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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By the time my son was a year old breastfeeding was my dirty secret. I fought incredibly hard to breastfeed my son, Cygnet.  I breastfed a bit in the hospital after birth. Or at least I thought I did.  I was never actually sure whether Cygnet got any milk or whether he was just there latched on for comfort. The midwives insisted on giving him formula in the hospital.  They were really busy. They were lovely but they didn’t have…

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Co-parenting with my ex was never going to be easy:  if he were willing to see other points of view; if we shared at least some of the same life values; if he were able to listen, we would probably be co-parenting as a married couple rather than co-parenting as separated parents. Life doesn’t feel fair when you are co-parenting with a narcissist. A narcissist believes that rules are for others – he doesn’t need to follow them.  My ex…

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I’m proud to be a single parent but it is my support network that enables me to be more than just proud, but also a confident and happy single parent. As I watched Myleene Klass’s programme on single mums, the importance of support networks really struck me.  Those single mums who seemed happiest were those who weren’t isolated and who had strong family and friend support networks.    I am really lucky to have a great support network. I have:…

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I watched Myleene Klass’ documentary Single Mums on benefits on Tuesday evening.  She has since been criticised for being a rich single mum going round and interviewing other single parents who live very different lives.  The benefits angle and the title were unnecessary in my view and no doubt chosen to reel in additional (Daily Mail reading) viewers.  This was a shame. Myleene did manage to portray a broad spectrum of single motherhood.  She also showed the pride, the accomplishment,…

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