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Lone Parent? Nope!

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I don’t know why, but birthdays always turn me into a reflective, soppy twat. My daughter Sophia turned 6 recently and this birthday marks the fact I’ve now parented her alone for longer than I’ve not.

I’m not hugely comfortable with saying I parent her alone. I’m not a ’lone parent’ in the way that I am the one and only parent who does ’parenty’ things, because I’m not. I live alone, so when she’s with me, yes I’m a lone parent. As well as holding down a job, I do everything you could possibly think of, school runs, packed lunches, bath

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and bedtime routine, stumbling around like Mr Blobby after one too many shandies at 4am when she’s ill and calls out for me, answering four million questions on why Wednesday comes after Tuesday and who decided it would be that way (I don’t know, I’ll never know)… I’m quite often exhausted, but I don’t do that 24/7.

As well as being with me, my little chatterbox spend time at her Dad’s. We share. I’m pretty sure most parents wouldn’t choose this, I can’t imagine anyone stares at their screaming, gunky and red newborn (I’m guessing at this

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after watching One Born Every Minute, because I didn’t see Soph until she’d been assessed and dressed, and as she’d been out a while she was quite presentable and chilled), and thinks ”yeah, I’ll give it a couple of years then go it alone. Seems easy”. However, I reckon I’ve got co-parenting nailed.

I hate public swimming pools, so Sophia’s Dad has taught her to swim, to which I’m hugely grateful. I, on the other hand, got the opportunity to teach her how to ride a bike. I shit you not, that was the most painful couple of weeks. She could

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ride into the only goal post in a 7 acre field. She found every dip in the ground. When we decided to brave the pavements and go a little further than the park, she’d lose her balance riding past every single lamppost. It felt like I spent the entire summer running behind her and grabbing her before she went arse over head into a hedge, however the sense of pride I felt when she could do it was immense. I did that, I taught her that.

Although sharing time is working and she’s well adjusted, there are downsides. So far, Soph’s lost three teeth – all

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lost while with her Dad, I’ve never been there to witness it. I try and do everything I can for her, days out and lots of fun experiences, but there are things I can’t manage on my own yet. We’ve done caravan holidays just us two but I’ve not braved another country. You need two adults to draw straws on who has to play catch in the pool verses who can sit and sunbathe, and I’ve touched upon my dislike of pools. Unless I can literally just float around in it. This year, Soph’s Dad and his girlfriend took our daughter abroad on holiday, which brings
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me neatly to Soph’s step-mum…

I love her. Didn’t expect me to say that did you?! The first time I met her, I’d (unfortunately) been yelling at my now ex-husband over a misunderstanding. I’m hot headed, and I was angry, and the poor girl saw me LOSE MY SHIT, then had the bollocks to come and smooth the scenario over. Since then, we’ve been allies. The three of us co-ordinate our daughter’s birthday parties and plans, and we all attend. I want her there. Why?…

Because the hardest part of being a parent who has to co-parent, is worrying

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about your child when you’re not around. I know she’s safe and happy with her Dad, but we have different roles. If she fell and hurt herself, would he know when she needed comforting or a bit of tough love? Would he tell her off if she’s being an absolute arsehole or let her off because he doesn’t get to see her a lot? I don’t worry about those things now that her step-mum is around. I know without a shadow of a doubt that she loves my daughter as if she were her own. She works with me to parent Soph and listens to what I ask. I know she’ll cuddle
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her and tie her hair up. She gives up a weeks annual leave to take my daughter on holiday instead of enjoying child free time, then thanks me for allowing it. My daughter adores her. And as we’re being honest here… I don’t know if I could do the same. Could I embrace an utterly mouthy and frequently stroppy 6 year old in the way she has done? I don’t know…

What I do know is, I don’t parent alone. I’m not a lone parent, I just live alone with my little lady. There are three of us in the mix shaping this little girl, and although I will always

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be her Mum, she has a pretty good understudy for when I can’t be there to do so. Sophia sees us as a team. What more could I ask for?
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Zoe Freestone

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- 6 Jan 19

I don’t know why, but birthdays always turn me into a reflective, soppy twat. My daughter Sophia turned 6 recently and this birthday marks the fact I’ve now parented her alone for longer than I’ve not.

I’m not hugely comfortable with saying I parent her alone. I’m not a ‘lone parent’ in the way that I am the one and only parent who does ‘parenty’ things, because I’m not. I live alone, so when she’s with me, yes I’m a lone parent. As well as holding down a job, I do everything you could possibly think of, school runs, packed lunches, bath and bedtime routine, stumbling around like Mr Blobby after one too many shandies at 4am when she’s ill and calls out for me, answering four million questions on why Wednesday comes after Tuesday and who decided it would be that way (I don’t know, I’ll never know)… I’m quite often exhausted, but I don’t do that 24/7.

As well as being with me, my little chatterbox spend time at her Dad’s. We share. I’m pretty sure most parents wouldn’t choose this, I can’t imagine anyone stares at their screaming, gunky and red newborn (I’m guessing at this after watching One Born Every Minute, because I didn’t see Soph until she’d been assessed and dressed, and as she’d been out a while she was quite presentable and chilled), and thinks “yeah, I’ll give it a couple of years then go it alone. Seems easy”. However, I reckon I’ve got co-parenting nailed.

I hate public swimming pools, so Sophia’s Dad has taught her to swim, to which I’m hugely grateful. I, on the other hand, got the opportunity to teach her how to ride a bike. I shit you not, that was the most painful couple of weeks. She could ride into the only goal post in a 7 acre field. She found every dip in the ground. When we decided to brave the pavements and go a little further than the park, she’d lose her balance riding past every single lamppost. It felt like I spent the entire summer running behind her and grabbing her before she went arse over head into a hedge, however the sense of pride I felt when she could do it was immense. I did that, I taught her that.

Although sharing time is working and she’s well adjusted, there are downsides. So far, Soph’s lost three teeth – all lost while with her Dad, I’ve never been there to witness it. I try and do everything I can for her, days out and lots of fun experiences, but there are things I can’t manage on my own yet. We’ve done caravan holidays just us two but I’ve not braved another country. You need two adults to draw straws on who has to play catch in the pool verses who can sit and sunbathe, and I’ve touched upon my dislike of pools. Unless I can literally just float around in it. This year, Soph’s Dad and his girlfriend took our daughter abroad on holiday, which brings me neatly to Soph’s step-mum…

I love her. Didn’t expect me to say that did you?! The first time I met her, I’d (unfortunately) been yelling at my now ex-husband over a misunderstanding. I’m hot headed, and I was angry, and the poor girl saw me LOSE MY SHIT, then had the bollocks to come and smooth the scenario over. Since then, we’ve been allies. The three of us co-ordinate our daughter’s birthday parties and plans, and we all attend. I want her there. Why?…

Because the hardest part of being a parent who has to co-parent, is worrying about your child when you’re not around. I know she’s safe and happy with her Dad, but we have different roles. If she fell and hurt herself, would he know when she needed comforting or a bit of tough love? Would he tell her off if she’s being an absolute arsehole or let her off because he doesn’t get to see her a lot? I don’t worry about those things now that her step-mum is around. I know without a shadow of a doubt that she loves my daughter as if she were her own. She works with me to parent Soph and listens to what I ask. I know she’ll cuddle her and tie her hair up. She gives up a weeks annual leave to take my daughter on holiday instead of enjoying child free time, then thanks me for allowing it. My daughter adores her. And as we’re being honest here… I don’t know if I could do the same. Could I embrace an utterly mouthy and frequently stroppy 6 year old in the way she has done? I don’t know…

What I do know is, I don’t parent alone. I’m not a lone parent, I just live alone with my little lady. There are three of us in the mix shaping this little girl, and although I will always be her Mum, she has a pretty good understudy for when I can’t be there to do so. Sophia sees us as a team. What more could I ask for?

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Zoe Freestone

Relatively new blogger and owner of Miss Thirty Something blog. Mum of one. Burger enthusiast. Former 'mood hoover'.

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