29/06/2011 20:26 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: In Praise Of Living Without A Man


So an acquaintance told me last week she 'felt sorry' for single parents. 'It must be so awful not having anyone to share stuff with,' she mused, 'I don't know what I'd do without my hubby on a practical level, either. I mean, who would do all the DIY stuff?'

Ugh. Her statement made me want to slap her about the head with a fish for two reasons:

1) The word 'hubby' makes me want to commit crimes regardless of the context.

2) Single parenting is not a sorry state. And for most people the phrase is a total misnomer. My son has a mum and dad and we both parent him. I am just the primary carer. But anyway, it got me thinking about all the positives of being a single parent, or, more specifically, living without a man having had to put up with one previously.

Here's what I came up with:

I can use my shoes as 'art' and leave them on prominent display around the house.

I can buy as many cushions as I want and cover the entire sofa with them, three foot high.

I can burn scented candles without being told the house smells like 'old ladies'.

I can fill the bathroom with gorgeous bath products and all my make up.

Ditto my bedroom.

I can sleep like a starfish and not be prodded all night and woken up to 'shift over'.

I can have the central heating on full pelt even if it IS May because cold days do exist outside of January.

I can go wherever I like on holiday AND look in all the shops.

I can do Wii Fit or an exercise DVD in the sitting room without a running commentary on the size of my backside or the fact I am out of sync with the person on the telly.

I can eat the same meal every night if I want to, and fill the fridge with practical things like Champagne and nail varnish without causing other members of the household to have apoplectic fits.

I can put my son to bed at 10 minutes past his bedtime without being nagged about upsetting his routine.

On special occasions (like Saturdays) my son and I can eat chocolate for breakfast and not get Disapproving Looks.

I can do all the washing with 'girly' washing powder and fabric softener which smells of flowers.

I can watch TV/listen to the radio without having someone SHOUT their opinions over the broadcaster.

I can drink wine in the evening without being reminded 'that's the third bottle this week'.

And yes, smug happily married wifey woman, all those things really do make the fact I don't have someone to mow the lawn for me, or to snuggle up with on the (multi cushioned) sofa more than bearable.

So, single parent comrades, what would make it on to your list of positives?