Tag Archives: single parenting

My children do not come from a broken home 

There are way too many phrases that make me want to scream. The term ‘broken home’ has to be up there at number one.

It’s a phrase usually accompanied by statistics:
“Children from broken homes 5x more likely to suffer from mental health problems” (Daily Mail)

“Children from broken homes nine times more likely to commit crime ” (Telegraph)

” 7/10 young offenders come from broken homes” (Telegraph)

I’ve read through these articles,I’ve read the statistics and it seems that broken homes in these instances are those where there are not two biological parents living at home with the children. Broken home is often used to mean fatherless home,although there are of course motherless homes too.

I just think that these articles and statistics and panic inducing headlines do single parents a huge injustice.
Sure some families will struggle after splits and divorce.Sure some single parents will find it hard to cope so maybe we could look at how best to support them rather than write off their children as future thugs.

I don’t know one single parent who always envisaged this as the dream they’ve always wanted to persue from being a young child.I think most people would wish to raise their children in a marriage or long term relationship with their father.To have a calm,stable family life of mum,dad and children where the little ones can learn about healthy,respectful relationships from just observing their parents. Unfortunately though this sometimes simply doesn’t happen.

Scary headlines don’t help. I for one have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about being a single mum. That chip wasn’t put there by me though. I feel judged because I am judged,often.

An academic,Patricia Morgan,who has written several studies on family break up says this

“Broken families and serial fathers produce homes full of conflict and chaos and they are terrible for children”
Well Patricia, I am not as well educated as you . I’m not an academic. I am however on the front line of single parenting,everyday.
This house you speak of terrible for children? full of conflict? That was our life when we were living in the conventional family that you are so keen on. The fatherless ‘broken’ home we live in currently is one of relative calm , of happiness and laughter , of comfort.

As for the serial father bit that you chucked in there Patricia. We happen to be single parents we’re not animals looking for the next particularly fertile mate.
Yes there are families where the headlines and stats and stereotypes unfortunately ring true. That’s huge shame for all involved. It’s a shame for society.


The single parents I know though,raising our future thugs and villains?? We’re actually doing a bloody good job in really tough circumstances.
We’re resilient, we’re adaptable, we’re hardworking and we’re tough. Rather than looking for the next serial father to jump we’re actually making a cosy haven for our children,making sure they feel safe and loved and secure . We’re doing a two person job single handedly often whilst working or caring for other family members or studying.
The conventional family my children lived in once simply was not the calm environment it should have been for anyone involved.
My children are not from a broken home. They are from a fixed one.

Not Just the 3 of Us

3 Little Buttons

My Facebook page is here

One Messy Mama

          Mummy Times Two


Mothers day hints for single mums

I’m not a fan of Mother’s day. It’s up there with Valentines day for making you feel a bit crap.
I don’t have a mum, I haven’t had for almost 18 years now and the whole Mothers day thing being shoved in my face does sting a bit. Being a single mum also means there’s going to be no day of being spoilt so really I could do without it.

HOWEVER the kids? They bloody love it!  They love making a fuss and so for them really we have to just smile through it.

I’ve been a single mum for getting on for a decade now and I have picked up some hints along the way to share with you.

1) Buy yourself a gift

There’s only one rule here. It doesn’t matter what the gift is but it has to be something you want not that you need! (I see you there thinking about treating yourself to a new iron – No. Not allowed.)

Can be something as simple as a box of chocolates or a trashy magazine. Just have a treat. I’ve tickets to see Wicked (yes again) this year. If you’ve older kids let them wrap it, they love that, it just might take all day day to get through the whole roll of sellotape that’s been used!

Extra handy hint:If you  do go down the chocolate route buy two boxes, you’ll have to share the first one with the little people, have a box B for when they’re in bed!

2) Breakfast in Bed

The kids love the idea of breakfast in bed. Obviously as a single mum this is not going to be a full English brought on a pretty tray after a lazy lie in until 10am. That’s OK, we are adaptable.

Buy croissants and orange juice. After you’ve gotten up at ridiculous o clock and seen to the kids, put on the laundry and more than likely watched more cbeebies than is mentally healthy you can make a big deal out of going back to bed and let the small people fetch pastries and juice. If you’ve older ones you can push the boat out to tea and toast, though you’ll probably have to remake the tea when you ‘get up’ as tea made by children is rarely good. In saying that I’m a bit picky with tea as it is and there’s probably only a handful of adults I’d trust with that job!

3) Take 10 minutes

I know this is way easier said than done but it’s Mother’s day, we’ve got to try and make ten mins peace happen. Let the kids have a bit of extra screen time (do not feel guilty  about it)  take the Sunday papers and a coffee and just sit for a little while. If you’ve a whole tribe of kids like me you can suggest to elder ones that doing a jigsaw with their sibling while you flick through a magazine would be a huge mother’s day treat and sneak a cup of (well made) uninterrupted tea.

4) Speak to a non single mum.

This may sound mean but make it one with a partner who’s not great. Don’t talk to the woman whose perfect husband let her lie in until lunch before waking her with their children clean and dressed before having a great family day. That woman is really lucky and we’re happy for her but being a single mum on mother’s day can feel a bit flat. You see happy families everywhere you turn, letting a mum who does have a partner but the only mention of Mother’s day she’s heard is him asking her what she’s got HIS mum rant will make you realise you’re not alone in your Mother’s day misery.

5) Take social media with a pinch of salt

For every #soblessed perfect family picture there’s rows and bickering children and too much washing and not enough hours in the day.

As single parents we may not have someone to to share the chores or help with parenting duties or even ask how our day’s been and that can be really tough and lonely. Really though all us mums, single or not, are just trying to do our best and not mess up too badly. Don’t let social media be a stick to beat yourself with.

Have a lovely Mother’s Day
You’re doing an amazing job.
You are enough.
You are irreplaceable.
You are entitled to a hot drink and a solo loo trip today!

One Messy Mama

Burnished Chaos


3 Little Buttons

Here’s my Facebook page



Mummy Times Two


16 things in 16 years.

We all know I’ve no claim to be a parenting expert. I make mistakes often but I generally learn from them (I have only ever ONCE attempted to take the kids to school on an in service day).
Eldest boy is almost 16 (I know I know I’m way too young!) and I’ve had 3 more since him so I must have picked up one or two things about parenting in 16 years.

Here are the 16 parenting lessons I’ve learnt in 16 years :

1) I do like children after all! (phew)

2) Motherhood leaves you vulnerable to more pain, upset and worry that you could imagine.

3) Mother’s instinct is a real thing.

4) Never leave weetabix bowls for even two minutes before you wash them. That stuff could be used to build houses.

5) Despite what meany-pants parenting books try to say, there’s no such thing as too much praise. I absolutely believe the reason I’ve such confident children is because they know I think they’re fantastic and tell them often.

6) Colic doesn’t last forever. You think it will but it doesn’t.

7) One day you’ll really miss the TV shows/books/movies you currently hate because your child wants them ten times a day (I’m so sorry for hiding you We’re Going On A Bearhunt)

8) The teens will never admit it but they do appreciate you taking the time to ask about their day. For every 10 times the response is shoulder shrug and ‘meh’, there’ll be one time they open up and chat about their day. It’s worth it.

9) There IS a difference in parenting boys and parenting girls.
10) There’ll be days you find motherhood dull or exhausting or impossible. That’s OK, those days pass.

11) One day you’ll find yourself telling your children off for exhibiting behaviours that have come directly from you.

12) Teething is torture. For all concerned.

13) Don’t panic about children being late potty training or giving up dummies and bottles. One day they will.

14) The chocolate /junk food /sweets you swore you’d never bribe your children with? You probably will. Don’t worry about it, it’s a means to an ends. Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that and if a kinder egg means your kid will sit quiet while you have a smear or something equally glam so be it.

15) A kind or thoughtful gesture from your child will break your heart in the best way. It just kind of dissolves with pride.

16) Don’t lament the end of the baby /toddler/pre school days too much. It’s hard to let go but teens are quite good company (on their terms of course)

It’s in no way rules to live by, but I’m Queen of making it up as you go along parenting and these children of mine *crosses fingers, touches wood, finds lucky rabbits foot* they seem to be turning out OK!

A note from a needy mum to my terrific teenagers..

Dear teens, 

These have been the first school holidays where it’s been apparent that you’ve all got your own social lives and I’m not really necessary.

Just a couple of years ago the first words spoken on a school holiday morning would be you asking “What are we doing today?”
You all had absolute faith that mum would have a great day of fun planned and I was more than happy to oblige.
(Disclosure: When I say a day of fun I don’t mean a big day out at the beach or a theme park. I mean that one of the mum talents I’ve collected is the ability to make a big deal out of nothing. I can spin an afternoon feeding the ducks and a bag of chips and make the kids believe even Eurodisney wouldn’t be THIS much fun!!) 

As you’ve gotten older though you’re certainly not as enthralled by a treasure hunt in the park or going on a bug hunt. You’re no longer fooled by me turning off the lights and making popcorn that it’s exactly like the cinema. Your eyes don’t fill with excitement at the prospect of visiting the science museum for the millionth time anymore. Well except you eldest boy, but I assume that’s just a case of science geeks attracting science geeks like magnets or some more complex physics theory I don’t get!

I do appreciate that you all get involved in the slightly too young for you activities with your little sister. Watching you sit and craft with her or read with her makes me really proud. Mind you, that fairy tea party we had yesterday rocked didn’t It?? (promise the pics will never find social media!)

I see that you have your own things to do with your spare time now. I understand hanging out with mum holds little appeal when your friends are free.

A tiny part of me does of course miss those gorgeously cute little ones you once were. The children who thought mum throwing an indoor picnic was the coolest thing ever. I miss that my making a ‘bear hunt’ trail through the house complete with squelchy mud and swirling winds will likely never be  necessary again.

Do you know what I’ve realised though? It makes the time you choose to spend with me really quite special. When you were babies you were stuck with me through no choice of your own. As increasingly independent teenagers that’s not the case.

Eldest boy, when on a rainy Sunday you load up all my favourite Doctor Who episodes to sit and watch with me, I love that. It’s thoughtful and sweet. Even when you roll your eyes and throw me the tissues at the “I don’t want to go” bit. It’s nice at almost 16 you’ll pander to needy mum.

Youngest boy I love that on a Saturday, your only free for all games console day, you choose to turn off at 2:30 and come sit with me. That you bring your notepad and pen and we have a very competitive game of ‘predict all the football scores’. If I’m really lucky you’ll do your Garth Crooks impression that makes me grateful I did my pelvic floor exercises you make me laugh so much!

Eldest girl, I love that being so into your music as you are you’ll come sit and share your favourite songs with me. Even though I’m old and uncool and return the favour with STEPS and b*Witched vids.

So I’ll try to give needy mum a bit of a rest. You’re all fantastic company. You’re funny and bright and chatty and I love you all to teeny tiny bits so when you choose to spend your free time with me I’m honoured.

So off you go with your hectic social lives.
Never forget though needy mum is always available for Who marathons, footie chat and to be musically educated!


My Facebook page is here


3 Little Buttons

The Pramshed

Burnished Chaos

The making it up as you go along parenting manual

When eldest baby was born I literally parented by the book. I had no parents and was the first person in my friendship group to have babies so I was stuck for people to ask for advice in the main. How on earth do I look after this tiny human? I did as I always do when stuck for answers – turned to books!

It worked for a while, then when baby 2 came along eighteen months later and baby 3 a year after that the books went out of the window. Time, brain cells and energy were at an all time low, and besides who do I read about how to parent first?? The toddler, the baby or the newborn? Arrggh

There it began.

Making it up as you go along parenting. I’ll share with you some of my gems.

Let me just say I don’t think myself capable to write parenting manuals- I just wanted to share some nuts ideas I thought were a good idea at the time!

Panic, lots. Scream and shout and tell everyone it hurts. Giving birth with just gas and air for company and then sobbing your heart out and tantrumming when someone wants to give you a teeny tiny jab in your leg is actively encouraged.

Cuddle the firstborn to sleep whenever he wants, every single day. He just loves being swaddled and cuddled and it makes us both soooo happy.

When babies 2 and 3 come along feel free to shed many a tear about how daft you were to do the cuddle to sleep thing as now teaching him to self settle is impossible.
Decide to be tougher with babies 2 and 3. Aaww but they’re crying because they miss me. Spend evenings playing a cuddly version of Whack a mole. Only instead of moles popping up to be bopped on the head it’s babies in different rooms crying for cuddles? Which will it be next? Play on repeat until 4am when everyone is asleep and you’re power napping on the baby’s bedroom floor.

Just ignore them. They’ll get bored and stop eventually. Child nods off on floor worn out? – mum win! I rock parenting. 
First public tantrum.. SHIT!! They pull this trick in public too?? Oh no! People are staring and tutting. Decide to strap child back into buggy, run home and never leave the house again. Realise a toddler mid tantrum could rival the world’s strongest man.. Work up a sweat strapping in. Phew. Now run for it. Screaming toddler now is stretching his feet to the floor to ensure you cannot run anywhere without breaking his feet! Throw the judgy crowd a dirty look, tip buggy back onto 2 back wheels and walk away, blinking back tears and promising to hand in your mum badge.

Big up being away from mum as the most fun thing ever. ALL the toys, ALL the boys and girls! Children 1 and 2 fall for it hook, line and sinker! Rocking parenting again, you think smugly.

Child no. 3 is barely able to string a sentence together yet can ask what day it is, work out if it’s a nursery day and proceed to cry she doesn’t want to go from 5am.
Extra brilliant parenting plan. When said nursery hating child asks what day it is, lie. Save yourself the four hour long sobfest. 
NEVER do this. Child will hate you but nowhere near as much as you will hate yourself. Your time whilst child in nursery will be spent crying also out of sympathy /guilt.

Make plans to be one of those organised mums. You’ll have lists, calendars and a fully functioning diary. Child shall always be immaculately turned out and school days shall be perfect.

However – when things don’t turn out that way, the ‘making it up as she goes along’ mum learns to adapt!

She becomes the mum who has to frequently nip into school with forgotten lunches/pe kits/homework projects. She polishes shoes at the bus stop with a baby wipe. She makes being late for coffee mornings (she has to stop to buy the cakes she forgot to bake or went wrong) a tradition.
Adaptability : A key parenting skill.

Decide you’ll not be a pushy mum. You will never pressurise your children. Good grades are not as important as happy kids don’t they say? 

Balls to that! You’re telling me my child can get an A* in maths? I download work papers for him to do.

My child is on the gifted and talented register for his acting skills you say? Interesting. *Google’s RADA*

My daughter is a talented sportswoman? *makes note to research where the 2024 Olympics are being held ready for watching gold medal performance in sport yet undecided*
Making it up as you go along parenting isn’t for most (sane, rational, responsible) people. Seems to work for us though. I don’t seem to have ruined the small people’s childhoods, there’s no evidence of emotionally scarred children.

I think I know the reason for this though. As the children have grown, I now have Google and social media and other parents to ask for advice and to learn from.

Thanks you guys, you really are rocking parenting!!

My Facebook page is here

          Naptime Natter

5 reasons I don’t mind being an old cat lady (and one reason I do!)

I’ve been single a long time.

There’s only about a handful of men (behave!) I am fond of.

Now, I’m in my later 30’s, I’ve 4 children so my opportunities for dating are rare (me having the inclination to date even rarer) so sometimes I do get to thinking, what if I’m single forever? What if I become the stereotypical crazy cat lady? Yeah the thought of that doesn’t worry me so much… Here’s why being single forever would be fine:

1) I can continue with my uncompromising, egocentric (when the kids aren’t here) life. I watch my crap telly, eat my fave dinners, go to my special places. I never have to take someone else’s wishes into consideration (again only when the small ones are away obviously!)

2) I’ll never have to pretend to like someone else’s family and friends. No matter how supremely lovely your other half is, there’ll always be one family member or friend that is an absolute pain in the arse. You have to put up with them though, because when you first met them you wanted to be all positive to your partner and told them you really liked them. I can’t feel sad I don’t have to hang about with knobs!

3) My space is my space.
My bedroom, my house, my favourite places, they’re all mine. No other grown up will be invading soon. I don’t want some ball scratching, sweaty man invading my Lush scented life!

4) I don’t have to do kid – related panic.
Will the kids like him? Will he like them? (course he will they’re amazing) When do I introduce them? When can we all do activities together? I imagine even if the much anticipated Mr Perfect were to come on the scene, the kid related anxiety would cause me great stress. Crazy cat lady doesn’t have such issues.

5) If I don’t fancy making an effort I don’t feel obliged.
When the kids are away if I want to only get changed to put on fresh pj’s post bath I can. If I want to hang about with no make up on, hair scraped into a ponytail, bra-less.. I can. No one is going to see. I expect should a boyfriend make an appearance I’m going to be obliged to get dressed… or shave my legs at the very least. Though if Mr Perfect was in fact that he’d be happy to come hang out in pj’s..he’d probably even bring Nando’s.

So I know, ending up scary cat lady should be a worry to me, I do. It really isn’t though, seems like a nice way to live!

Oh the one reason I don’t want that to be my fate though?? I really don’t like cats…. Scary book lady maybe??

Disclaimer : Should Mr Wonderful find his way into my world and all the above is forgotten. Don’t judge me! That’s merely a plan B!!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of Single Parenting..

I’ve been a single parent for many years and the majority of the time I do really enjoy it. It’s always going to be a thousand times better than what I had previously and it works for us.

I know every family is different and every parent will have their own highs and lows about parenting solo. These are just mine.

I’m in charge. In my house I’m sole maker of rules, sole enforcer of rules. There is no one to undermine me or give the kids mixed signals. As a result every knows exactly where they stand. The kids know exactly how far they can push boundaries before grumpy “games consoles are BANNED” mum makes an appearance.
No one much likes her, me included.

I get to be the ‘come to’ person.
Questions, worries, rants, irritations I’m the first port of call on that front. Whether that’s the little one asking me to teach her Spice Girls dance moves (I really am that cool) or the eldest asking me to do interview prep with him or youngest boy wanting to talk through what subjects he wants to take for GCSE then I’m the person they (possibly wrongly) turn to and I like that. If I can at all help, guide and comfort that’s got to be one of the biggest responsibilities of being a parent. Also,it makes me feel really wise. Not much does that!

On a day when the planets align. Everyone is enjoying spending time together, and they’re just basically all being nice people, I can look at them and think that I made this happen. It’s the best feeling.

Our family dynamic works. We’ve been us 5 a long time and we’ve settled into quite a nice cosy family. We’ve our own history full of remember when’s?? Our own in jokes and we all just fit.

Ill days. I love all the things I’ve outlined above. I like feeling like the independent woman doing parenthood alone… Until I’m ill. On a day I’ve a vomiting bug or just a horrid cold and want to climb under a duvet and die peacefully, those are tough days. Really bloody hard. On those days I’d walk over broken glass to have another pair of hands to make dinner or do the school run.
The days I’m to be seen vomiting discreetly mid school run because there’s no one else to do it? They’re not my finest hour.

The dark days. You know the ones? When those lovely children of yours turn into demons.. and all at the same time! The little one is having a tantrum because no one will do a jigsaw with her, the boys are arguing about whose turn it is on the computer and eldest girl is stropping about slamming doors for one reason or another. That’s all on me. Just me. I feel like the world’s most awful failure of a parent on those days. I question my parenting abilities and my sanity and on days like that feel lacking in both.
Thankfully those times don’t last too long and someone will do something nice and all is almost forgiven,but oh they’re the worst.

The ‘I need to split myself in two days’. The elder 3 want to see something different at the cinema to the seven year old. The older kids want to go go-karting whilst the youngest wants to go the petting zoo. If I just had another person around we could split activities and keep everyone happy. As it is my negotiation skills have to come into their own those days. Worst is if sports day collides with prize giving or parents evening is same night as a concert. That’s the real killer of a decision and one you can only ever get wrong.

This one is all in my head.
A combination of anxiety and a huge, huge chip on my shoulder about being a single mum make my mind drive itself nuts.
I hate the fact that at Parents Evenings where the two chairs are set up I only occupy one. It’s always just me. My mind starts telling me that everyone is thinking ‘Oh look there’s the woman with a million kids and no father to be seen’ (I’m referring to the elder ones here little one is lucky to have a hands on daddy)
I always feel like I’m the youngest mum around at the eldest school things too which adds to it.
I think and hope I’m finally beginning to lessen that chip on my shoulder, but I think it’ll always be there in some form!
Bloody anxiety.

On the whole I love being just the children and I. Our (not so) little family works well for us and really that’s all that counts.

One Messy Mama

Rhyming with Wine