Parenting in a Pandemic – Daniel’s story

Posted 29 April 2020

Daniel Betts is a single parent from Basingstoke UK and runs the Instagram account, @the_breaking_dad, which documents his journey through single parenthood.

Alone.

For single parents across the UK, that’s the reality of a UK-wide lockdown.

Loneliness is a feeling you never quite get used to as a single parent, though it often comes with the territory.

We’ve been in lockdown as a nation now for more than a month and as a single parent myself, I can attest to the fact that the coronavirus crisis has hit the single parent community harder than many realise.

These are unprecedented times and history is writing itself around us. It’s easy to get swept up with the news and forget to take care of ourselves.

With this in mind, I’d like to share a message with you:  It’s OK not to be OK.

Health worries

The primary concern for the majority of UK parents is undoubtedly the impact that COVID-19 could have on our children’s health, particularly if the child has a long-term health condition.

Coronavirus is a virus that affects people’s lungs, which in turn causes breathing problems. The difficulty with COVID-19 is that the symptoms are very similar to lots of other common illnesses: A continuous cough, high temperature and difficulty breathing.

Whilst the evidence so far suggests that children are lower on the risk scale than adults, even with underlying health problems, coronavirus should absolutely not be taken lightly.

In a recent Sky News article, Dr Sanjay Patel, a consultant in paediatric infectious diseases at Southampton Children’s Hospital, said some parents were not getting help from hospitals for serious illnesses like appendicitis, dehydration and sepsis because they were worried their child might contract COVID-19 whilst in hospital.

Our children’s health should always be the top priority. You should always seek hospital care and support if you think it may be needed.

If you have any questions at all or are unsure what to do, do not simply do nothing – Call your GP surgery or 111 and seek advice as soon as you can.

Financial stresses

The UK economy is almost completely shut down. Beyond those classed as essential workers, more than 9 million people are expected to be furloughed, costing the UK economy an estimated £30-40bn.

With childcare providers and schools closed for non-essential workers, those who are able to work are finding themselves juggling childcare too, often with very little support or understanding from their employers.

It’s natural to feel stretched when financial pressures start creeping in. With bills to pay and children to keep clothed and fed, it’s no surprise that single parents are really starting to feel the strain when it comes to making ends meet.

Keeping your children educated and occupied

One of the biggest challenges we face on a daily basis is managing a productive balance between keeping our children busy and learning whilst schools are closed.

Every child has different needs. It’s our job as parents to keep those needs met in a way that’s fun and engaging.

Sounds easy, right? Not so much.

With the majority of major retailers closed, even if you do have grand plans about exciting games or routines you’ll create whilst you’re stuck in, getting hold of the materials to do so is extremely tough.

Asking for help

There are close to two million single parents in the UK, many of whom are on the brink of a household financial crisis.

One of the biggest problems: too many single parents suffer in silence.

Balancing providing for your family with childcare and homeschooling is incredibly difficult and there is absolutely no shame in admitting that you’re struggling to cope. It’s normal and certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

As one of the most overlooked vulnerable groups in the UK today, COVID-19 is putting single parents in near-impossible situations, which could have a lasting impact on their mental and financial wellbeing for years to come.

Gingerbread, the leading national charity supporting single-parent families, has launched a fantastic appeal to support single parents during this difficult and uncertain time.

Their #SingleParentsEmergency appeal looks to raise money to provide vital support to single parents. This is a message I back strongly.

For any of those who have stumbled across my Daddy Instagram page, this is a message I strongly support.

Last year was an incredibly difficult year for me – I went through a tough separation and found the adjustment to single parent life very hard indeed.

What got me through was the support of other people, just like me, who had lived through it themselves and could truly empathise with me.

With COVID-19, these challenges are greater than ever. It’s time we pull together and support each other – It’s the only way we’ll get through this.

You can visit here to donate, and you could make a real difference to somebody’s life.

2 comments on “Parenting in a Pandemic – Daniel’s story

  1. For whatever reason we find ourselves where we are, each and every one of the single parents out there, trying to make life as normal as possible for our little people, deserve a round of applause. You should feel proud of yourselves for the selfless acts you dedicate your life to in the hope that those little people will flourish and have the best possible opportunities and happiness that life can bring.
    I seem to have endured endless battles over the last few years for one reason or another but each time I remind myself how much I love my children and, whatever life throws at me, I’ll be okay because I have them and actually, they’re doing okay. 😊
    Please add your stories to these articles. They are a great source of comfort and reassurance to so many in those dark moments when you feel alone…..because you aren’t alone and you have a great deal to be proud of. xxx

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