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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My friends are starting to get divorced.  This week, one of my university friends contacted me to say that she and her husband are getting a divorce.  They have a two year old daughter. We haven’t been in contact for years and I last saw her about five years ago. She’d heard that I am now a single mum having separated from my partner, Cygnet’s father, a couple of years ago. She wondered whether I would meet her for coffee.…

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I have been a single mum for about eighteen months now.  It has been an adventure.  There are some great things about being a single mum, things that make me really proud to be part of the single parent community. There are also some things about being a single mum that are really tough.  The toughest thing about being a single mum is facing the single mum myths that are out there. Let’s explore a few of these single mum myths:…

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