Don’t fuck it up

TLDR: single parenting / step-parenting / blended families is a fuck load of effort (I assume) so choose your sperm provider wisely.

Many months after declaring my social media addiction over I have decided acceptance is best. I am too heavily invested in the lives of strangers from the Internet. I will instead add to the time spent on my phone by ranting about them, the healthiest way to spend time.

Instagram is obviously my main thing because the influences have got me hooked. @mre.souer has 45k followers and a clothing range which isn’t Sainsbury’s sale and is therefore too cool for me. At some point she started dating someone and this triggered a stranger (who I can only assume is a genuine stalker) to message her saying she was ’embarrassing herself’ for calling herself a single mum online and then dating someone in real life.

This triggered a debate about when you stop being a single mum. Obviously every sane person agreed that shagging someone and going out for dinner is not the equivalent of your child’s biological father living with you and sharing the practical / mental / financial load.

Now there is always the odd knobhead popping up saying they consider themselves single parents even though they are married and living with the dad as he doesn’t help. Yes this is a twatty situation but unless you pay for everything and do every single thing in that household and for those children then no it isn’t the same. And if you are doing all of those things the only sensible choices are to kick him out or shut up whinging to genuine single mums (strong emphasis on the first option).

After that there seems to be a grey area of confusion. Is it when you are in an established relationship (when even is that?)? When you cohabit? When you cohabit and they help out like a biological dad would?

In my opinion it is never. Once a single parent always a single parent. Unless you are in a situation where the biological dad was never present / abandons legal responsibility and the step dad adopts, I can’t imagine that is a huge proportion.

And this isn’t driven by my desire to be a martyr or a desire to claim lifelong whinge points, but rather a healthy level of pessimism about step-parent families.

Hanging out with your ex

Assuming you cohabit with the most child-friendly, desperate to be a step-parent, person possible you still have to navigate a co-parenting relationship with the child’s biological parent.

You still probably have the logistics, negotiation and all round hassle of shared custody and missed Christmases. But you also get the awkwardness of your ex regularly seeing your current partner and/or you seeing your ex’s partner. A particular kind of small talk hell the nuclear families will never know.

Children are dickheads

Even an enthusiastic partner is still definitely not a biological parent. That step child didn’t know them from day one, they’ve seen the evil step parent fairytale, they can throw out the ‘you’re not my parent’ line on a whim.

Even if the child likes that person my guess is that no kid ever goes for a step parent when they wake from a nightmare, the step parent doesn’t take the day off work when fever hits and they probably aren’t stressing about nursery drop off hours or vitamin intake.

I also think there is something about being that child’s parent and watching them grow from a tiny baby that gives you a whole other level of patience that a new partner on the scene is not going to benefit from. Toddlers are unique twats. There is no logic, no persuasive skills on earth that can tempt them out of the worst tantrums.

Parents are somewhat blinded by love, and the sensible ones are also playing the long game. You don’t want to be a ‘naughty step’ dictator or send them to their room too hastily and give them abandonment issues in later life. You don’t want to make bribes a regular thing or you will end up with a teenager who requires a cash offer in order to get out of bed on time. The end goal is to raise a decent human being and if they push you to the point of insanity some days that’s the price we pay.

Would someone who isn’t lifelong connected to that small person, who isn’t blinded by an unconditional bond going to be quite so chill? I find staying calm during the worst times beyond testing and she is my daughter. Absolutely no criticism given to anyone who realises they are not equipped to deal with high stress situations with another person’s child.

Part of me also thinks it is the sensible / only reasonable option. As a biological parent you can be the bad guy, lay down the law with your kids and still be loved at the end of the day because you are their mum or dad. Is a new person on the scene going to be forgiven quite so easily by a grumpy child? I feel like it could easily be added to a list of resentment that won’t end well.

Financial nightmare

Here’s what happens when you date in your twenties, find a person, pool your little bit of savings until you can buy a house together, potentially get married, have a baby together. They probably earn similar before having a baby, they probably put the same into the house – even if they didn’t, the plan is to die together so who cares. Maybe one person earns less after babies and part time work but they are raising that other persons child so they balance it out so they are as well off as each other.

Here’s what happens when you date in your thirties. Most people have children: different amounts of children, children of different ages, children costing wildly different amounts of either child maintenance or direct expense. The person you date probably owns a home, they may have hugely different equity to you. As you’ve had more time for careers to progress (or be delayed by pregnancies) you’ve got more chance of big disparities in income. You’ve got more chance someone got stung in a divorce.

How do you even work out what is right or fair in that big mess? I don’t know.

Fuck off

The woman criticising mre.souer for calling herself a single mum when she’d started dating someone can fuck right off.

I think this riled me up so much because I do like my single mum badge. I am proud to be a single mum because it means I do most of everything. Right now other than a Sunday daytime I am responsible for all of everything (excluding childcare hours when I’m working and THANK GOD FOR CHILDCARE).

I know this long rant doesn’t fit most people’s definition of a single mum, and yes if you cohabit with someone it does make life easier. Cohabiting couples (you’d bloody hope) share out housework and running costs of the house.

However it is in no way the same easy division of work and sharing of the emotional load that comes with being in a nuclear family.

As a person who is disproportionately obsessed with the world being fair I find this hard to come to terms with. Because I had a child with the wrong person my life will, in many ways, always be harder as a result.

So to state the obvious, when you are deciding who to procreate with : don’t fuck it up.

Tinder, gone but not forgotten

I deleted tinder this week 🎉

Not actually a big deal, I could technically start again in ten minutes. Admittedly a minor faff to scroll through my gallery and find photos without a toddler photobombing but I’m ready to make that commitment. It does delete all conversations and matches, so if I get dumped I will have to start fresh…but that is definitely no hardship. It is probably a bit weird to pop up in someone’s DMs after 9 months like ‘hey…so I’m single and can’t be bothered swiping again, how about it? 🙋🏼‍♀️’.

Note that I put ‘if I get dumped’. Partially because I’m a bit of a pessimist and always half feel like I could get surprise dumped out of nowhere any minute. And also because I’m aware quitting things is not my strong point.

I remember one metaphor where someone was trying to justify their cheating by saying some people get off the sinking ship early doors and hop on the little dingy and have a shit time in the cold for bit – other people wait for a better ship to come by and jump straight over.

And there are people like me…

(to any non-Titanic fans, this is me going down with the ship)

Continue reading “Tinder, gone but not forgotten”

What a dickhead

No I’m not talking about a toddler (or ex) here.

But I’ve had this massive dickhead somehow get into my head and all he (I’m making it a man, obviously) says is:

‘you’re not good at anything’

‘you’re not good at anything’

I’m not sure how he gained access. I’m not hormonal, I’m no more tired than usual, no one has been mean to me and yet here my unwelcome lodger is.

Fuck you men

Obviously theory one is going to be thrown at men. But not in the men are shit way I normally like to joke about. In the I’m dating someone who is good at everything way. He is an actual, genuine, proper adult. Whereas I can’t even buy lightbulbs properly. Rather than thinking it is nice to be dating someone who is intelligent it just makes me aware of everything I don’t know (a lot), and all the things I’m shit at (pretty much everything). And then I jump on the negative thought train and things spiral and I start acting like a weirdo which is less than ideal.

Maybe I’m the fuck up

Theory two kind of suggests that this dickhead isn’t in fact a dickhead but a fact teller. I keep fucking up. Multiple times I have forgotten to put my handbreak on and rather than thinking, fuck I forgot my handbreak, I sat in a confused gaze wondering how the world is moving away from my car and what has happened to my eyesight. I smashed a glass last night, I spill drinks on a daily basis and my ability to remember a password is laughable. I have three debit / credit cards on rotation (plus cash reserves) as normally at least one is missing.

Whilst these things can be acceptable, or even endearing if you are Zooey Deschanel type with other skills. However I can’t counter act my deficiencies with… incredible cake baking skills (?) I’m not actually sure what makes up for the above. What I do know is that if someone asked me what I’m good at I would answer…uh…um…modesty?

Or it is that toddlers fuck you up

My back up scape goat after men, toddlers. Because what’s the point in becoming a parent if you can’t blame crap on your child.

I know that one of the things I would like to say I’m good at is parenting. But after the absolute fiasco that was shoe shopping in Clarks today (among many many other things) I’m backing away from that one. And although Emily isn’t asking questions yet I’m somewhat bracing myself for all the questions that she will ask that I know zero about. My science knowledge is zero, I know the name of only one dinosaur – I’ve no idea what children want the answers to but I’m guessing plenty of stuff I have no idea about. And if I did once know then I’ve probably forgotten due to sleep deprivation. Lose lose.

The antidote

Haha…obviously I don’t know the solution. That’s what the whole post is about, how useless I am.

I do however love a good moan so today I’ve whinged to my dad and one of my WhatsApp groups. Whilst my wonderful ego flattering school friends did a fabulous job, my inner dickhead could think of a counter argument to everything (cunt).

As my solution to everything is reading, I’m going to try to read my way out of this one. Even if it is unsuccessful at least it is a distraction that may get me out of this funk.

I’m thinking The Chimp Paradox may be relevant, but I also think it could be patronising corporate bullshit which will piss me off.

Potentially The Comparison Cure, however I think this may be less relevant and just something I want to read because Instagram told me to.

So I’d really appreciate any good recommendations for self help books / blogs / other to evict the dickhead. Thanks.

Stuff men say

So I found a tall, Welsh, bearded rugby player on Bumble 👍🏻

They have question prompts on Bumble profiles and everyone is so bloody predictable:

Mountains or Beach?

Why do I have to choose, I pick both!

Yawn.

Bearded dragon however:

How did your year five teacher describe you?

A great shag.

Funny. Creepy but funny.

However he then followed it up with:

How would your mum describe you?

Also a great shag.

Actual lol.

I obviously messaged him on his excellent taste in jokes and he said I was the first one to notice….how so?! I’m clearly the only creepy lady on Bumble.

So I shared this with a colleague and one of his friends used to use the ‘chat up line’ :

I want to drink your dirty bath water

What the actual fuck?! I like creepiness but I think this is other level. The worse thing is that it sometimes worked 😱

Then there are the direct guys…one man wrote

I’m into push the thong to the side and straight in sex

He wrote this on his profile!

It’s a bit explicit but personally I would rather read that than this which is disappointingly common:

☑️ 6 foot tall (apparently that’s important)

☑️ Own house

☑️ Own car

☑️ Own teeth

☑️ No crazy ex

Which I find INSULTING TO WOMEN. Like that’s all we want. No need to tell me about what you’re interested in, what your personality is like. We just want very basic things, but obviously the hilarious joke about teeth makes it ok.

And then there are the cunts:

Looking for a women who knows how to look after herself

I mean… I know how to look after myself. I’m good at me time. I read, I buy myself donuts, I take naps. But I suspect ‘look after herself’ means ‘is skinny and waxed’.

And then the downright twatty:

Don’t swipe right if you’re punching above your weight

😒

Anyway, baby is awake so rant over for today

Bumbler

(NB : I’m very sorry if this hits your email. It’s entirely not relevant to May 2020. I wish I could work technology so you don’t get this spam. I can however confirm that the date was acceptable enough for some Sunday afternoon company for a few months until I found the guy I’m dating now)

Original July 2019 blog:

So Rita told me it would be good to wait at least nine months until I start dating again. This is very sensible. If you aren’t fully happy being single you may end up with someone who isn’t right for you just to avoid being alone, which is obviously not ideal.

Not to mention the sting of rejection, potential lowering of standards etc.

Then I read The Unexpected Joys of Being Single and thought yes this is totally fine. I will absolutely be single and happy.

Then I watched Katherine Ryan’s the Glitter Room and she pursuaded me being single is the actual best way to be:

‘I’m not lonely when I’m alone because I get to hang out with meeeee’

So true Katherine.

I was single and proud.

…but then I got inquisitive.

Sometimes I browse ASOS and don’t buy. Sometimes I buy and return. There is no commitment here. Just because I am purchasing, collecting and returning doesn’t mean I am SHOPPING.

Just like downloading Bumble, swiping around and messaging men isn’t technically DATING. However now I kind of want to meet people for drinks (and maybe more) but I’m not sure how I can sell that to myself as not dating.

I’m not six months in yet so maybe my maths needs work. Part of me is thinking sooo…this is a bad idea yes?? And the other is like MEN and maybe even ALCOHOL there are no downsides here! (I know there are potentially many many downsides but you will need to humour me).

Now on the basis that I am super nosy and would like to see other people’s profiles I thought I would show mine below. The unwritten rule is that photos are from the last year or maybe two. Now I have spent the last year or two either pregnant or with a baby on me in every photo so I had to be ‘flexible’ on this. My profile picture was pre wedding which I thought was quite a massive cheat (three years, oops). However, I still fit in those clothes, I still have that hairstyle, I checked with friends I still look like that and although my face may be a little wrinklier now I don’t think you could tell from a full shot with glasses in the way anyway. So I feel almost totally justified in this and only slightly guilty of miss-selling.

(also can you see the dumbell symbol where I put ‘sometimes’. lol.)

S

Two of the photos were taken a few days before I got my account so I feel that balances out the older ones…and it’s not like someone would meet me and not recognise me. However it did make me realise how boring I am, I am 99% dressed in a striped blue top and skinny jeans.

So I’ve been chatting to lots of men. I even got asked out a few times, but I wasn’t into them enough for all the hassle that meeting someone requires so I didn’t message back. Which I know is twatty but I think standard procedure? Then a fourth guy asked me out and he looked OK. We hadn’t chatted much (so no opportunity to drop the I have a child thing into conversation) so I said yes let’s meet up in the same message as mentioning I have a child. No response. Nevermind…you win some you lose some.

However the next day I was back in the game, I’m now trying to organise a date (which involves lots of logistics) with someone. I don’t even know how many messages we’ve sent back and forth so maybe when we meet there will be nothing left to talk about. But I’m hoping that I will have coordinated it so that I can have a few drinks. So even if I don’t get on that well with them then it’s an afternoon or evening with alcohol and no baby to worry about WIN and WIN.

So if I can ever get a weekend day when my dad is free to take the baby and I am free and the guy is free then I shall absolutely update the Internet as to how it went.

What kind of ‘Attached’ are you?

NB : The photo has nothing to do with the article. I searched ‘Mental Health’ in the WordPress gallery and this inexplicably came up and I liked it.

One of my close friends is like a self help / psychology / counselling book expert now. She mentioned the theory of attachment styles to me and it really helped to contextualise what happened in my relationship and what I need to look for in future.

Also if you have dated an Anxiously Attached / Avoidant Attached person before this may help you to get your head around their behaviour and realise that old cliche might be true (it’s not you, it’s them).

So anyway here are the three attachment styles:

  • Secure attached. You’re normal. Well done. 50% of the population are secure attached. My very bad summary is that you don’t have any weird issues in relationships. You don’t push people away for no reason, you don’t cling to them desperately and need unnecessary reassurance. You’re not bad, you.
  • Anxious attached. You’re a bit annoying. You are 20% of people. Sorry but you are. You might be paranoid if your partner comes home late. You might need them to repeatedly tell you they love you or you freak out. I’ll bet you’re a proper diva come valentines day. You’re a bit tiring to be with.
  • Avoidant attached. Ooph you’re a frustrating one. You are 25% of people. Do you like to ghost people? I bet you freak out about the prospect of the words ’till death do us part’. Do your eyes drift to your phone if your partner says they need to talk to you about something? I think you could drive people crazy.
  • Avoidant and Attached. Jesus Christ. You are 5% of people. Please don’t date me.

I’ve read the (sample of the) book on this called Attached: Identity your attachment style and find your perfect match available here. But to be honest…it’s a bit long.

I find quizzes are a bit more fun so I suggest using this site which is by the woman who wrote The Unexpected Joys of Being Single (really good). And there is a real life example using 500 Days of Summer.

So I did the quiz and got a high score on Secure Attached, a really low score on Anxious Attached and nothing on Avoidant Attached. So as I’m a top class kind of girl to be attaching onto I’m not arsed to read the big long attachment book. But if you score high on Anxious or Avoidant you might want to have a look as it provides strategies to become more Secure Attached.

But anyway, click on the quiz link!! Quizzes are fun and she goes in way more detail on Attachement styles than I can be arsed with. Here’s that link again so go click on it why don’t ya.