Since I gave up dating, there have been few weekend evenings when I have been without my son and without a plan.  Often I am so exhausted after a week of work and single parenting that all I really feel like doing is opening a bottle of wine, finding some romance film from a decade ago and sinking into the sofa. Evenings spent like this always make me feel guilty.  Most mothers dream of being able to go out one…

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I always imagined that I’d have a girl.   I’d bring her up to be strong-willed and independent.  I’d bring her up to question everything and to stand up for what she believes in.  I bring her up to never accept second best. I’d dress her in dresses, but not pink ones.  She’d love drawing and painting.  Having a boy wasn’t really something that I ever thought would happen. I didn’t find out whether I was having a boy or a girl…

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I never really kept a diary when I was growing up.  I always used to have a notebook on the go but, looking back through them now, there is only the occasional diary entry.  There is a diary entry about how I felt when I kissed a girl in a nightclub as a student in France (tingly, excited and a little bit scared).  There is also an entry about how I felt bullied by my ex’s sister nearly a decade…

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The ancient Greeks had a working definition of “in your prime” which was around 43 years of age.  I am in my late thirties.  The idea of being on an upward trajectory over the next few years as I head towards middle age and my prime is really appealing. Unfortunately, biology and society tell me that I reached my prime was I was about 25.  At 25, I was super-fertile. My breasts were pert. My face was plump. My stomach…

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The most unexpected people believe in fairy-tales.  Often the firmest believers are otherwise intelligent and successful women who very often have been fortunate enough not to have had to deal with the shit that life dishes out. People like me believe in fairy-tales.  People like me watch horrific events unfold in the news.  People like me listen to podcasts of interviews with women about their life after the death of a partner.   People like me read an editorial in…

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People are no longer leaving love down to serendipitous encounters.  Instead they are actively looking for it.  Dating apps abound.  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat all provide opportunities to find ‘love’.  But has social media killed romance ? All information about a prospective date is laid out before us.  Name, age, height, occupation, an inspirational quote and a few posed photos make up a typical dating profile.  Once swiped off the screen, our prospective date is replaced by another, and…

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Keep calm and carry on and the good old British stiff upper lip have their place place.  But when it comes to tragedy and terrorism, a stiff upper lip is not good enough.  We cannot just keep calm and carry on.  We need to talk. For the sake of the mental health of a generation, we need to share our feelings. News of the Manchester attack appeared in my Twitter feed before it broke on BBC breaking news.  I guess that’s…

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The mother of all Feminists, Simone de Beauvoir, famously wrote “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”.  In The Second Sex she describes how society conditions us to be become women at every stage in the journey of life.  Becoming a mother is also a journey.  We are conditioned to become mothers, but our conditioning is not just a societal one.  Becoming a mother is a physical, physiological, psychological, neurological, hormonal, emotional and societal experience. We are not…

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Solitude, isolation and loneliness mean many things to many people.  It was not until I became a single mother that I fully understood what they mean for me.  I have experienced solitude, isolation and loneliness as a single mother. I know that my loneliness feels most acute when I am with people who don’t or can’t really see me.  Loneliness is a book that is flicked through but never read.  Loneliness is like music that plays in the background but is…

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Cygnet had spent the day with his father and I was due to collect him from his father’s house at 6pm.  I arrived at 6pm on the dot and I knocked on the door.  There was no answer.  I knocked again. Still no answer.  I called his mobile phone.  There was no answer.  I called again.  Still no answer.  I called a third time and left a message.  I was starting to panic.  I was starting to think that he…

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