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Single autistic mother of three awesome autistic kids. These are my anonymous ramblings about life, love, parenting and the rest – emptying my head of the weird, the wonderful and the mundane. Hope you enjoy.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine's Day Eve lament

It's Valentine's Day eve and it occurred to me, as I was watching DS2s custard catapult across the room in a perfect arc from his spoon, that it's almost three years since I've been on a date.
I don't know why this reminded me, I've had some bad dates in my time, but no one has yet thrown food - in fact that would definitely have improved some of the duller ones. In not unrelated news, it's also about 3 weeks since I shaved my legs and about two days since I had a shower - it's half term, I'm allowed. I like to think that I do this because I don't have dates, rather than I don't have dates because I do this - trust me, no one ever looks at my legs, and I promise I'll shower before I leave the house, or when the kids start complaining I smell.

As avid followers will know, I'm all for the upside of parenting alone, so it's not something I really give much thought to. I was discussing my plan for waiting until the kids grew up and meeting someone in my retirement home, with my counsellor. Well, I say counsellor, because technically she is, but practically she's just someone I go and verbally blog at once a month, who prompts, supports and questions occasionally. This month she questioned. She was saying that eighteen years was a long time to go without an adult intimate relationship, and there are things - apart from the obvious - that I would get from that that you can't get from other relationships. She talked about finding parts of yourself in other people - no sniggering at the back there. Cheap innuendo aside, I do know what she means, but I do wonder whether I'm allowed to say, 'Do you know what? I think I've found enough of myself already - and it was incredibly tiring doing that, can I just leave the rest of myself undiscovered?'

I just don't think I'm very good at relationships, or friendships for that matter. I'm not sure I really understand people that well, I always have a sense that everyone else is playing some sort of game that I'm just never going to understand the rules of. Some of it's my fault though, I am pretty rubbish at keeping in touch with people these days, but with work, life and kids, I never seem to have the time.

I have lots of sort of friends, but no best friends, no one I feel really close to. Maybe I would if I made more effort, or had more time, but I always seem to lose friends after a while anyway. I lost the two women I would've called best friends in the break up with my ex - and I haven't really made any new ones since. Maybe it's hard to make new best friends once you're a mum.
There was one friend I made with a mum from pre-school, who was the closest thing I'd had to a best friend for a while. We used to go for coffee, chat all the time before and after dropping the kids off - even took the kids camping together one weekend. I was so pleased when she chose the same primary school as us - I even asked her and her partner to be Godparents to DS2, but she said she felt she couldn't - they were already godparents to another child and didn't feel they did that very well. Probably should've taken the hint at that point.
Anyway, she met another mum when her DD was doing her pre-reception term (she's a few months younger than DS1), and they were suddenly inseparable. I've never quite known why, and I've always felt a bit left out - I'd see her going for walks with this woman seemingly every day, but never having time for a coffee with me. It's not that she's unkind, she always brings me her DS's hand me downs for DS2, and she says hello and chats if she's near me in the playground, or we're walking the same way to town, but I get the sense she wouldn't ever really go out of her way to say hi. DS1 told me the families are off on holiday together this half term, and I felt a little pang of sadness. Sometime's I think though that couples find it easier to be friends with other couples - a single mum is a bit of a spare wheel - no one to share the load with, no one to do the male bonding thing while the girls chat. Do you know what I mean?
Still, on the positive side the demise of the friendship has meant I've neatly avoided potentially awkward parenting conversations and playdates - her DD has been a manipulative, lying, and on occasion violent little cow to DS1 since joining his class last year, so perhaps it's all for the best.

So, if I can't even manage a platonic friendship with a woman, I'm not sure there's much hope for me with men. Besides, I have terrible taste in men, and I'm not sure it's improved in three years of not dating. I tested this theory recently, I went on a Speed Awareness Course (and here's a tip if you want to avoid one: if the turbo on your car's just been fixed, it might suddenly be going faster than you think it is - who knew??). Sadly, I was actually looking forward to this course - how lame is that? - because, lets face it, as a self-employed, working from home, single, school-run mum, I don't get to see a lot of men, let alone have a chance to speak to any - so here was an opportunity not to be missed.
I stood in the waiting area assessing any potential prospects and, having chosen, when we went into the room, I sat myself next to the man I thought most attractive - nothing ventured, nothing gained, I thought.  As the four hours progressed, it became blindingly obvious - not only to me, but to the rest of the assembled, slightly guilt ridden, attendees - that this man was, without doubt, the biggest twat in the room. He was arrogant, opinionated, and generally thought he knew better than everyone else about everything. Which could pretty much describe most of my ex's. See? This is why it would be irresponsible of me to inflict my appalling taste in men on my children.

My ability to single out arseholes aside, it would be nice though, just to go out on a date, just to remember what it's like to talk to a member of the opposite sex, to flirt - I'm not sure I know how to any more, I wonder if there are exercises you can do to get in to practice - any suggestions? The only men I ever speak to, or indeed know, are the school run dads and my guitar teacher - all of them very married - so not only have I not been on a date in years, I haven't even spoken to any single men in years.

I should probably do something about it.

I'm sure it would be good for me.

On the other hand, there's washing to hang out and ANTM, Glee and House to watch - all of which involve much less effort and body hair removal.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!


  1. Happy Valentines Day! Your post made me laugh and feel sad all at the same time.
    When I was single, I did feel left out by couples sometimes. I'm not the best for "deep friendships" either. I know it's trite to say, but have you tried meeting other single parents? My brother is a single parent (in Ireland so can't set you up ha ha) but found "meet-up" groups of separated/divorced parents brilliant.

  2. Thanks Rach - glad it's not just me! I did think about single parents groups, but the joys of a rural location mean there aren't any single parent groups within about an hour's drive - not very practical! Glad you liked the post x