Political rhetoric infuriates mothers: Women bringing up children alone respond to recent criticisms. Jojo Moyes reports

JOANNE BENSON (not her real name) , 32, is divorced, with an eight-year-old daughter and a 21- month-old son. She was married when she had her first child, and had her second when she was on her own. She owns her home in Barnet, north London, and receives no state benefits.

'I actually left school with 'O' levels and went to finishing school. I worked from age 18 and got married at 22. I don't actually work now, I can afford not to. I don't get any support from the state and absolutely not a bean from the children's fathers.

'The Government's rhetoric on single mothers really makes me angry. I live in a very middle- class area, full of professional people and I'm no different to any of them.

'If there is a 'single mother problem', it's only in other people's minds. I actually think the problem is that married people are very frightened of single women with children. I have interests and I think married people feel very threatened by that because they rely on their partners so much.

'I pay for the odd bit of babysitting, but my children are completely my responsibility in every single respect. I don't ever have a night or weekend without them.'

VICKY FREEMAN, 43, lives in north London with her three children - two girls aged 11 and 13 and a five-year-old boy. She has been single since 1990 when her husband left. She lives on income support with single parent benefit and family allowance.

'The real 'single parent problem' is the fact that single parent mothers have been lumped together regardless of their situation. There are some who become single mothers for reasons better known to themselves and then there are those who had single parenthood thrust upon them.

'The hardest part of being a single mother is finding the finances to keep the children fed and clothed and pay the bills.

'I'm very angry about how we've been labelled. What gets me upset is that the Government thinks single mothers are bringing up violent elements of society. Violent children come from families where there's no love shown, regardless of the number of parents. One loving caring parent is better than two parents who are constantly fighting.'

NICOLA MARCHANT, 19, from Musselburgh, near Edinburgh, became pregnant accidentally at 15. Her son, Jordan, is now three- and-a-half. She lives with her mother - also a single parent - in council housing. Having attended a college with creche facilities, she now works as an administrative assistant in the courts department of the Scottish Office.

'I didn't mean to get pregnant. At that point I was pretty mixed up. But I got seven GCSEs when I was pregnant and then took two highers and after that I just wanted to apply for jobs. I've been working in the courts for a year last Wednesday. My job has career prospects - they move you up quite quickly.

'My son only goes to nursery in the morning - the fees are pounds 35 per week - and his dad has him in the afternoon. His dad doesn't live with me, but we're still together. He pays for half the nursery fees.

'But he's not got that much because he can only work half days. If I didn't have my boyfriend's help I couldn't go to work.'

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football Polish side was ejected from Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
news
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Junior Analyst - Graduate - 6 Month fixed term contract

£17000 - £20000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

SAS Business Analyst - Credit Risk - Retail Banking

£450 - £500 per day: Orgtel: SAS Business Analyst, London, Banking, Credit Ris...

Project Manager - Pensions

£32000 - £38000 Per Annum Bonus, Life Insurance + Other Benefits: Clearwater P...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone