26/03/2013 18:10 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Single Parent: Gifts For Single Parents - Er, Really?

What single parents REALLY want for Christmas Rex

My son keeps asking me what I want for Christmas. This is problematic because a) whatever he 'buys' me his dad will have to pay for and b) because whatever I say (ooh, chocolate, some bubble bath/some other low value gift to avoid embarrassment), I will actually end up with an iTunes voucher. Which is EXCELLENT, but obviously I cannot ASK for that because it will then ruin the 'surprise' come Christmas morning. Sigh.

But thinking about this, I wondered, what DO single mums really want for Christmas? Well, in reality the same as any other woman I guess; something she wouldn't buy for herself, and that is thoughtful, targeted and given with love.

But believe it or not, a quick Google for Gifts for Single Mums does actually produce results... Gird your Christmas lists and grit your teeth, as I reveal some of the Christmas crackers that single mums will apparently love to receive according to guides I found online.

First up, many mentions of spa packages with crèche facilities. Er, yes, because it is SO easy to relax while someone is loading your back up with hot stones when you can hear wails from three corridors away that are almost certainly coming from your child. No thanks. A bottle of Radox and a subscription to Heat would be a better alternative.

Next up, a mother and child pendant. Yes, that crime against jewellery was really on a single parents' gift guide. Because of course you need a constant reminder, around your neck in the manner of a ball of chain, that you are a MUM, don't you? The pounding headache and 53-hour long days aren't quite enough of an aide-mémoire, are they? And really, why would you want, say, a bottle of champagne and a family pack of Maltesers to chow down on on the sofa once your offspring is in bed when you can have a pendant to gaze at instead? Hmm?

Then, best of all, I found one article which recommended a 'kitchen gadget to make life easier'. Yes, because single-parent life would just be a bowl of sugar topped cherries if ONLY all us lone mums and dads had access to the latest cheese grater, lentil weaver or elbow length oven mitt as used by the Fire Service. Grr!

Also listed (often) were various books on single parenting. Of course! Such a cheery Christmas read, wallowing in the depths of someone else's break up. Or taking inspiration from their 'top tips'. Why sit in front of the Christmas edition of Dr Who with a tin of Quality Street on your lap when you can sob into Single Sarah's Misery Memoir of beatings and abandonment before adopting her five-step-plan for successful singledom?

There were more, many more of the same ilk, but to save my keyboard from further pounding, I'll skip straight to my own (slightly more realistic) Single Mums' Christmas List just in case Father Christmas happens to be reading:

  • Wine. Lots of it.

  • Chocolate. Lots of it.

  • Someone reliable who can help out (don't care who or what. Could even be a highly trained chimp or a robot).

  • Cloning kit (two of me is what I really need).

  • How to Decipher Your Child's Math's Homework for Dummies book.

  • A watch that pauses time. Ditto a calendar.

  • A device that lowers my ceilings so I can replace my own lightbulbs without having to ask a neighbour.

  • A car that changes its own oil/bulbs/has self-inflating tyres.

  • A subscription to Geoff Capes Lifting and Moving of Heavy Stuff service.

  • A chill-out pod that I am automatically transported to every time a text/email/other communication arrives from my ex.

  • More wine.

(I asked a single dad pal what was on his list: "Sweets and sweets," he said, adding "and more sweets, oh, and some marzipan fruits". Men are just so less complicated, aren't they?)

What would YOU wish for as a single parent?