Growing up with a single mum is a bit different to having two parents - and not just because there's one less person in the house.
But it's also amazing, and ahead of Mother's Day we're raising a glass to all the single mothers. Here's six things you only know if she brought you up by herself...
1. It's always OK to talk - at length and openly - about periods. Yours, specifically. You're having the worst time. No-one has periods like you. Your flow's all messed up. The consistency is weird. Stupid sanitary towels feel like nappies. Tampons make you nauseous. It's full disclosure all the time and no one's there to make you feel like maybe you shouldn't be talking about menstruation. I could literally write a book about my mother and sister's periods.
2. Your achievements are actually hers. She owns them fairly aggressively, and frequently send you links to newspaper articles about how all success is a result of having an amazing mother. Yes, you may have been the one who worked 24/7 to get that first class degree but she a) worked a million jobs to keep you looking as good as two-parent kids and b) single-handedly made you think you could do everything you've done in the first place.
3. Your family's own micro-culture is kind of weird - usually weirder than your two-parent pals'. Why? Because your mum made the rules and didn't have to consult anyone in the process. Basically, you grew up in her head. I didn't try steak until I was in my twenties and was the only pre-teen I knew obsessed with cross-stitching. We had cheese on toast for Sunday dinner, quinoa before it was fashionable and carrots in everything. I didn't realise this was weird until my husband refused to eat my spaghetti bolognese on the grounds it tasted of nothing else.
4. You're completely unprepared for not being able to watch exactly what you want on TV. Two-parented friends used to complain of sitting through hours of Bullseye, football, rugby and cricket. Their dads always had the best seat for telly-watching and never relinquished the remote. Meanwhile, round mine we were all obsessed with Kevin Costner and spent a lot of time glued to Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves. When my stepdad came along demanding to watch the Tour De France, it was basically the end of days.
5. You shared all the highs and lows. When there was no money, it was stressful and you looked at each other with worried faces. "How will we pay the bills?" you wondered aloud rhetorically, wringing your hands like a child sized Deirdre Barlow. But when things were good, they were amazing. Incredible, actually. You were on top of the world together, triumphing despite adversity, eating chocolate buttons on the couch like smug sugar-high cats.
6. You don't need a guy to make everything brilliant. You never even really missed your dad because your mum was so great. There was no hole, no feeling like something was missing. It might have been a bit different to how your friends grew up, but in your eyes it was kind of perfect.
This article was originally published on HuffPost UK sister site MyDaily.
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