30th August 2020

I decided to write this blog, especially at this time of year when it’s all about results, whether it’s GCSEs, A-levels or University Qualifications…all will be apparent at the end of this blog!

I remember when the girl’s dad first left and they were only two years three-weeks-old. I can remember sitting down wondering how on earth I would cope with two little girls on my own, not in my home town anymore and feeling quite isolated and on my own. I had a great friendship circle, good neighbours and knew if I didn’t pick myself up and get on with it, nobody else would.

I don’t think it was ever really the fear of bringing them up on my own, it was more the humiliation and the shame of suddenly being a single parent. There has always been a horrible stigma to it I feel. I had waited until I was 30 to have my children and had a good career beforehand, and earned good money, had a nice size property and was in what I thought was a stable/good relationship, how wrong was I!!

I soon realised children don’t need lots of money, or even both parents, all they need is love, to be nurtured, taught right from wrong at a young age, fed well, have a roof over their heads and to be kind and caring to others.

I threw my heart and soul into bringing my girls up and have lived and breathed for them both ever since. From the moment they started school I encouraged them to get their homework done straight from school, treat others kindly, look smart and look after their belongings, and respect how hard I/somebody had worked to buy them, whether it was the nice clothes on their backs, or the nice toys in their toybox.

I always spoilt them for their birthdays and they always had the biggest parties, inviting the entire class, I think I did this was because I felt guilty that they had no dad. I also loved watching their faces at Christmas when Father Christmas had bought them a few things that they asked for. They were the kind of children that never really asked for much apart from a bouncy ball!

I had some lonely Christmases with the girls on my own, but for me it was all about them being in their own home, and not having to lug all the presents back home to see family.

Being a single mum isn’t easy especially when you don’t have family around you, you spend a lot of nights sitting in on your own but I always kept myself very busy in the days, doing things with the girls and my antenatal group and their children, neighbours and their children. I’ve always had a great support network from my family and friends, new and old but I know what it’s like and totally understand that feeling of needing some adult company too. It’s just that sometimes it would be nice for it not to be about children all the time, I totally get it! But that is the life of a single mum and I’ve always made my girls my priority, in the hope that one day it would pay off.

As they get older, they become easier, and much more independent and again I think it’s all down to routine that starts a very young age, and in time this does make your life as a single mum easier.

I was always very keen for the girls to do lots of clubs, be very sociable, have lots of life skills, and make lots of new friends from all walks of life.

I guess I was quite lucky having children that from day one loved school, they always wanted to do well and knew at the end of a good Nursery, Infant and Junior School Report, they would get a Krispy Kreme doughnut each, in their own bags! Don’t laugh! They thought this was absolutely wonderful and the best ever treat! Of course, when it got to the Senior School years, it was the obligatory McDonald’s for dinner on the way back from a successful school parents evening.

The girls have always been relatively academic (that comes from my family, not me!) and both achieved brilliant GCSE results and knew what they wanted to do at College. Abby always loved Biology, Chemistry and Maths whilst Beth was Biology, English and Health and Social Science. The girls did well in their A-levels and whilst it wasn’t the plan, ended up at the same University together. Abby studied for a Degree in Biochemistry and Beth studied for a Degree in Paramedic Science, both up at Hertfordshire University.

 Well what can I say, the physical hard work, sometimes having to go without and putting my girls first has paid off dividends. Beth qualified as a Paramedic June 2019 and now works for London Ambulance Service and Abby has just finished her four-year (had a year work placement) Biochemistry Degree and has just started job hunting.

So, all in all as a single mum, who never received a penny from their father, bringing her children up on her own, I think I’ve done okay, anyone who meets the girls says what lovely, selfless, kind and beautiful young ladies they are…. And I do feel incredibly proud of them both!

 So whatever grades your children achieved or didn’t achieve, if you’ve given them a good grounding and brought them up to be kind, lovely young adults, they will do well in life and find their direction. They need the right skill set to get over and through life’s obstacles…and I think that starts at home and ultimately how we bring our children up.

Claire Hattrick. Clipboard Claire.