CBC Manitoba

Single Parents

Single parents are poorer than their married counterparts. And single women between 18-64 are among the most likely find themselves living on low incomes. The consequences are often painful for the 51,000 Manitoba children who live below the poverty line.

Blog- Adriana Brydon

Adriana Brydon is a 23-year-old mother of two children aged four years and 16 months, with another baby on the way. She was living on the streets at age 15 after running away from foster homes. She overcame a drug and alcohol-filled lifestyle and is now a university student who expects to be earning a higher income in the future. With grants and bursaries available to her as an Aboriginal student, Adrienne earns more than she did when she was living on social assistance.

Day 1

Today I had to bring my youngest son to the campus with me, as his daycare was closed. It is tough bringing him to school now because he is 17 months and starting to get into everything! Plus, he wasn’t feeling too great, so he was being a bit fussy. I didn’t get as much done as I hoped I would, but that’s alright, it’s only today that I needed to bring him with me and we don’t get to spend time together too often in the daytime. He is such a sweetie, when he isn’t crying, and even when he is.

After I got home, my eldest son decided to pull a temper tantrum for no apparent reason. I was trying to focus on a paper that is due today, but between my crying children and being sore and tired from pregnancy, it looks like I will be handing in a late paper. That’s not what I was hoping for but I will manage to finish within the next day or two. I don’t want to try and force myself to write because then it won’t turn out the way I want – and I can be a perfectionist at times.

I decided to take a break since I was getting frustrated with the paper and the kids were finally falling asleep. I decided to watch ‘The Hurt Locker’ with my boyfriend, seeing as it was named "Best Picture". I was curious to see just how great this movie was. It was actually pretty good; I am impressed. It’s time to go to sleep because I have an early morning and long day tomorrow plus a paper to try and finish.

Day 2

Six o’clock this morning I was awake and getting my oldest ready for daycare. I have to be out the door by 7:20 a.m. I need to have him undressed and settled in daycare, then I rush back to the bus stop for the 7:37 a.m. bus or I’ll end up being late. I just made it this morning and it looks as though I’m going to have to start leaving earlier. I’m getting bigger each day and lately it’s been slippery out so I worry about falling and hurting myself or the baby.

It was a long day at my university field placement. There is always stuff to be done there and I was hoping to try and get some more of my paper done. But that didn’t happen.

I was also daydreaming about money, which is something I constantly do. Once I’m finished school, I hope I don’t have to worry about money anymore or wait for my next payday. With the new baby coming, doing a mental inventory of my grocery needs and budgeting bills, debts, etc … it gets pretty frustrating. I feel as if there is never enough money and we are always lacking something. I always think about having money in the bank for emergencies/kid’s activities/recreation, buying a car, having nice furniture, and an always stocked fridge/cupboard and wonder what it will be like. I’m working on the furniture (layaway) and always do my best to keep up with the groceries. But saving at this point seems out of reach as we always need something. One day it won’t be like this.

Day 3

Today was a day like any other day. I missed my first bus and that made me late for my placement. I was on my way to the bus stop and as I looked up I saw the bus cruise by the stop. I checked my phone and it was a few minutes before the bus was due to be at the bus stop. I was pretty upset. I absolutely cannot stand it when the bus comes earlier than it’s supposed to and then doesn’t even wait. It seems like this happens a lot. It also seems, when I am running ahead of schedule, the bus is always late. It’s like I can never win.

I hate taking buses and cannot wait to get a vehicle of my own. It’s not just the timing of the buses, there is much more to it. For example, even though I’m eight months pregnant no one is especially polite and I end up standing while all the young teenagers get to sit down. Then, they have super loud and annoying conversations where they say offensive and disgusting things to each other, not caring what anyone else thinks. It’s even worse when I take the bus with my children. I have to take a stroller as my youngest can’t walk yet and it seems like everyone just stares at you. Most people are pretty good about vacating the front seats to make room for the stroller. But some people, and I’m not talking about disabled or elderly people, but the normal people who just sit there and stare at me like I’m crazy for expecting them to move to the back. And when I ask them to move they act as though I have completely ruined their day. Having a vehicle will be so much better when I am finally able to afford it. I have my driver’s licence but trying to come up with the money to buy a vehicle that won’t break down is out of reach when I’m juggling bills and the list of things I need in my home just continues to grow.

Day 4

What a long day! My placement today seemed to super slowly. Then I had a prenatal appointment where I sat until nearly 6 p.m. before being seen. After that, I rushed to my young moms’ group. I love going to moms’ group. I have been going there since my eldest boy was two months old, four years now. They are so supportive and non-judgmental. They understand that young girls have children and that is their own choice. We meet every second Thursday and participate in a number of activities from learning to cook nutritious, cheap, meals for our families to sewing to just hanging out and watching movies. It’s a group for young women 23 and under who are pregnant or have children. They give us rides and we have access to resources the church collects for us like baby needs, toys, outerwear and clothes for our kids. I am currently in the process of graduating from participant to mentor as I’m going to be past the age limit and I still would like to give back to the other girls as these mentors have given to me.

At moms group tonight, we watched the movie Precious. This movie was pretty good, although the ending was very vague. A lot of the moms, including myself, could identify with the main character. She is a teenage mother who grew up with her mother being on social assistance and was abused as a child. She is struggling to get her education and keeps hitting roadblocks along the way. I can relate to the movie because I have seen my own mother spend her life on social assistance, pretty much wasting her life away. I also understand the main character’s desire and drive to want to succeed not only for herself, but for her children. I am so close to reaching my goals, it seems within reach now, just a little bit further. I cannot wait!

Day 5

Today started earlier than usual. I was picked up by 7:30 a.m. because I had to go out of town with my field instructor for my placement. I was super tired but I’m worried about completing my hours before my new baby arrives. I was thinking about money again today. It sucks being broke. We stopped at a few gas stations and it makes me feel cheap when I can’t go in and get a coffee or a drink and have to admit I have no money. My field instructor is super nice and ended up buying me coffee and a drink but then I feel bad for her having to buy it for me.

Only one more week until child tax credit comes in. But after playing bills and getting diapers and groceries there won’t be any money left. It seems I am always behind with money. I feel bad sometimes, that I can’t get my children everything that they want. But, I know when I finish my degree and get a job that I will be able to afford the nice things that they see and want but I can’t get for them now. Hopefully there’ll be only a couple more years of living like this. I always make sure that we have our basic needs covered, but once in awhile it would be nice to splurge on them, just to make them smile. I can’t wait to get out of poverty and not be low income any longer and the only thing I keep thinking is I’m almost there, just keep going, you’ll make it