I just had to put this in, I saw this picture of my son again this morning and it made me think of this article. I have found other stuff of hers on the web that makes for interesting reading, but this one in particular is very close to my heart.
Pity the poor single mom! Not only does she bring home the bacon, she also has to cook it. Not for her the comfort of a partner to pick up the slack, a Daddy to do homework duty, a husband to haul out the trash. But the perks of single momming aren’t to be sniffed at: most Single mothers get every second weekend off, it’s usually agreed Dad will have the children for a Saturday and Sunday every fortnight. Which other parent can have four child-free days a month? I adore my children to within an inch of their miraculous lives, but sometimes, when I drop them off on a Friday evening, I drive off singing. No dinners to cook. No bedtime battles. No 6am “Ma, can we watch K-TV?” to negotiate. And, for those who’ve been brave enough to embark on another relationship, no hiding under the duvet. Yahoo! Chandeliers, here we come. The children are more independent. Any kid who’s had to help his mom unblock a noisome kitchen sink, or let himself into the house every afternoon throughout high school, is going to develop an innate independence. I’m amazed by the initiative shown by my children – they sew on their own buttons, change their own light bulbs, and clean their own teeth (admittedly, only after 13 years of reminders). Single mothers can be as childish as they like. There’s something about having a partner watching that keeps you in line. You may want to put a lampshade on your head and dance the hokey-pokey at a dinner party, but a warning look across the table will smartly curb the urge. Your sudden feeling to swap your customary pale cords and linen for orange flares and purple velveteen, will quickly fade in the face of your partner’s flared nostrils. Children are, however, eccentric. They love swimming straight after they’ve eaten; they love running inexplicably around the garden, shouting war cries; they love dressing up and putting on musicals. And they’re really appreciative of anyone who joins in. Single mothers can release their child within – without paying thousands to a therapist. Single mothers can make decisions alone “Can I come home at midnight?” asks the 15-year-old. “No,” says the father. “When I was your age, I had to be home by 8.” “But darling,” says the mother, “when I was 15, I was going
on holidays with my friends alone. I was…” “I have spoken,” thunders the father, and the subject is closed. Sure, single mothers don’t have the “go ask your father” option (as in when your child asks, “Mom, what’s oral sex?”), but decision-making is a simple process: what Mom
says, goes. Although, of course, it’s ideal to reach consensus through discussion, being a single parent does mean you can say, “Because I’m your mother and I said so.” It’s heady stuff. Meal times aren’t set in stone Family therapists tell us that quality time is important, and that, in these days of TV addiction, eating a meal together around a table is paramount. I find it much more fun to watch a video in bed with my kids at 6pm as we stuff ourselves with popcorn, and much more intimate. We can always throw together some pasta later. We’ve breakfasted on Smarties at 5.30am, lunched on chips and Coke at 11am and then, starved for “real” food, gone out to a nearby farm to pick cherries until we all got sick. Now, that’s what I call togetherness.
Single mom’s friends are interesting. Because they’re distrusted by wives and lusted after by husbands, single moms are usually pariahs. So they make up their own circle of friends. I’m proud to say that the adults who influence my children in wonderful ways include a gay artist,
a deeply thoughtful author, a genius plumber, an autistic masseur, a lapsed (but not for sexual reasons) priest, an alternative healer and a terrifyingly energetic photographer. None is married, and every last one of them is wildly interesting. Vive la difference! By Tracey Hawthorne