Yesterday, the Irish Times reported that the number of poor mothers dying by suicide is on the rise.
Privately, a friend who works in an economically-deprived area in Dublin, told me that in the past year, three lone mothers have died by suicide in that area.
Mothers who parent alone get the shitty end of the stick in this country. Lone parent families have the highest rates of consistent poverty in Ireland, according to the most recent SILC report (which you can read here). The vast majority of lone parent families are headed by women. There are barriers to education and paid employment – and the work women do in the home is completely discounted; it’s expected that we will
*make appointments for the children
*take the children to those appointments
*do the laundry
*do the garden (if we’re lucky enough to have one)
*organise the handyman (if we can’t do the DIY ourselves)
*top up the leap cards
*keep the car on the road (if we’re lucky enough to have one)
*organise drop-offs and pick-ups
*do drop-offs and pick-ups
*pay attention to every sign and symptom of our babies, children, teens so we’re on top of their mental health and physical health
*provide healthy, nutritious meals for our children
*clothe our children
*provide appropriate shelter for our children
*ensure that they are doing well at school
*fight for everything they require if they have any sort of additional need
*pay all the bills
*organise birthday parties
*find the money for cards and gifts for our children’s friends’ birthdays
*make time to spend with each of our children on their own
*read to our children
*take care of their cultural, sporting, and academic requirements
*make sure they take their medication
*keep an eye on who they’re friends with
*get to know their friends
*forget that third drink on a weekend night, in case one of the kids gets sick and you need to take them to the doctor / hospital
*turn down invitations because you don’t have / can’t afford childcare
*monitor the kids’ internet usage
This list is not exhaustive. In fact, it barely touches the tip of the iceberg of the things that mothers parenting on their own are expected to do – and judged and vilified for if they don’t, or don’t do it to someone else’s ridiculously high standards.
Is it any wonder an increasing amount of us are suicidal?
* If you are affected by any of the issues raised, you can contact: Pieta House at 1800-247247, or Samaritans by telephoning 116123 for free, texting 087-2609090 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or Aware: aware.ie; Tel: 1800-804848; Email: email@example.com