I hate weekends. I suspect most single parents do.
Although mine are not a frenetic mishmash of handing over and receiving back tired and emotional children, dealing with missing bits of kit, left behind school books and whispered indiscretions about 'daddy's house', they are still hugely stressful – my son's father and I are separated but still live together, albeit leading totally separate lives.
Our weekends consist of constant clock watching, both of us eager for our allocated 'child' time, yet also determined the other parent should be 'doing their share'. And as such, weekends seem to teeter on the cusp of rows and disagreements.
I also hate the 'family time' associations of weekends. Whilst we're inextricably linked, we will never again attend a wedding or christening as a job lot.When my ex took our son to a wedding last year, seeing the pictures of my little boy enjoying himself with a group I had once been part of was heartbreaking.
Then there's all the 'weekendy' activities that highlight the loneliness of solo parenting – not having another grown up to share the fun of a Sunday morning trip to the park with, or do practical things like guard your deckchair whilst you nip to the loo at the beach. And at the end of the day, there's no one to curl up on the sofa with to talk about it all.
But toughest of all is knowing that from here on in it's either 'my' weekend or 'his' weekend...