JK Rowling was in the news last week because she wrote an article for Gingerbread about being a single parent, and saying she's more proud of her time as a single parent than anything else in her life.

For those that don't know, I am one of those creatures so despised by the government: a single mother. Although I work three days a week, I rely on benefits in order to survive, and also live in social housing; everything the current government (and many of its supporters, and Wiltshire Council apparently) seem to abhor.

Last week I spoke on LBC Radio about the stigma attached to being a single mother, and how hard it can be. I know that for every person who heard me and thought, "gosh, it must be tough to be a single parent" there were two thinking "well, you shouldn't have got yourself pregnant, stop moaning about the handouts you get from my taxes..." and so on.

In fact, when I posted on my personal blog about the benefits trap, and how hard it can be for anyone (not just single parents) to get off benefits and into work, I was beset by a particularly unpleasant troll who advised me that everything I owned had in fact been bought with her taxes (I wish I'd known; I would have chosen a better TV!).

The assumption seems to be: single parent = feckless deviant, whiling away the days watching Jeremy Kyle on a flatscreen TV.

There is no thought for the fact that perhaps many single parents would prefer to be in work. Perhaps many single parents worked until they became single parents. Perhaps they had a "good" job; perhaps they paid into society for a number of years before becoming Benefits Scum.

I get the snide comments from couples: "we don't get help with our nursery bill"... no, but at some point during the day your husband will come home, and hold the baby while you visit the bathroom without an audience. I do not have that luxury. And really, even if it were entirely my own fault I'm in this position, should my child be punished for that?

All this lambasting of single parents bears no thought for how we became single parents in the first place. I know it doesn't fit with the stereotype, but very few women think to themselves, "I know, I'll go out and get myself pregnant, live in a council flat and sponge off the tax payer for the rest of my days." Most of us became single parents through the breakdown of a relationship or situations beyond our control. Most of us don't want to be relying on benefits. Most of us want to stand on our own two feet.

ONS figures state that 42% of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce. I'm willing to bet a lot of those marriages have children involved, which means an awful lot of single parents out there. Perhaps the government and media should consider cutting them a little slack? 

JK Rowling is proud of having been a single mother, and so am I. It would be nice to have a husband and a white picket fence and visiting with the in-laws on the weekend, but at the end of the day I can hold my head high and say that I work bloody hard. All day, every day. And I wouldn't have it any other way.