I’m migrating some older writing from other areas, to have it all in one place because I like the idea of this blog as a writer’s narrative. The original meaning of blog: web-log. Here’s some more (b)logging. May be of special interest to my fave single mummy blogger MFS!
As the daughter of a single mum, I’m often irked by the bad press they receive. I even heard some digs at them connected to the 2011 riots in London… I mean really, if you could choose a reason from the following: selfish capitalism, un-representational and unrealistic politics or single motherhood, which is really the culprit of youth dissatisfaction?
Single mothers can and do raise balanced, healthy, positive human beings. In fact, I would go a step further and say that there is another side of single-parenthood that is never, ever talked about, specifically when there is only one child: it can be fun.
As the single daughter of a single mum I can say there were hard times, times when I would have liked to see my mum more, or when I would have liked the shared experience and security of a larger family, but there were , many, many fun things we did that you can’t when you have to take into account brothers, sisters, and dad.
We travelled a lot. I went back and forth between my 2 countries, Greece and England, and me and mum travelled around England and Europe staying with people and friends. I experienced bohemian parties and communal living first hand. Then when I was older, she took me out of school first to Greece, and then to India travelling. I feel these things would have been a lot more complicated if we hadn’t been in the single child/single mum set-up.
Then there was the day to day stuff: not having a timetable based on other people’s needs, less time spent on talking and trying to fit everyone in, no meals that had to be on the table for hungry people.
There was a sense of freedom, that we could come and go at whatever hour, do what we wanted when we wanted, that I was a part of her life. She took me along to things (she had to!): gallery openings, obscure theatre productions, contemporary dance, artsy films.
She read me sophisticated books for an early age and there was no one to share the reading time with, no one to cook for after she was finished with me. So what if she didn’t have time to put the wash on, we washed our knickers in the bath and put on other clothes, no one complained.
We took rides out into the country at the drop of a hat: the snow covered fens, trips to see old friends in Scottish villages, down to London to hang out at the ICA and eat crispy fried duck in SOHO. Took me out of school on my birthday to go shopping and visit museums, at the teachers disapproval. A sense of comradarie.
Me and my mum are friends, not in the inappropriate way that we would go clubbing together, but a friendship born of many shared experiences. She gave me vivacity and hunger for knowledge, a capacity to question things, enjoy life. I am always in awe of her great intelligence, which I had all to myself, and her spontaneity, which wouldn’t have worked the same way in the traditional family setting.
So, big up to single mums, let there be more positive writing about them, and instead of seeing it as a disadvantage, give them support to make it an inspiring and fun journey.