Carolanne owns a hairdressing salon on the west coast. She is lauded as an independent trader in business terms. She was born and grew up in a household of eight in a local authority-owned housing estate. Throughout her teenage years she never limited her aspirations to what society at the time saw as appropriate for a girl from a housing estate. From a very early age Carolanne supported the dream “of the power of one” and those years were marked by a burning ambition to never become a wage slave.
Fuelled by this ambition and a vision that she like any other young Irish person could be all that they wanted to be she became intellectually independent while a lot of her friends were enjoying “first love” and discovering the social lubrication of alcohol. Yet she had to put her “notions” on hold when, at seventeen, she found out her course of choice was not deemed suitable for government funding through a grant. She worked part-time hours to support herself financially during the four years of her hairdressing training. This displeased her but, in her usual positive way, viewed it as temporary and a necessary evil in her quest for independence.
She is a single twenty-nine-year-old mother by choice. She and Gary, the father of her son, are friends and share the childcare needs and costs of Lucas equally. Carolanne is all about equality and works diligently at ensuring Gary feels as much a part of Lucas’s life as she does. She decided not to live in the same house as Gary because she felt it would be a breeding ground for codependency. Gary has since moved on and is in whar appears to be a happy long term relationship with Shelly.
Carolanne has a three bedroom detached home on the better side of town mortgaged to a well known bank. She drives a 2015 Audi bought with a car loan from her local credit union. Carolanne “pulls” long hours in her quest to have a fairly decent standard of living for Lucas and herself. She has a full diary of clients with repeat business and works solo. She hates the dependency of this debt but would readily admit that she loves what she does while creating something that someone else wants. She continues to pay for the business loan she took out four years ago to help her with her start up costs. Most of the loan was swallowed up by the lease on her salon and the annual commericial rates she pays the local council. She resents that someone else sets the direction of her business but understands that there is no other way right now. She envisages that in five more years she will be free of this debt dependency and will have truly got her mojo back. At times she despairs that independence is nothing but a myth.
Her immediate family and friends sees her as a success. She employs a part-time child minder, Marian, for after school care of Lucas paid for by his father. Marian is also a single mother of two and what she earns caring for Lucas helps her access further education opportunities at the local college. Carolanne relies on her mother and mother-in-law for back up childcare. Again before accepting what she sees as a “favour” from both sets of grandparents she considered the benefits for Lucas from growing up as part of an extended family in comparsion to an isolated single family unit.
Carolanne is content that she has intellectual independence which enables her to exert influence, choice and control in nearly every aspect of her life and her next step is to encourage the independence of her son.
Bernadette Murphy ©