Thursday, 31 December 2009
The festive period can be stressful at the best of times but when you're a single working mum the pressure can be enormous. For a start, from the moment you bring your darling child into the world you are not just known as Mummy, you will also assume the secret identity known to many as Santa. At the beginning this didn't cause me any great deal of trauma, after all, how easily can a 15 month old child express disgust at the colour of the building blocks Mr Claus has left them? However one particular Christmas I was on the point of a nervous breakdown at 2am on Christmas morning trying to construct a wooden market stall. I had no one to call or to hold pieces D & F together while I screwed sections B & C. Since then the pressure and expectation has only grown.

The desperate hunt for "this year's toy", trying to find an appropriate hiding place for all the stocking fillers in a tiny two bedroom flat, making sure that you don't fall asleep on the couch before completing your role as Santa on Christmas Eve all while working full time soon take their toll, I could easily go on....

I always used to love the fuss around Christmas but recently (well, probably since I've become a mum) the festive period has only emphasised one thing, that I'm on my own. Of course if I hadn't split up with my ex a few weeks ago then that feeling of loneliness may have slipped away but I've never been one of those women who would rather be with someone than on their own regardless of whether they loved that person or not.

As the clock ticks closer to 2010 I find myself sitting watching Eastenders rather than sipping on bubbly and getting ready to hit the Hogmanay capital of the world. While everyone was rushing around Sainsburys this afternoon with their trolleys full of party snacks and fizz I was doing my weekly shop trying to find the cheapest cheese because when you're single and a mum your priorities change. Life isn't one big party anymore, it's about whether you're buying value cheddar or brie.
Sunday, 20 December 2009
Breaking up with someone is never easy unless you're Phil Collins and have a fax machine. It's difficult enough to try and gently tell someone that you no longer want to be with them but when they shove your Christmas present in your face and demand that you open it you know that you're dealing with a whole different ball game.

What is probably important for you to know at this point is that while we were still in a relationship he had mentioned that he had got my Christmas present and had said the following:

"'s sooo you, if you don't like it then I don't know you at all and we may as well forget it".

So no pressure there then! It brought me back to thinking about the time Daniel had got me a present for Valentine's Day which he'd especially ordered from Borders. We were living together at this point but I had been having doubts. He'd got a book which he'd seen advertised and thought I would really appreciate it. I was quite taken aback that he had gone to the effort of ordering something for me so was naturally curious as to what this book could be about. It really was quite thoughtful of him.....or so I thought. Please remember, this was a Valentine's present, Valentine meaning loving, romantic or in this case a book entitled "If we're so in love why aren't we happy?" We weren't happy because we weren't in love, I didn't need a book to tell me that.

I had secretly hoped it would be a new laptop, it was the only thing that I could think was totally me plus he knew how frustrated I'd been at my one packing up. Common sense though would have told me that regardless of this fact he hated me being online. He wasn't going to buy me something that would encourage me to go online even more. To give me unlimited access to Facebook and email? I don't think so - what a joke. Except when I opened up the gift it was anything but a joke, it was a white gold diamond cross necklace that just wasn't me. I never wear necklaces and I don't like having a cross around my neck. I'd ripped a cheap one Daniel gave me from my neck at an extremely heartbreaking time when I was heavily pregnant. I just couldn't wear it.

So just like the book, as soon as I saw the necklace I confirmed his worst fear, he didn't know me at all and it was all over.
Thursday, 17 December 2009
Do you remember the time when you had to wait 2-3 days, even sometimes a week for a new love interest to call you? You know, the days before the mobile phone (which was in fact mobile and not attached to a battery pack!), email, facebook or twitter? There was that unspoken rule (usually amongst men I suspect) if you call the next day you’re too keen and then there were the girls who constantly checked to see if there was a fault with their landline – or was that just me?!!

I remember when I met my Geordie ex when I was in Uni (all of 1 month) in Newcastle back in 1996. We had met on a Friday night and it wasn’t until the Monday that he finally phoned me. The anticipation over the weekend of wondering whether he would phone or not was unbearable but the rush of excitement when I heard his voice on the other end of the line was worth it.

It’s all too easy to say “facebook me” or “I’ll send you a text”. I don’t know about you (and this may seem picky) but I have judged someone purely on their texting abilities, misspelt words, grammar or putting apostrophes in the wrong place. This can often sway me between a “yay” or a “nay” when it comes to a date and it’s not like I can afford to be choosey! I can sympathise with my friend Rapunzel ( all too often you can get into a text conversation which leads anywhere but going on a date.

However, I have to admit that upon going on a date I have many a time “googled” a prospective boyfriend. I feel that my excuse for this is that I have a child and I need to know whether my date has had criminal tendencies.

Unfortunately it was my familiarity and use of modern technology that contributed to my most recent relationship breaking down, well, that among other things (we'll revisit this another time). So what would happen to the dating world if we took away text, email and instant messaging. Would it give us a chance to get to know someone for who they really are rather than making an assumption from their drunken Facebook pictures or the fact that their status is a bit naff?

If I handed over my landline number to a handsome young man, would it discourage him or would it show that he was actually serious about going out on a date with me if he phoned and used his voice to converse? Would it make us work harder at relationships or would we all get bored waiting in for that phonecall, tweet about it and move on?
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Time flies, doesn't it? Or so the saying goes. I remember people saying to me, "make the most of it, before you know it she'll be all grown up". Of course I didn't believe that when I was struggling to breast feed, crying at my stretchmarks (I could see them so much better when my pregnant belly went down) and wondering if I'd ever be a good mum, I just wanted the time to pass quicker.

It's taken me over 8 years to accept that I am a single mum. I hated the title single mum, I always felt it brought up such negative connotations. Well, not anymore, uh uh uh, I'm about to change that. I work hard and through that I have provided a home for my daughter. I've taught her the importance of good manners, respect and appreciating life. I've made her aware that you have to work hard for things, nice things. The words benefits and the social do not exist in her vocabulary.

So, a proud, single mum I am. Don't get me wrong, there have been dates along the way, I even lived with Daniel for a year or so before I saw the light. I've done internet dating, blind dating and my last relationship (which finished yesterday - so you're bound to hear more about that soon!) was a set up at a party by friends.

I wonder whether in having a baby I missed my chance of meeting the person they (being everyone) refer to as "The One"? Perhaps he was a Dr in the hospital where I attended the NCH breast feeding support clinic? If I hadn't fled early with embarrassment from squirting another mum then maybe I would've bumped into him?

Or was he waiting for me at Glastonbury Festival this year but upon his approach into the sauna (that's naked, sauna) he noticed the man sitting next to me struggling to hide his growing erection with his elbow and decided to leave?

Where is this person that they refer to as "The One", does he exist and if he does, who the hell is he??


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Bird on a Wire
Imagine Carrie from Sex and the City morphed with Bridget Jones and a baby thrown in for added entertainment – that’s me, the ever optimistic romantic looking for my Mr Big but already with child! Read my blog from the beginning where I find out I am pregnant following a brief fling with my much older male colleague and fast forward to where I am now, stressed out working mum to my beautiful 10 year old daughter wondering if love really does in fact exist at first sight.
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