‘Just him and me against the world’: Single parenting during a pandemic – CBC.ca

October 19, 2021 by No Comments

Single parents have always shouldered extra responsibilities, but the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated challenges for this growing segment of the Alberta population.

According to census data from Statistics Canada, Alberta is home to more than 186,000 lone-parent families. 

Though some share custody or have the help of a live-in partner, others have navigated the pandemic almost entirely on their own, balancing work, school and child care. 

The pandemic has increased the weight of those responsibilities, according to Layna Haley, who runs support groups for single mothers online through the St. Albert-based Kaleo Collective. Her organization has seen a surge in single mothers seeking supports, she said.

Seven parents in the COVID-19 hotspots of Edmonton and Calgary shared their struggles — and successes — with CBC just days before the province enacted new restrictions. 

Here are their stories.

Tania Gonzalez-Hope, Edmonton

Tania Gonzalez-Hope has a 12-year-old son, whose workspace is pictured left. (Submitted by Tania Gonzalez-Hope, Madeleine Cummings/CBC)

Tania Gonzalez-Hope has a 12-year-old son who lives full-time with her in Edmonton. 

Both she and her son have attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has posed challenges for the family.

Gonzalez-Hope said she worries most about how social isolation is affecting her son’s development.

“It’s just him and me against the world, and that’s been really hard,” she said.

Like many parents, Gonzalez-Hope struggled to juggle working from home in the beginning of the pandemic with her son’s school work. 

She has since lost her job, so finances have joined the list of things she worries about.

Rebecca Firlotte, Edmonton

Federal supports like CERB and the Canada child benefit have helped Rebecca Firlotte care for her young daughter during the pandemic. (Submitted by Rebecca Firlotte)

Rebecca Firlotte said she moved into another apartment with her infant daughter in March after fleeing a domestic violence situation.

She spent much of the year caring for her daughter, but got a job at a small cafe in September, once her daughter was in daycare. Within just two weeks, she said she was let go because the cafe was not earning enough money during the pandemic.

She applied for and received the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), but the payment took about six weeks to arrive and as a result, she was late in paying rent.

She and her landlord eventually worked out a payment plan, but Firlotte said a rent deferral program …….

Source: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/seven-single-parents-share-stories-alberta-covid-19-pandemic-1.5841303


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