09/10/2012 16:08 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Semi-Detached Parent: The Positives Of Single Parenting

Cleaning the loo PA

I have decided there are some very positive skills and traits that my son has developed due entirely to now being raised in a single-parent family. (This is amazing, given that usually I am despairing and wringing my hands over the life of crime and life-long psychological problems certain elements of the press and society constantly try to convince me he will grow up with.)

One of the most positive - from my point of view and surely from that of any significant female who enters his life in the future - is that I have swiftly eradicated the weeing on the toilet seat phenomena. Phenomena because when we lived as part of a two-parent family, it could never be ascertained who was responsible for the omnipresent dribbles on the porcelain.

Once I was under no doubt any spillages could only now be the work of the small boy of the house, measures were taken to stop the problem. Namely a cleaning cloth and a bottle of disinfectant. And it is amazing how much care is taken not to 'spray' when one has to clean up one's own wee.

Also, he now knows that I no longer tolerate the back of the sofa being used as a storage solution for socks. He, just like his father before him, has some in-built response unit which makes him remove his socks the moment he crosses the threshold into the sitting room. Regardless of the time of day, the season, or the temperature, the socks will come off.

Prior to being a single parent, a routine part of my housekeeping would be collecting socks from under the sofa cushions and under the sofa itself. Or pulling them out of the Hoover tube as they got sucked up unnoticed from dark corners of the living room.

The stray-socks-in-sitting-room rate halved with my ex's departure, and now, unable to use the 'well daddy does it' excuse, or even 'they are daddy's SMALL socks' my son is gradually being weaned off sofa based sock discarding too – helped along by the ritual humiliation I impose whenever finding one when a visitor is present - namely hammy nose holding and proclamations about Gorgonzola and my son's personal hygiene.


Thirdly, and possibly the most important skill he has learned from living in a single parent household is this: he knows that mummies are sometimes in Very Bad Moods for no apparent reason. He always knew this, of course, but now there is one around to tell him 'your mother is mad', he just accepts it as normal.


So, when, at certain times of the month I shriek and wail like a banshee because a pigeon dared to sit on the washing line three feet from a clean sheet, or sit on the stairs emitting sobs of absolute despair over a single dropped grape, he just accepts this as something mummy does every four weeks or so, and that it's best to just ignore it or keep out of her way - but NEVER comment on it or liken it to madness, harpy style behaviour or 'being just your mother'.

Three life-skills which I reckon will put him in good stead in his own future relationships, and all thanks to being raised in a single parent household.

So sometimes, this way of life IS a good thing...