Singledaddydaycare Parenting Feature – Getting to know you…with Natalie Marden (episode 1)

So Singledaddydaycare is actually coming to you from France this week, I am here with the children on our holiday but actually I am not feeling that well (man flu) and us men get it worse right? So with those excuses behind me, I thought it would be a great time to launch the new ‘Getting to know’ you feature.

So firstly thank you to all of you who sent me responses to your questions, I will be looking to feature a new parent regularly – if you are interested in taking part, please send me a message with your email address and I can send across further instructions.

Why am I doing this feature? Well simply because, the page Singledaddydaycare is growing quite fast and there are so many of you who have supported and contributed along the way.  This is not only my of saying ‘Thank You’ to you, but also it is a way to potentially get awareness to topics we may not know or know little about as parents.  So my hope is that we may learn a little something on this journey too.

So first up, we have Natalie Marden who is a single mother to two year old Marley, they live together in an apartment in South Birmingham.  Natalie works full-time as an auditor but as her job is within education, she gets to work term time which means she gets to spend the holidays with her daughter and of course helps with the childcare! In terms of hobbies, Natalie likes to read, watch ‘trashy’ TV, Zumba and watching live comedy.

Into the questions:

As a parent, what’s the toughest challenge you’ve faced?

Probably trying to juggle working full-time, keeping a home and being a good mum.  It’s a difficult juggling act where I never feel I get the balance right.

What do you enjoy most about being a parent?

The simple things, the way my daughters face lights up when I get in, or how she laughs with glee when I push her on the swing.

If you could, what one piece of advice would you give to a younger you?

It would be to work harder at school, I always used to mess about and could have done a lot better than I did.  When I was in my early 30’s I went back to college to get more qualifications whilst working full-time which was hard and expensive.

Anything else you want to add? (can be about anything you want…topics you want to raise awareness to, ideas for parents, difficulties, issues – literally anything)

After me and my partner split up I had to rent a private property then you enter into a ‘catch 22’ situation.  Although I work full-time and have a reasonably well paid job, renting in Birmingham is expensive, so when my landlord decided to sell up I faced the prospect of being homeless with a young child.

It was a very stressful time as I had no savings and no disposable income to put down as a deposit on a new rental property. I have worked all my life starting from 14, when I had a baby sitting business.  All through college I had a job, sometimes two.  So I took people’s advice and went along to Council to see what help I could be given.
 For those of you that have not experienced the joys of declaring yourself homeless (I hope you never do), for me it was a real low point and I felt helpless and like I was failing my child, as I should at least be able to provide her with a home.  The council’s advice was to wait until the bailiffs arrive no real help would be given until then, I’m sure like me, you watch all those programmes like ‘can’t pay we will take it away’ or ‘the sheriffs are coming’, I really didn’t want to put my child or myself through such a stressful situation.

I found the charity ‘shelter‘, to be really helpful with both practical advice and explained the legality of homelessness in simple, easy to understand terms.

The Council were very cold and uncaring, I’m sure they get desensitised to these situations as they face them and much worse every day.  I was really made to feel worthless and nothing but a number.

I was one of the lucky ones and managed to find another private rental and negotiated the early release of my deposit from one landlord to another enabling me to move.  I am lucky to have a very supportive family of friends that all chipped in and got me packed up and we moved.
I’m now trying to save to ensure I have some security in the future, as you are really held to ransom by landlords unless you pay an obscene amount to renew your contract each year, you move on to a rolling contract and that means you can be asked to leave.

There is lots of campaigning at the moment for longer tenancy’s, so that families that rent can have a more stable home, as it is my 2-year-old has moved home 3 times all ready and that is really sad.

If you enjoyed reading this then why not check out co-parenting – How to establish rules, routines and boundaries

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