I can finally feel the joy of being a single parent. Becoming a single parent when my son was five months old felt like trekking off alone into the dark wilderness where the wind was biting and howling and I had this precious little baby to protect and to shelter.  I didn’t know whether I could do it.  None of my friends were single parents.  Not all of them were married but all were happily coupled.  On my single parent…

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I make no bones of the fact that sometimes I would quite like to have a boyfriend. Only sometimes though!  Secret single behaviours are those weird things that people do when they are alone, away from the prying eyes of the public and away from the ears of those who may condemn or criticise. My secret single behaviours include sitting on my own on the sofa eating dark Lindt chocolate and drinking wine in the evening.  I am not sure…

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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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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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I’ve been a single mother for over two years now and I think I’ve learned a few things.  I’ve learned that single motherhood comes with a stigma and within that stigma there is a hierarchy.  There is a hierarchy of single mothers. Before I start, I want you to know that I don’t believe in any of these stereotypes.  Below are my reflections on how, in my experience, single mothers are perceived in society.  This is not how I want…

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It was a cold Sunday afternoon in January over two years ago when my ex and I first discussed separation.  Things were bad.  He taunted me.  “What about Cygnet? You don’t want Cygnet to come from a broken home.”  My ex didn’t believe that I would have the courage to leave, and after googling “broken home” that night, I nearly didn’t. Broken home children are ‘five times more likely to suffer mental troubles’  said the Daily Mail Children from broken…

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There is an abundance of co-parenting guides out there.  I have a fair few lined up on my bookshelf.  I have even read a couple of them.  The advice is similar.  Co-parenting success is when you put the child first.  Co-parenting success is when you are respectful to your co-parent. Co-parenting success is when you communicate effectively. All of this sounds sensible in principle, but what does co-parenting success actually look like in practice? I have a friend who invites…

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For some of us, Mothers’ Day is better for being single, while for others of us it’s worse, and for others it’s just different.  I am firmly in the first category. I am lucky, because I now get two presents on Mother’s Day, one from my son, arranged by my ex and one from my son, arranged by my mum.  My ex and I separated just before Mother’s Day a couple of years ago.  He didn’t buy a present that…

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