Twenty-six years ago I was a 20-year-old single mum of a beautiful daughter. Unfortunately with that came shame and stigma from the world we lived in.
I spent the first six years bringing my daughter up by myself and doing the best I could. I worked in hospitality while studying office administration.
My intention was to get off the benefit and into the workforce full time and hold my head high.
It was hard going a lot of the time, with very little family support. When I did go to work full time when my daughter was five, she had to go to a caregiver after school and during the holidays and when she was sick.
I felt so much guilt at the life my poor child was having to endure.
Over two years ago my partner of 18 years and the father of my second child (a son who is now 16) had a long-term affair.
It was devastating to say the least. I found myself single parenting again.
But I was better prepared this time around. I took the lessons I learnt with my daughter. I continued to educate myself and work hard at a career. This time I had a degree and post grad diploma to fall back on.
Given the hard lessons I'd learnt all those years ago I was determined to never find myself in that position again. I employed a good lawyer, got what was mine under the property laws and bought a home for myself and my son. I am one of the lucky ones.
I feel so much for the single mums who are struggling out there today. It is so much harder for them than what it was for me, I believe.
Gone is the study support to help them better their long-term outcomes, instead they are vilified in the media and by the very politicians who promised to do good by the people of this country. They are our public whipping boy.
My daughter is now an intelligent, educated young woman, working in a managerial role and planning her wedding to a wonderful young man. She is everything that a mother could hope for.
She goes against everything that I was told myself and my child could ever amount to.
So for all those single mothers doing it on your own, I salute you. You are the amazing ones.
Keep your chin up, do the best you can and think long term.
For all of those women who criticise from the sidelines - shame on you, that could be you or your daughter one day. Dependant upon how good a man you end up with.
Source: Single Parenting - Google News