Happy Mother’s Day! Single mothers will now have to provide ‘verification’ of their relationship status in order to claim Centrelink’s Parenting Payment Single. Single mums who leave parenting Payment Single and then return to the payment will also have to send the Human Services Department a photograph of themselves sitting alone crying into their one glass of Aldi wine on a Saturday night.
“From 20 September 2018 new claimants seeking Parenting Payment (Single) or single parents claiming Newstart Allowance will be required to have a third party sign a new form verifying that they are in fact single, then we can tattoo their scrawny necks and microchip them before we release them back into the wild,” the government announced as part of the 2017 Budget this week.
To be rewarded with vast sums from the government’s welfare-bludgers’ prize pool, I will have to find someone whom I don’t want to share the horizontal tango with, to verify that I am in fact raising my children single-handedly. I’m really not sure who I’m going to ask to help me with this. Will it be the merchant banker who picked me up at an art gallery and then took me on an incredibly boring date? The 22-year-old man working at my local servo who thought if he gave me a free juice and a bag of chips, that I’d go on a date with him? The guy who sent me ‘sexy’ pics of himself late at night on Facebook while his wife was asleep? He may be my best choice. Hopefully, he’ll get confused and tell the authorities that he and I have been shacked up for years with my children, his kids from three relationships, our cat and a feral budgie. Apparently, the penalty for making a false declaration is up to 12 months in jail. Which could mean I’m in for a nice break (Wentworth prison here I come) from mothering and working if my dreamy battler beau brags about our imaginary sexy times on social media.
“This is offensive and deeply disturbing,” said Terese Edwards, chief executive of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children.
“Who verifies? Do children get asked? Is there a neighbour watch alert? This is a slippery slope back into the dark days. I’m proud of our single mothers, they are doing a damn good job and don’t need the burden of Government prejudice.”
Terese is right, single mothers are doing a damn fine job, they’re the hardest workers I’ve ever met. But I quite like the neighbourhood watch idea as I’m a bad picker. I could have a panel of people telling me if I’m going out with the wrong dude. My neighbours could shout out to me, “If you bring that guy home, we’ll tell Centrelink,” and I’d be dissuaded from making a bad move on Tinder. Happy Mum’s Day from the Liberal Government. Scott Morrison what a generous man you are, you have saved me from a lifetime of bad relationships. I think I’ll stay home tonight knitting myself an old cat lady chastity belt.
My new solo comedy show Kids In The Kitchen opens tonight at The Factory Theatre, Marrickville for the 2017 Sydney Comedy Festival
Apparently you have to feed kids good nutrition to help ’em grow. But frankly, I’m sick of cooking. Once upon a time I worked with a woman selling merchandise who wasn’t brilliant at customer service. We used to jokingly say to her, “This shop would run smoothly if these stupid customers stopped coming in,” and I feel the same about my kids coming into the kitchen. I’d have a clean house if it wasn’t for these grotty teenagers. So at dinner time, my kids get two choices, like it or lump it. My daughters usually swap the inedible contents of their lunchboxes for their unsuspecting school friends’ more tasty morsels.
I’ve written a comedy show about my lack of enthusiasm for being left in charge of catering, frankly it’s a job that I’m underwhelmed and ill-equipped to handle, but it has provided my children many opportunities to laugh at me. And made them good cooks.
I’d love you to bring foodie friends to my funny show as I embark on a quest to outsource the catering. You’ll laugh your guts up as I enlist the audience in my hunt for a personal cooking slave. This show contains bad cooking and more culinary disasters than a season of Gordon Ramsay, along with sensational stand-up and me singing a few tunes. If you’re tired of smashing your own avocados, come to Lou Pollard in Kids In The Kitchen for the 2017 Sydney Comedy Festival at Matchbox – The Factory Theatre, 105 Victoria Road Marrickville on Saturday 6th May at 5.45pm and Sunday 7 May 2017 at 4.45pm
Lou Pollard’s Looking For Mike Brady show is a joyous, wonderfully warped, true, raw romp through the minefields and thickets that beset dating, single parenthood and the predations of ageing.
**** Four stars – themusic.com.au
I received an email yesterday:
We are worried about the future of your mortgage
What mortgage? I thought as I lay awake at 3am. Then I found out that there’s a name for the cause of my insomnia: housing poverty. I pay 65% of my income in rent every week. I’m not in debt but I’m about three pay days away from severe financial distress. So most nights I wake at 2am wondering how I’m going to manage and stay awake until 4am.
Housing poverty occurs when people who fall in the bottom 40% of wage earners put more than 30% of their weekly take-home pay into housing, which reduces their capacity to save money and thus their financial resilience.
According to an analysis by the Council to Homeless Persons, those paying rent alone on the average weekly wage for women would be priced out of all but one inner Melbourne suburb and even outer Sydney.
Jenny Smith, the chief executive of Council to Homeless Persons and chair of national peak body Homelessness Australia, said the situation for many single women was untenable and left them vulnerable to homelessness in the event of a crisis, like losing their job or a high medical bill.
“When you look at your average single woman on an average wage, you can see it’s very, very difficult to rent anywhere reasonable,” Smith told Guardian Australia.
“If you do, you are essentially putting yourself into a poverty situation.”
Sydney is a wonderful city, offering so much, but how can we revel in art and music and the joys of life when we financially stressed to breaking point? Single motherhood can be an exhausting cycle of taking time away from work to focus on motherhood, then overworking to earn enough money to pay back debt. And this is compounded when children have any kind of health issues. Maternity leave when kids are small and most need an involved parent impacts women’s ability to earn enough to support their children. My financial stress is caused by:
- Ridiculous Sydney housing prices
- Father who doesn’t pay for his children
- Working in the highly rewarding but low-paid arts sector for my entire career
- No politician with the balls to take on negative gearing/capital gains tax and make affordable housing a priority
Single working women on average wages in Sydney and most of Melbourne cannot afford to live alone. Men can. Does that seem fair to you Bernard Salt? I’m going to keep eating smashed avocado as I can’t pay for my own home with room for all my kids. Oh well. I could possibly live in a bus shelter when I’m old and it will be peaceful sharing with our cat.
Halloween is a day of celebration for dentists, who shout “Ka-Ching!” as they book skiing holidays at expensive resorts while our kids gobble sugar. Single mothers also love to be a part of the pagan goddess ritual of decorating houses with cheap crappy decorations made in a Chinese factory and the foraging of bags of sugar and chemicals to feed small beasts. Every year, as we make our way down our friend’s streets (never in our neighbourhood) I barely hear the cries of, “Mum we haven’t got enough lollies,” because I’m too busy flirting with the dads I’m chatting up.
I love Halloween. At work I try to make sick children happy, and scaring well kids on October 31st is a brilliant release. I can stick warts on my nose, paint my face green, have a few beers and channel my inner scary mummy. I love to rise to the challenge of freaking out a kid who has a decapitated head stuck to his chest. Last year I happened to be driving the clown van on the night of Halloween. As a bonus, I managed to embarrass my teen who was hunting in a pack with her besties with my elegant clown fashions.
On October 31st, macroneurotic parents are unpopular, shunned along with their raw, vegan, unprocessed dairy, wheat and taste-free ‘treats’. On All Hallows Eve I don’t cook dinner and my kids get fed by strangers. My youngest child has perfected a sweet innocent look that fools most people. Her blood-curdling scream is evil. I pretend she doesn’t belong to me.
But there’s one thing I don’t understand: Why take a toddler or a baby to Halloween celebrations especially if they’re your eldest child? Parents save yourself the trouble until your kids are at school and stay home with a cheeky bottle of fun. I nearly ran over a rampaging preschooler dressed as Justin Bieber last year.
Last Sunday I posted a picture of me wearing a T-shirt with the words
REAL MEN PAY CHILD SUPPORT
emblazoned across it. There was a big reaction. Some men reacted with the predictable ‘not all men,’ and one friend responded like this,
Nothing but a walking sperm donor, he doesn’t get to be honoured with the title of DAD. I have nothing but respect and awe for the strength and perseverance you’ve shown in being both mum and DAD. Too bad some other men are so fragile as to think you are talking about them.
Another response was,
When men who don’t pay child support are shamed, they tend to retreat from discussion and challenge on the subject. They go into a defensive stance that blocks out even mild inquiry about their responsibilities, let alone an outright attack on their claim to manhood.
Which made one poster so mad, they said,
Why don’t the good men encourage these men to man up to responsibilities?
Can men can hold other men to a set of values? The ‘men’ I know who dodge paying for their kids have no values and feel no shame, they’re not capable of it. And their families don’t hold them to account. They come from a long line of men who avoid responsibility and any kind of admission that their behaviour needs to change.
When a woman lives in constant financial stress, lying awake night after night wondering how she’s going to get by, worrying if the electricity is going to be disconnected, knowing she will send her children to school with sniffles because she doesn’t get paid if she takes a day off work, her kids suffer. The children become stressed because their mother is not present. She’s not focused on her kids, she’s too worried about how she’s going to pay the rent and when she’s going to get a good night’s sleep.
What annoys me most is the people who aid them. How does a ‘man’ go from earning $120K per year then within a week have a taxable income of $28K? How does a ‘man’ declare a taxable income of $19K a year when his rent and bills total more than $30K? How do these liars sleep at night?
I understand not respecting or trusting your ex, but making your children suffer? I don’t get it.
On Friday I posted a picture on Facebook of me wearing a T-shirt saying ‘Single Mothers Rock’ with my daughter at her school Father’s Day morning tea, with the caption:
What do you wear to the school Father’s Day breakfast when the father does a no-show? My favourite T-shirt #subtle #singlemothersrock
I hadn’t woken up that morning thinking I’d make a statement with my outfit, but when 350 people liked the photo it made me think about how we bring up my kids in 2016. Lucky I didn’t wear this T-shirt
My girl was in tears when her father wasn’t there like her friends’ dads; really how hard is it to schedule your work diary and show up to primary school for an hour for Father’s Day? And that is the easy part of parenting. Not going to the mother or father’s day breakfast at school is a missed opportunity for extra helpings of love from your kid. It is sad for her, but very predictable for me, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. I’m disappointed for her because I had a very committed dad, so I know what it feels like to be showered with love from your papa.
There were other single mums there, even a few grandparents, luckily our school puts the invitation out to anyone who is a special person in each child’s life. It’s hard for the kids who don’t have two parents. Then I heard about a woman banned from attending Father’s Day celebrations at her son’s school because she was the wrong gender. The father of the child lives overseas. Why can’t they include that mum as a VIP guest? In the 21st century maybe it’s time to get rid of the gender specific events at schools.
Today I’m going to the footy with a devoted dad to celebrate his special day because I think it’s important to say thank you and well done to our loved ones. So Happy, Happy Father’s Day to all the beautiful dads, including those like my wonderful papa Jack Pollard who are fathering from the skies. I know he’s watching over my beautiful girls and I was blessed to have a dad like him.