    It’s hard to know what people think sometimes and I think my thoughts are often tainted by my own guilt when I tell people I am on my own, that I feel people are either feeling sorry for me (‘still single at 40 with as good as no prospects’) or that they somehow deride me as being a failure. The other thing I notice is that women particularly tend to keep a distance … especially if they are married or in a relationship. Far from gaining empathetic friends, my experience is rather that I am considered a threat to other women and not quite up to scratch as a parent trying to cover all bases. But maybe that’s just in my head. Interesting post!


    quentaris commented at 12:55 am on July 28th, 2010

    I’m not surprised at all about the chance in attitude – females have a lot of respect for dads that bring up kids on their own, males don’t know what to make of them, unless they are single dads themselves

    A single dad, by default, is seen as a good guy. If they aren’t working, it’s because they are looking after the kids, and that’s ok. If they are working and their kids are in daycare, they are supporting their family.

    A single mum, on the other hand, cops a far wider range of attitudes. If their husband has died, that’s fine, if they are divorced or separated, it depends on whether they are working and ‘contributing to society’ or on welfare and how much support they are being paid by their ex. If they are getting paid a lot, they are leeches and should be out working. If they aren’t being paid much, that’s all they deserve and they should be out working anyway.
    If they are young and not working, they only had the kid for the welfare and they are too lazy to work. If they are young and working, they should be home looking after the kids instead of putting them in daycare. If they work from home, it’s not real work.

    Overall, single dads get respect, single mums cop it no matter what they do.

    And before i cop it from people who hate my generalizations – i’m a single non-working mum receiving no support payments for the kids. One of my kids is also disabled, which means i am on call 24/7 even when he is at school.


    Bloke commented at 7:43 am on July 28th, 2010

    Thanks for your comments. I think you’re right, Quentaris, as I have noticed that single dads are seen as being “a good guy” regardless of their circumstances, whereas single mums encounter a much wider range of attitudes.

    Hey, Metajugglamum! Don’t be hard on yourself- you’re doing a great job. Perhaps attitudes are in Germany are much more old-fashioned than the UK in this respect.


    carnalis commented at 8:49 am on July 28th, 2010

    My experience is very much inline with your two previous commenters. As a single mum I find that (girl)friends keep me at a distance from their families, and a stray comment from a close friend revealed a resentfulness about the ‘help’ single mums get from the state. I don’t think single dads receive the same negative press.

    And no, nothing wrong with being a perfectionist.


    reddskingyal commented at 11:47 am on August 7th, 2010

    yeah its called sexism. plain and simple. comments above are true – generalisation or not! im a single mum – separated acrimoniously after a 20 year stint – and i think im seen (by people who know me) as a bit of a heroine because my ex was a bit of a twit. chin up – onwards and upwards – what doesn’t kill you make you stronger and all that. but that may also be because i ‘contribute to society’. as for female marrieds and ‘in relationships’? current friends have no problem with my singledom. potential new ones carry garlic and a cross!
    great blog mister!


    Kelly B commented at 8:57 am on September 4th, 2010

    I get mixed responses. Half the world seems to think I’m superwoman, which I always find a bit odd, and the other half that I’m some sort of drain on society. The fact that I’m 24 seems to exacerbate this in both directions. It’s the responses to my ex that I find most varying though. He has never paid me child support or told his family about my daughter, and while the bulk of people tend to agree that he is in the wrong (many of my friends would happily castrate him) there is definitely a contingent that seems to think I must somehow have got myself pregnant and tells me to stop ‘hassling’ him.

    I am currently working full time in finance and setting up my own business alongside, but I have been on benefits for various periods, and the stigma attached is horrible and so demoralising. I looked into foster caring a while ago, and it really rubbed me up the wrong way that if you are considering fostering a young child you would be expected to stay at home with them, whereas if it’s your own child it’s considered a drain on society. I used to work as a childminder and it always wound me up too that looking after someone else’s children is considered a career, whilst looking after my own makes me a layabout.

    I have massive respect for single dads, but no more so than for single mums. Raising a child is a two person job, and for one person to do it alone is challenging to say the least. I agree with the earlier posters who said that single mums can’t win, but I find that developing a thick skin helps. I’m pretty feisty and not much bothers me these days.


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