Who Am I
Hi, I’m Willo. I became a single mum to two beautiful children in February 2017. This was by choice, a choice for happiness, a positive home environment and stability for myself and my children.
ShareAbode is a not for profit organisation that connects single parents wanting to share the load of rent and everyday expenses, as well as make good friendships for themselves and their kids.
It is free for all single parents and is Australia wide, the underlying lesson ShareAbode wishes to convey is that creating a village for your tribe is of vital importance and the more we share in our lives, the more we actually get back.
I am all about empowering single parents to go for the life they want and know that this system can be a huge step up in order to give it a real shot.
The 2016 consensus counted more than six million families in Australia on Census night – up from over five million families in 2011. About 45% of these were couples with children; 38% were couple without children; and 16% were single parent families. Of all single-parent families, female single parents make up 82%, and make single parents make up 18%.
Also, almost one in four Australians (24%) now live in single person households.
The single parents in these single parent households was employed in 58% of them. 72% were single fathers compared to 55% being single mothers. Employment amount single parents generally increased as the age of the youngest dependant increased, with 34% of single parent families whose youngest dependant was under 5 years old, having an employed parent, compared with 70$ whose youngest dependent was 15-24 years old.
Yes, this is all facts and figures but why I am starting with this is to highlight that the single parent family household had grown and continues to grow, we are fast jumping out of the minority category which is great for platforms like ShareAbode because there is more support from the community it supports but it also shows that as this group rises, services do not and this is not good because of under-resources the majority of single parents are in poverty.
There has to be alternative ways that are not dependant on Government help in order to get ahead, and I feel like the coming together as a village, supporting our individual tribes is the only way to succeed into the future.
Jobs and single parents
The latest consensus paints a grim picture. 63% of single parents with a child under four years old is jobless. Across all one-parent families in Australia, with dependant kids up to 24 years old, the jobless rate averages out to be a bit lower – but it’s still one in three. With over 900,000 families having only one parent, this is a huge amount of people effected. The National HILDA Survey shows, between 18% and 23% of lone parents are falling below the poverty line.
Breaking down the numbers, it’s clear to me that a single parent is more likely to be jobless when their child is younger, also need tons more support as it is more full on and less freedom directed.
Sadly, us single mums are far more likely to be jobless than single fathers. When their children are under 4 years old, only 14% of single mums had a full time job versus 51% of dads. Single mums are never able to close to gap with single fathers, whose full time employment rate is basically in line with the broader labour force participation rate.
This is concerning for me, given the fact that somewhere between 84% and 88% of lone parent families in Australia are single mother homes. Mine, being one of them.
These stats are one of the reasons I created ShareAbode. Its one thing to know the stats and another thing to say you wish it was different but it is altogether on another level to create a system/platform which is designed to bring single parents together to share the load of rent and living expenses which is aimed to change three things:
- More money in the pocket for living expenses/savings
- Ability to work overtime or more flexible shifts
- The real need for connection with another single parent
I also know that this is more complex. I know it is driven by everything from falling housing affordability and rising income insecurity, to lack of affordable childcare, to inflexible workplaces, and even financial abuse by ex-spouses, like unpaid child support.
The Australian child support debt is above a billion dollars, and that doesn’t even include privately-arranged debt agreements. Basically, half of all child support payments are either paid late, or not at all.
With inflexible workplaces there is no allowance for more sick days for a sole parent to take care of their children when they are sick, set hours which are not during just school hours, opportunities to share work at home with office – It’s hard for a single parent to get a job, let alone make a career because of conflicting demands of professional and personal.
I know there is a misconception that single parents are lazy and living off welfare. They are being the parent, and being the income earner and there is no lack of motivation. Single parents always want the best life for their children and do what they can contained in the parameters of society and red tape.
It takes more than one fight, one person to move mountains and especially with a cause as big as this.
If the main issues for single parents are:
- Housing because of lack of it and the financial stress of the expense
- Stress and loneliness often leading to depression
- Network of support for themselves and their children
- Inflexible workplaces
Then surely ShareAbode can make a dent in all of this and shatter some paradigms along the way. The best way to explain is through an example of my own house share.
My rent for my 4 bedroom, two bathroom, huge backyard on the Gold Coast QLD was $640 per week but I only paid $320 per week and I did a house share for a year.
My savings in rent for a beautiful house, large backyard in a very community oriented neighbourhood was $1,280 per month and over the 12 months it was a savings of $15,360.00
I got value over money but the money saved was a lovely little nest egg.
The expenses were electricity, water and Internet and this was about $350.00 per month in savings which gave me $4,200
I ended up saving myself close to $20,000 in one year by house sharing. Plus I made a lifelong friend who is a fellow single mum and our children have a bon that is unbreakable.
I spent many nights crying on her shoulder and her on mine and I never had a glass of win alone or a meal by myself. I had conversation after the kids went to bed, but if I didn’t want it I went to my own room.
I got more work done on my businesses because she looked after the kids when I had an important call and she was able to go to the gym more because I looked after the kids early in the morning.
It worked emotionally, financially, logistically and really got me through. Of course, of course, it takes a solid relationship based on trust, respect and ability to see each others points of views but we worked at it, we made it work. We both needed the benefits so did what needed to be done to create a home which we wanted.
My son has learnt amazing negotiation skills, he looks at you in the eye when he speaks to you and he communicates in a very direct and adult level and has cultivated some wonderful friendships. I do know that he got some of those skills from watching us two single parents negotiate, understand, empathise, communicate and build bridges instead of walls.
At the end of the day, anything can fail if you focus on the negative aspects – But anything can also succeed if the need, passion and knowledge is there.
Please lets spread the word – The sharing community is an answer to the challenges we face.
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