Broken English

I felt compelled to write an additional (and serious) blog this week and address the matter of someone who was in a far more influential position to promote the benefits of going through a tough time to other women/single parents, but chose instead to publically announce her victim state to Lorraine Kelly.

On scouring the headlines for material, Apprentice winner Stella English got my attention with her reported comment that she is now too poor to feed her children and “living a nightmare” as an unemployed single mother – with nothing but three London homes, two children and, as the Mirror evidenced, two bags of Harrods shopping.

Amongst a sea of women that can’t have children and the magic that’s brought about by daily kid’s conversation like “My got a bale of hay in mine nappy” (*plastic farm hay-bale located in nappy gusset*), I find it really sad to hear this women state she “has nothing”, has “lost everything” and her life is “horrendous”.

Break-ups are shit. And the majority of people have to go through them at some point. From my personal point of view, I find having a child around when your partner leaves is an absolute blessing in terms of having company, love, someone to make you smile and most importantly ensure you conduct yourself with absolute dignity and set an example to them that will make them proud of you in the future.

If you report crying all the time and your kids don’t know why – stop crying in front of them. When they’ve gone to bed then put on as much Celine Dion as you like and rock in a ball for hours, in fact don’t stop there: make a voodoo doll of who you’re most angry at and attack it with a soldering iron, saw your bed in half, drink lighter fuel – but when your kids are around you’ve got to man-up.

Ok, so my post-resignation Employment Tribunal claim wasn’t in the media or against Alan Sugar and didn’t involve a job that paid anything like £100,000 a year, but it was served with the same dessert of being landed a single mother. As for many other women around the world.

Stella English complained that she only got a Solicitor a few days before her trial – this is surely a blessing to have had one? If you are confident in your case then fight it yourself – it takes hours of fine-tooth-combing the scrutiny from the other side’s Solicitor but then surely this is what is expected? I would have been chuffed to have a Solicitor share some of the burden but I certainly don’t feel a victim for having to fight my own corner. This is a woman far from the back of the queue when they were handing out intelligence so what level of stress / correspondence did she anticipate from an Employment Tribunal?

And to say it can’t get any worse? It can. Your husband could have sex with a Trampolining Instructor ten years younger than you and you could find out via Facebook. A few days before you are due to have surgery. Again, this is a reality of life. And a gift of a learning curve.

It’s not that I don’t lack empathy – I do, and, in addition, I admire the strength to have stuck with such a huge case against a very powerful man. I’m just disappointed that, given my present near-obsession with latching onto the inspiration of every women I can find who has got through a break-up gracefully, here is a case in the media that shows a woman playing the ‘poor me’ card. She could have helped so many women by setting a robust example and cracking on with her life.

It’s also tough viewing to be presented with someone so apparently desperate for money yet still getting her hair dyed, shopping in Harrods and then spending her time tweeting several times an hour – when she could be applying for jobs.

One huge positive element of being in a position of unemployed single mother is the overwhelming empowerment it brings. Someone with the balls to go on The Apprentice and the fight to win it would surely have the inner Warrior to get out there, rent out her houses and claw at any job that would bring in an income.

I’m no perfect example of how to deal with being landed in this position – blogging my disappointment at my ex’s twin-exhaust Vauxhall Nova and new 18 year old friends is an admitted therapeutic move to try and find humour in the situation. And I can take little credit for the strength I’ve gained – I’m supported by the biggest backbone of friends I could ever wish for and hang onto numerous spiritual and motivational tweeters to reinforce keeping myself in check.

I had no knowledge of Stella English prior to her Daybreak interview. She is pretty, well-dressed, clearly bright given her achievements, apparently healthy, fortunate enough to have two children and her marriage seems to be a grey area – and therefore she is in the lucky position of being able to try and fight to keep it. It’s a shame someone with so much going for them can only see negatives and dwell on them, particularly doing so very publicly.





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