31/08/2012 16:31 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: The Harder I Try...

The Semi-Detached Parent: The harder I try... Corbis

So, still fresh full of single-parent guilt that my child had missed a meal last week, I was doing my utmost to be a diligent, attentive, hands-on lone parent. I cooked FROM SCRATCH every night. I indulged him with lunches out, trips to not one, but TWO museums on a single day; and even allowed myself to be convinced that a pricey fleece lion suit onesie would be the perfect outfit for curling up on the sofa in now autumn is on its way.

In short, I have been going out of my way to be an adoring, model parent, rather than a harpy who shrieks in the garden at inanimate objects and riles herself into such a paddy she forgets to feed her child.

And it was all going so well until Sunday evening.

My son had been dispatched home after a night away at his father's house, and I set about cooking his dinner. Chopping, peeling, preparing. I dished it up, placed it on the dining room table, and left the room, telling him "I am just going to put the rubbish out – you stay in here with the dog because I am going to leave the front door open".

And I closed the door behind me, bagged up all the rubbish, and took it out, and then returned inside.

"You can open the door now, I've locked up," I called to my son from another room.

I heard the door moving about on its hinges and carried on tidying up and vacuuming.

A few minutes passed and I realised he had not appeared to demand his pudding.

"Have you finished your dinner?" I called through to the other room.

A tiny voice replied "Yes! But help! I'm stuck!"

Somehow, while I was busy doing housework, my child and dog had become locked in the dining room.

I raced to the back room and began a frantic shaking and twisting of the door knob. It yielded no results. It was barely turning. I asked on Twitter what I should do, and eventually unscrewed the handle. Still it would not budge. Then the bombshell statement came:door: "Mummy, I REALLY need a wee!"

The guilt really set in then. The doorknob had been a bit stiff for a while and looking at it (probably just that - looking at it) was on my mental to-do list

But at eight o'clock on a Sunday evening, there was only one thing for it. I dialled 999 - feeling more and more foolish with every nine I pressed - and full of apologies, requested the fire brigade attend.

The crew – I think I counted six – were there in minutes, and soon had son and puppy out after jemmying the door open (while I winced at the thought of MORE expensive and MORE bits of my falling-down house to repair).

Son, so relieved to be free promptly fell over a chair and whacked his knee so hard he now sports a five inch bruise down his shin. The dog did a wee of excitement on the floor.


So that's what happens when I try really hard to be the perfect single-parent: the emergency services get involved, bits of my home get destroyed, my dog forgets she's house-trained, and my son ends up traumatised and bruised...


On the bright side, it's not every day I get such fine specimens of manliness huddled in my hallway.

My next challenge will be trying to fit a replacement door knob...

Can you beat this parenting fail?