Let me tell you a story. Last weekend I went to my parents’ house. Yes, I’ve made a point of calling it my parents’ house because I have a habit of calling it my Dad’s house, as if it’s his and my Mum just lives there. It’s not his, it’s theirs. But anyway I went to my parents’ house and came back on Saturday, getting a train into Stratford, East London I then went to take the overground towards Hackney- except it wasn’t running.
Distressed, I dragged my suitcase over the Westfield bridge and jumped on a 425 to Clapton, sitting down with my case at the back. Bad move. I was soon surrounded by hyperactive little boys. Great. I put in my headphones.
Next, their Mum rolls up to sit with us. My first impression of her was not great. 6 hyperactive kids and you’re sitting looking at your blackberry? I didn’t even know where to look when she shouted at them, let alone when she kicked one.
Eventually, another woman and her child come on. Now, they’re African. I don’t mean that racistly, I just mean you know that child is well behaved and don’t give her mum shit.
On a Saturday night the traffic was heavy, so eventually we all ended up talking to each other while one of her sons misbehaved, jumped up and down, provoked his siblings and got that into that over-tired-but-hyperactive stage. She dragged him back to his seat, grabbed him by the ear, shouted- the lot. I admit, to deal with 6 young boys she had to be a strong woman and she’d have to be firm with them, but there was something about how she did it that gave me a bad impression of her.
Then something surprised me… She wasn’t the typical loud, multi-kid mum I thought she was…
She said she was learning to drive so she could show her boys that going out is more fun than hanging around the streets as she didn’t want them to fall into gang crime, especially living in Hackney.
She said her and her husband had been married since before all of them where here and she’d never forget the day they all came home from school asking her why they only had one shared house, and not one each.
Wait a minute, what was that?
“Mummy, Why Do We Have One Home?”
That’s the question our kids are asking us today. It’s no longer “Why does Billy have a Daddy and I don’t have a Daddy?” or “Why do I see you some days and Daddy other days?” It’s “Mummy, why do we have one home?”
One home comes from a nuclear family, when both parents are together, yet in today’s society separated parents and having 2 homes is so common for kids that kids from an ‘unbroken’ home are starting to question why they don’t have two bedrooms in two houses. When kids from single parent families go to school or nursery they’re told about children with two parents who live together, so why aren’t kids from nuclear families told about the kids with two homes? Shouldn’t they know that, while separated/single parent families are okay, having one home is how it’s supposed to be? 2 home families may be common, but should kids really expect that to be the norm? And question when it isn’t so? A nuclear family is how it’s supposed to be and having one is a good thing.
This is when I put my head in my hands, sigh and wonder what the hell is going on in our society.
Note: I am in no way saying there’s anything wrong with separated/single-parent families. I’m just saying our kids shouldn’t think that that’s the norm or how it should be.