Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Unashamed Under Six

My son has a superb knack of delivering cringe-worthy one-liners in public. The kind where I'd dare not make eye contact with another adult for fear of judgement, or maybe because I can feel them smiling. Which would make me smile (or worse, laugh). Which would make my job of explaining his public faux pas to him even more difficult.

We were in the car he spotted a random black man walking his dog and exclaimed, "That must be Granddad!" Of course, this is my fault for not submitting him to enough cultural diversity. Thus followed an explanation of skin colour and the fact that there is more than one black man on the planet.

Messy boy covered in Vaseline
Vaseline. Everywhere.
Tonight he casually told me, "Mum, I've put toothpaste on my willy." Firstly, I thought, 'thank you for the information'. Secondly,  I was counting the seconds, waiting for the 'Aaargh it stings! Get it off! Get it off!" But, nothing....Luckily, toothpaste for children doesn't pack much of a punch when it comes to minty freshness. I calmly removed the tube from reach. I don't want another Vaseline incident. That was rubbed liberally all over his body, my floor, the doors, my walls, his bedsheets....and then he had the audacity to complain that he was 'too greasy to sleep'. One of his best bedtime excuses to date.

Now, the public declarations regarding the state of his privates or toilet functions? They're the most challenging. I took him to Legoland at the weekend. There was a particular ride he said he wanted to go on because it made his 'peanuts feel funny'. He sat in between a dad and a little girl. The dad must've cursed about his nether region, because my son was there, springing up and down, yelling at the top of his lungs "GONADS!!!" repeatedly. I was watching with my sister and a couple of parents who were giving me sideways glances. However, when I did get the chance to ask him what he had been yelling he innocently responded with, "Doughnuts". I'm not sure if that's much of an improvement.

In a pub recently was his finest moment (and my worst). He asked me how to spell 'or'. Little did I know that this was part of a longer word in relation to the drawing he had just finished:
"Here we go Mum! I've drawn a 'cock-or-too'!! And I've written 'cockortoo' here, see? Look, 'cock-or-too'."

Children will embarrass us. It's in their very nature, and I cannot wait to return the favour when he's a teenager. I now understand the devilish grin my mum would give me when she knew she was doing something that would embarrass me.

Tomorrow is his last day of his first year at school. I'm really pleased with his school report; he has exceeded expectations in over a third of the areas monitored. So although he may humiliate me at an opportune moment, I'm also incredibly proud of his development since the start of the school year. It's great to see the enthusiasm with which he'll express a new topic he has learnt that day.

Of course, the patience, attentiveness and guidance of the teachers and his one-to-one support assistants has been unparalleled. He's grown so much in the last few months and I can't wait for the growth (and embarrassments) waiting for me for the next year.

I would never want him to be reserved about speaking his mind, and I often believe he has a deeper insight on subjects than most adults. I only hope the time will come when I won't have to get into a deep discussion about the gender roles in reproduction when he blurts out, "I love Nick Fury, he's my baby-mumma".

Thursday, 16 July 2015

An open Letter to Discriminatory Recruiters and Employers

Dear Recruiter,

I am quite annoyed by your question regarding my son and I find it incredibly insulting. Your comment was demeaning to my professional expertise and belittles my incredible work ethic and experience, which has absolutely nothing to do with my ability to birth a child.

You have absolutely no right to ask about my family and 'how I will handle it'. I have been working full-time for years with a child, and guess what? I am a single mother too! It's illegal to discriminate on the grounds of sex. I am sure you wouldn't have asked a man with a child: "Is 'it' going to cause problems?"

I would formally like to withdraw my application from this role, and certainly do not wish to work for a company if this is their attitude.

I would also like to be removed from your database.

I suggest you consider a little more professionalism when speaking to hard working, intelligent, forward thinking candidates, and remember that this is the 21st century.

Please do not contact me again.

Regards,

Modern Single Mum

Friday, 5 June 2015

Are you a bunny boiler or a cheater?

My brain is in constant conflict with itself.

On the one hand I tell myself that I barely have the energy to flirt with guys because, lets face it, creating sexual tension without the guarantee of progressing is both exhausting and frustrating. On the other hand, I think it would be marginally nice to have someone to hug and to make fun of me a little.

There are immediate assumptions that are made when people hear that you are a single mother. It's a daily struggle trying to fight stereotypes. One of the reasons I've avoided dating sites over the last few months is due to a strong societal belief that as a single mother I must be absolutely desperate for sex. So I could lie on my dating profile and not mention the small dependant, but what does that say about my character to the serious guys who are looking for an actual relationship? The kind of attention I received from guys were a couple of sentences lacking substance, swiftly followed by an unsolicited photo of their abs or 'peanuts' (as my son calls it).

It's often assumed that I must have done something awful to be a single mum, and that I put myself in this position. I'm made to feel guilty or inadequate or 'damaged goods'. I refuse to be put into this stereotypical box. Yes I did, 'put myself in this position', thank you. But do you know about that decision or why I made it? No? So pipe down.

As one dating website 'hopeful' (Mr Disrespectful) so eloquently put it:

"Are you a bunny boiler, or a cheater? Because you can't look like that and be single, there must be a catch. Experience has taught me that women are always boiling on the edge of a personality disorder."

Mr Disrespectful was quickly blocked. This was the very first message from him. Some chat-up line! There are very few that break down my wall and get to really know the real and quirky side of me. How can a guy who knows nothing about the situation or relationship with my son's dad profess to know why I'm single? How does he dare think he has the right? It seems he must have been hurt badly and took his revenge by bitterly bashing any woman that would listen. Me? I'd rather have some friendly, flirty, no-pressure banter. Sad for him.

Why when someone asks if I'm single do they assume there's something wrong with me? There's nothing wrong with me. I've not met a man who meets my expectations, and to be honest, I don't feel a desperate need to. If someone awesome appears then great, but I don't feel like I'm missing my 'better half'. I am a whole complete person in my own right. And no, I'm not lonely at night because there are these handy things that some people have called 'friends', and they are very valuable to me.

I have a great full-time job, an energetic and challenging five year-old boy with additional needs and I'm studying for a degree. If you can find me a guy who is secure in themselves, willing to squeeze into that and can take each day as it comes without batting an eyelid, then that one right there will be the one who is truly worthy of my time.