Single mums everywhere here are the sharp and insightful words from Julie Hawkins – a single mum champion. Our new Shout Out 500 is here!
As a Single Mum in Business I have learned that what fellow single mums in business need is EXPOSURE, and here is why;
The biggest issue in society is that pay is not in sync with inflation and working hours are not in sync with school hours. As a mum you have four choices, you work part-time, full-time, you are a stay at home mum, or you chose to be self-employed and run a business. When you have a partner either of these options has the support of a second income and so your income is extra income, but when you are single what you earn with one hand is taken away with the other, in that if you bring in £300 for your business, your benefits are reduced, and so instead of investing that money in paying for PR or business overheads the single mum is trapped in what is effectively relative poverty, with a great amount of stress in constantly recalculating what you will get and when.
Now let’s be clear; single mums do not feel entitled, they spend their lives paying direct and indirect contributions into a system they trust, but when you need support it is in such a small and degrading measure that you are left feeling helpless, humiliated, ashamed, with little confidence moving forward.
Working part-time is the ideal option, for a decent wage. Most extremely competent intelligent women with great skill-sets are forced into entry level jobs for or support work for little over minimum wage because it is known how desperate they are to work in school hours. Even working part-time means that you need to claim benefits (because pay is so low, and rent is so high). Every woman should be able to earn £100 a day in school hours – if wages were in line with inflation, then there would be no need for benefits at all, and every opportunity to put some money aside.
Full-time is equally an issue, bearing in mind that most support staff or semi-professional careers do not pay a decent wage, and so with childcare costs in addition to overheads you are still living in relative poverty – but missing nurturing your children too.
Very few single mums want to be a stay-at-home mum, as this means benefits of the ugliest kind and anybody who experiences that, will not choose it as a lifestyle choice, when they have experienced a wage and comradeship of work.
The ONLY HOPE as a single mum, with things as they are is self-employment – this is the only hope of increasing your income, the only hope of being able to be with your children as much as possible outside of school, the only hope of not needing to claim support for the next 15 or so years. But because most single mums are held back from finding money to promote their business, they need help, they need EXPOSURE, to enable them to succeed at being financially independent and be with their families.
By Julie Hawkins -Single Mums champion