On being a single mum –  3 years on.

The most important thing about me is that I am a single mum.  I have been a single mum for three years now.  Even if I marry or find myself in a long term relationship I will still feel like a single mum.  When you’ve had children with someone with whom you are no longer coupled your separation defines everything. 

Apparently, good separations do exist.  Good separations are where everything works swimmingly, payments arrive on time, your partner sticks to arrangements, you agree on schooling choices, you have similar approaches to discipline, food, television. 

This is not my reality. 

I am making a mental note to get one of these kinds of separations in my next life!

single mum

Another thing about separation is that it makes clear something that coupledom obscures, or at least it certainly obscured for me, and that is that even when we were together I was ultimately on my own.  I was the one getting up at night, doing all of the feeding, the nappy changing, the shopping, the cooking, the cleaning.  I was also paying half of the mortgage and half of all of the bills.  I was working full time.  Now that I am a single mum, there are no illusions that someone else is doing their share, it is just me, and actually it is a whole lot easier. 

It has been three years since we separated.  I am happy.  I have found my single mum peace and equilibrium.  The bitterness has dissipated.  My ex’s desire to punish me through manipulation and anger seems to have declined.  I have learned to negotiate to make co-parenting work.

Cygnet is happy as a child of separated parents.  We separated when he was five months old so co-parenting has always been his norm. 

People say that you forget the pain of separation, the pain of failure, the anxiety and the crushing desperation.   I don’t agree.   I no longer feel the pain, but my god I remember it, the memory of that pain will be with me forever. 

What you really forget is the love…

P.S.  Some other single mum blog posts you might enjoy: Happiness levels increase after divorce: FACT;   Is it wrong to celebrate divorce? 
Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

DIY Daddy
Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. February 14, 2018 / 11:16 pm

    Love how positive this post is. I have several friends going through separations at the moment so will forward on. Thanks for linking up x

    • thesingleswan
      February 15, 2018 / 11:22 pm

      Thank you Vicki. Pen x

    • February 17, 2018 / 9:57 am

      My middle son married a single mum, we love her son as much as we would if he were a biological grandson, they now have 2 daughter S together #satsesh@_karendennis
      Karen, the next best thing to mummy recently posted…Disabled riding-take 4My Profile

      • thesingleswan
        February 19, 2018 / 9:56 pm

        That is lovely to read. Thank you for sharing Karen. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      February 19, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      THanks Nige. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      February 19, 2018 / 9:36 pm

      Thank you Becky. Pen x

  2. February 19, 2018 / 9:19 pm

    I love your writing it is honest yet warm and really easy to read. I am glad you are finding some peace but sorry you still feel the pain. #FamilyFun

    • thesingleswan
      February 19, 2018 / 9:33 pm

      Thank you Katie. Pen x

  3. February 20, 2018 / 1:32 pm

    Great post. As a single dad I definitely relate. I’ve managed to mostly keep the coparenting thing in line with how we did things before, though in reality it’s two people separately parenting the same children in the same way. Weird to describe the difference, but it’s how it is.

    And I totally agree about the pain and the love. I’m confident it’ll come back. got to keep gazing at that horizon in hope.

    • thesingleswan
      February 21, 2018 / 9:16 pm

      I think two people separately parenting the same children in the same way is a really good example of co-parenting. Pen x

  4. February 20, 2018 / 8:19 pm

    #thesatsesh a fascinating piece, open and raw but also thought provoking. If I’m honest the line about forgetting the love made me sad. whilst i agree – isn’t it awful that we can remember the anger like yesterday but not the love? It doesn’t seem right?
    fridgesays recently posted…I like my music so loud I can’t hear my thoughtsMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      February 21, 2018 / 9:14 pm

      It doesn’t seem right, and it is a shame, but unfortunately, for me, it is true. Pen x

  5. February 21, 2018 / 12:14 am

    Wow the only way i can relate to this is through my own parents break up when I was 15ish. Such a long time ago, my parents seemingly co-parented happily, in reality my Dad just agreed with my Mum.. My Mum has dated but has never found anyone to spend her life with again. She has never forgiven or forgotten my Dad and some of our conversations now are really quite powerful.. you don’t forget. I haven’t forgotten.
    ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…The Letter C #FamilyFunLinky #ABC123ChallengeMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      February 21, 2018 / 9:14 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story Karen. Pen x

  6. February 21, 2018 / 9:03 am

    Good for you you have reached a place of equilibrium. Once the people involved are happy, or at least can pull together, it really doesn’t matter what the family logistics are. Very interesting post/ #mg

    • thesingleswan
      February 21, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      Thanks Enda, I agree. Pen

    • thesingleswan
      February 21, 2018 / 9:11 pm

      Thanks Helena. Pen x

  7. February 23, 2018 / 4:43 pm

    I agree with out about not forgetting the pain. That never goes away. The pain goes away but not the memory of it. I am much happier as a single mom than I ever was as a married one. I love my life now. I do get along with my ex and we have a great co-parenting situation but I still remember how hard it was to be married to him. I still remember all the pain that was caused by both of us. But now my kids are so much happier as he and I are so much happier. Great post again Pen! #mg
    Michelle recently posted…Choosing Not to Spread Valentine’s Day Cynicism to My ChildrenMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      February 26, 2018 / 9:03 pm

      Thank you Michelle. Pen x

  8. February 23, 2018 / 8:03 pm

    I’m sad for you that this has been so hard, but I am also happy you have experienced the joy. You will again. Love will sneak in and up on you, when you least expect it — serendipitously! #mg xoxo

    • thesingleswan
      February 26, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Maybe Lisa, maybe… Thank you for your comment. Pen x

  9. February 24, 2018 / 6:20 am

    Following your blog for quite some time now I can see the peace that has come over you, you were always strong, but now you seem even stronger and happier. I am glad you are in a better space, it was so horrible what he put you through and yet you made co-parenting work because of your intense love for your little boy. I am not just saying this, you are truly inspirational. . Thank you for sharing this post with #mg
    Mackenzie Glanville recently posted…What you can do to help heal our worldMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      February 26, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Thank you Mac. That is such a lovely comment to read. Pen x

  10. February 24, 2018 / 9:44 am

    Glad you’ve found some peace and equilibrium. That image is stunning ☺️ #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      February 26, 2018 / 9:00 pm

      Thank you Frankie. Pen x

  11. February 25, 2018 / 7:59 pm

    To be totally honest I can’t really imagine it as my life has played out very differently but what you say makes total sense! It sounds like you’ve found your happy #familyfunlinky
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…#MySundayPhotoMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      February 26, 2018 / 8:58 pm

      I have found my happy. Thank you for your comment. Pen x

  12. Lurinas
    February 27, 2018 / 7:20 pm

    Thesingleswan, thank you for this post. Its very inspiring.

    • thesingleswan
      February 27, 2018 / 10:32 pm

      Thank you.

  13. March 2, 2018 / 9:19 am

    I agree with you 100% that you never forget the pain. I count myself lucky that I have had the complete opposite single parent experience than you and we can mostly co-parent the same ways and pretty much adapt our parenting to suit each other when need be as we do with our routines. But it doesn’t mean it is always easy, a lot of work still goes into it even now 9 years later. I love reading your posts on your journey as a single parent and I’m glad you seem to have settled and are happy now. #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      March 3, 2018 / 10:43 pm

      Thank you Tracey, that is a really lovely comment to read. I appreciate it. Pen x

  14. March 2, 2018 / 11:53 am

    What a fantastic honest post lovely. Totally agree with remembering the pain.
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time

    • thesingleswan
      March 3, 2018 / 10:43 pm

      Thanks Beth. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2018 / 7:41 pm

      Thanks Lydia. Pen x

  15. March 4, 2018 / 8:57 am

    I remember reading once that separation is just as painful as bereavement but can actually be worse because that person is still there to physically haunt you, and actually in your case, continue hurting you. I’m glad you’ve found the strength to move on from the pain, but the memories will exist forever. Cygnet is one lucky little one to have a Mama as strong as you!

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time
    Nicola | Mummy to Dex recently posted…Dexter’s 21 Month UpdateMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2018 / 7:39 pm

      Thank you Nicola, that is a lovely comment to read. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 4, 2018 / 7:38 pm

      Hi Madeline, Yes, you are right. The memory of the pain certainly makes me very cautious about entering relationships now. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 5, 2018 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you Tracy

  16. March 5, 2018 / 8:29 pm

    I completely respect single mums (and dads) because it must so hard to do all the daily parenting yourself. But I also think you know where you stand. You’ve got to do it all. That does sound like an equilibrium. #kcacols
    Carol Cameleon recently posted…5 reasons pets are good for our mental healthMy Profile

    • thesingleswan
      March 5, 2018 / 9:33 pm

      That’s true. Pen x

  17. March 5, 2018 / 8:47 pm

    I’m glad you’ve managed to get to a place where you can co-parent as that’s – hopefully – easier for you and Cynet. #KCACOLS

    • thesingleswan
      March 5, 2018 / 9:32 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

  18. March 8, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    My sister is a single mum, her kids are seven and fourteen and single mum life has been their normal too. #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2018 / 9:07 pm

      That’s nice to hear. thank you. Pen x

  19. March 8, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    Such a honest post, I take my hats off to single parents – you are amazing! #kcacols

    • thesingleswan
      March 9, 2018 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 10, 2018 / 10:29 pm

      Thank you. I am proud of myself, but it is always nice to be reminded that I am strong. Thanks for the lovely comment. Pen x

    • thesingleswan
      March 13, 2018 / 10:10 pm

      haha, thank you. Pen x

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