Being a single parent, I often have to come face-to-face with the stereotype that single parenthood has. And I hate it. *folds arms and stamps foot*
The label of being a single parent is one that has such negativity attached to it, such stigma and I feel like I have to work super hard to abolish that stigma from my own life, almost just to spite the horrible label. (Did I ever mention that I’m really stubborn?!)
I thought it was time that someone shared with the world, the TRUE picture of what being a single parent looks like:
1. Sunday morning means sharing your duvet with a wiggly, loud beautiful mass of blonde hair. And while you try to encourage said blonde child’s singing voice, you are also secretly terrified that birds are dying in a 2 mile radius as a result.
2. Evenings are never child free. Said child will want to make sure they aren’t missing anything, especially after they might hear the front doorbell. They will make every excuse to come and investigate the visitor, and stamp their authority and mark their territory. This is their home, who dares enter without their permission?
3. You’ll learn skills you didn’t know you’d need. *flexes muscles* Like being able to cook a meal, wash up, put the washing on, hang the washing up, take the bin out, make a new drink, make a pre-meal snack – all in the space of three minutes – it’s the joy of running a house on your own!
4. Fancy underwear? What even is that? Your child invades your bedroom at the meer sight of a headlight in the morning, let alone sunrise – so fancy-pants time is almost impossible – and that’s only if you even have a boyfriend. The thought of investing your hard earned wages on a pair of pants that cost more than a weeks shopping is enough to make you laugh. Hysterically.
5. First date rule – do not delve into your handbag FOR ANYTHING. In fact, avoid taking it with you. There’s nothing more unattractive than reaching for your lippie and accidentally pulling out the spare Thomas the Tank pants that you keep for emergencies. And that’s usually followed by the spiderman figure that your child thought you might need for your meal out, the half chewed cereal bar they HAD to have that morning but didn’t eat, and a mass of dried, old wet wipes from the school runs that week too.
6. When you go to school functions prepare to face the masses. God I hate school plays, festivals and even kids parties. If ever you didn’t need your ‘single parent’ label – it’s those functions. You practically walk around with a neon sign flashing above your head announcing to the world that you’re on your own, and no you haven’t been able to figure out dating as a single parent. Said events require a huge amount of fake smiling and a pre chilled bottle of wine waiting for you when you get home. To be consumed immediately.
7. Financial planning as a single parent means budgeting with the attitude of an accountant who’s hobby is watching you squirm. Christmas and birthdays mean you become a hysterical mess at the thought of how to make those two ends meet and your skills at juggling outgoing/incoming finances could win you awards. It’s a skill to have more than toast for dinner by the end of the month!
8. When people come over to visit you always make reference to the fun quote ‘Please excuse the mess, my child is making memories’. In reality the house looks like something exploded because you work full time, your child wakes up at 5am and you can’t remember how to switch the hoover on when you get home in the evening because you’re so knackered. You hardly have time to shave your legs some weeks, let along make the house look like Mary Poppins is in residence.
|Carnage after 15 minutes of hoovering…|
9. You have the best intentions. You really do. But when Sunday rolls around – the one day of the week where you can just about convince your child that staying in your pj’s all day is perfectly acceptable – all you want to do is enjoy putting your feet up and binge eating yummies. You plan to do all the ironing, you really do. But as your body begins to remember what relaxing actually is, your brain convinces itself that it’s fine – you can iron your clothes each morning before school/work..
10. BIG MISTAKE. You try and take any time for yourself and instantly suffer the consequences. Thinking you could iron the uniform and the work clothes each morning as part of the pre-day routine? Who did you think you were, what a stupid idea. Suddenly the mass panic of homework, book bag, signed letters, reading book, coat, shoes, brush teeth, hair, anything else that needs brushing…what kind of idiot thought they would have time to get the ironing board out when they always seem to be running through the playground to get to the classroom before the bell goes anyway? Yep. Me.
But you know what?
As a single mummy you may never get to experience a lay in again, or eat an entire meal to yourself without having to share (I guess that’s all parents though) and you might not have anyone to stand guard of the toilet door and so be forced to have a full on chat with your five year old while you do your business, but you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.