I have decided there are some very positive skills and traits that my son has developed due entirely to now being raised in a single-parent family
. (This is amazing, given that usually I am despairing and wringing my hands over the life of crime and life-long psychological problems certain elements of the press and society constantly try to convince me he will grow up with.)
One of the most positive - from my point of view and surely from that of any significant female who enters his life in the future - is that I have swiftly eradicated the weeing on the toilet seat phenomena. Phenomena because when we lived as part of a two-parent family, it could never be ascertained who was responsible for the omnipresent dribbles on the porcelain.
Once I was under no doubt any spillages could only now be the work of the small boy of the house, measures were taken to stop the problem. Namely a cleaning cloth and a bottle of disinfectant. And it is amazing how much care is taken not to 'spray' when one has to clean up one's own wee.
Also, he now knows that I no longer tolerate the back of the sofa being used as a storage solution for socks. He, just like his father before him, has some in-built response unit which makes him remove his socks the moment he crosses the threshold into the sitting room. Regardless of the time of day, the season, or the temperature, the socks will come off.
Prior to being a single parent, a routine part of my housekeeping would be collecting socks from under the sofa cushions and under the sofa itself. Or pulling them out of the Hoover tube as they got sucked up unnoticed from dark corners of the living room.
The stray-socks-in-sitting-room rate halved with my ex's departure, and now, unable to use the 'well daddy does it' excuse, or even 'they are daddy's SMALL socks' my son is gradually being weaned off sofa based sock discarding too – helped along by the ritual humiliation I impose whenever finding one when a visitor is present - namely hammy nose holding and proclamations about Gorgonzola and my son's personal hygiene.
Thirdly, and possibly the most important skill he has learned from living in a single parent household is this: he knows that mummies are sometimes in Very Bad Moods for no apparent reason. He always knew this, of course, but now there is one around to tell him 'your mother is mad', he just accepts it as normal.
So, when, at certain times of the month I shriek and wail like a banshee because a pigeon dared to sit on the washing line three feet from a clean sheet, or sit on the stairs emitting sobs of absolute despair over a single dropped grape, he just accepts this as something mummy does every four weeks or so, and that it's best to just ignore it or keep out of her way - but NEVER comment on it or liken it to madness, harpy style behaviour or 'being just your mother'.
Three life-skills which I reckon will put him in good stead in his own future relationships, and all thanks to being raised in a single parent household.
So sometimes, this way of life IS a good thing...
- Dannii Minogue and Kris Smith
Dannii and Kris, mum and dad to toddler Ethan, split in April 2012. Dannii announced the news on Twitter, saying: “It brings me great sadness to tell you that Kris and I have separated. We still care for each other and ask for privacy at this difficult time, in particular for our son Ethan who remains our number one priority.” The couple share custody of Ethan in Australia, and have maintained dignified silences since their announcement. </p>
- Chantelle Houghton and Alex Reid
Following sugar-sweet interviews in the celeb mags, and family photos with <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/07/17/chantelle-houghton-shows-off-baby-daughter-but-the-little-girl-still-no-name/" target="_blank">new baby Dolly,</a> Chantelle and Alex split just a few months after becoming first-time parents. And they didn’t do it quietly. Slanging matches in the press, Twitter spats and TV appearances with tears aplenty followed their announcement, and they are still not talking (unless you count through their respective magazine deals…).</p>
- Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis
Hollywood superstar Johnny and French actress Vanessa drifted apart and announced their split in Spring 2012. The break-up came after 14 years, two children and a family move from France to America, which is when, rumour has it, the problems started. </p>
- Heidi Klum and Seal
Despite what seemed like the most rock-solid marriage in Hollywood, model Heidi and singer Seal <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/01/21/heidi-klum-and-seal-to-divorce-according-to-reports/" target="_blank">divorced in early 2012</a>, announcing the news with the statement: "While we have enjoyed seven very loving, loyal and happy years of marriage, after much soul-searching we have decided to separate.” Seal and Heidi met in 2004 when Heidi was pregnant with her daughter Leni, now seven, from her relationship with Flavio Briatore. Seal was at her side when she gave birth to Leni and later adopted her. The couple are also parents to Henry, Johan and Lou.</p>
- Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz
Ashlee and Pete married in 2008 and are proud parents to baby Bronx. When they split in February this year, Hollywood was shocked with the seemingly smitten couple. Announcing the split, the couple released a statement saying: ‘We remain friends and deeply committed and loving parents to our son Bronx, whose happiness and well-being remains our number one priority.’ It didn’t last long and a custody battle was splashed all over the press. On the plus side, they both seem to have kept a dignified silence throughout proceedings, and are currently dating other partners.</p>
- Britney Spears and Kevin Federline
When Britters hooked up with K-Fed the world groaned. But after a Vegas wedding, two children, Jayden and Sean Preston, a divorce and a breakdown and public head-shaving episode, it was actually Kevin that appeared the grown-up. After the split, Britney well and truly lost it, with Kevin winning custody. Now the couple share custody, and Brit seems to be back on track and is loved up with new man, Jason Trawick. The ex-couple seem to have put their differences aside, even sharing a bench at son Sean’s baseball game. </p>
- Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards
After divorcing in 2006, Denise and Charlie were locked in a bitter custody battle over their two daughters, Sam and Lola. After allegations of drink and drug abuse, slanging matches in the papers and a Twitter war of words, Denise banned him from seeing the two girls over fears for their health and safety when with him. Judging by Charlie’s erratic behaviour, we think she made a pretty good judgement call on this one…</p>
- Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry
Hollywood’s Halle and model Gabriel called it quits in 2010. At the time Gabriel said their toddler daughter, Nahla’s happiness was the most important thing for them both, and they originally agreed on joint custody. It all unravelled after nasty rumours and slanging matches in the press started, with Halle’s publicist releasing a statement saying, ‘Halle has serious concerns for her daughter's well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her.’<br />
A private matter, surely?</p>
- Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony
When J-Lo and Marc announced their divorce, it seemed like it was set to be played out nice and publicly. She slapped on the war-paint and carried on, and he broke down on stage and cried to his fans. But it seems this couple are cracking on for the sake of their young twins, Max and Emme, and they were recently papped together with their children celebrating Marc’s birthday. Seems the couple are sticking to their word when they announced their split, when they said: ‘We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters.'</p>
- Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes
This Hollywood pair split after seven years of marriage, and one son, Joe, while Kate is also mum to older daughter, Mia, from her first marriage. While there doesn’t seem to be much love lost, don’t expect any cheap pot shots from this committed pair of parents. ‘One thing I will say about me and Sam is that it's fine, it's really fine. I'm not going to s***fling, there's no point in even going there. It is what it is,’ says Kate. ‘We're grown-ups at the end of the day, and however hard it's been for me, it’s been equally hard for him. And we have a child together who we both love - and raising him together, jointly and without any conflict, is absolutely key.’</p>
- Katie Price and Peter Andre
The reality TV producer’s dream pair-up, Katie and Peter met on I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…before having two children, Junior and Princess. Rumours about a split surfaced a few years after they married and the couple announced their divorce in 2009. They share custody of the two children, and Peter tries to see Katie’s older son Harvey as much as possible. Slanging matches in the press don’t seem to be coming to a halt anytime soon, with mud slinging and <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/08/24/katie-price-leo-is-better-with-son-harvey-than-peter-andre-and-alex-reid/" target="_blank">cheap pot shots</a> appearing most weeks between the pair. Katie seems to have come out worse off, rebounding to Alex Reid and Leo Penna, while Peter has <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/06/16/peter-andre-is-crowned-celebrity-dad-of-the-year/" target="_blank">won Celebrity Dad of the Year for the second time running…</a></p>
- Kerry Katona and Brian McFadden
When Kerry and Brian split in 2004 there certainly wasn’t much love lost between the pair. Brian hot-footed it to Australia and set up home with Delta Goodrem, and Kerry has had a few well documented wild years, battling addiction. The pair had two children, Molly and Lily-Sue, and Kerry now has another two children with ex-husband, Mark Croft. It got very messy when Kerry told a paper Brian never phoned or saw the girls, and Brian hit back calling her ‘a pig-faced mole’. The pair seem to be growing up though, and have been spotted talking and laughing with their children again. Let’s hope it lasts.</p>
- Madonna and Guy Richie
On the surface, and in terms of childcare, Madonna Guy are making things work, with joint custody of Rocco and adopted son, David. But a few swipes in the press have surfaced, with Madge saying she’d rather ‘get run over by a train’ than get hitched again. Ugly banter about payouts were also bantered around, with Madonna saying Guy was receiving a whopper of a payout from her, in the region of £50 million, but she was forced to backtrack after Guy called it ‘misleading and inaccurate’…</p>
- Mel B and Jimmy Gulzar
Scary Spice and first husband, Jimmy divorced before their only child together, Phoenix Chi, had turned one. They both went for custody, and Mel won. But the drama didn’t end there, and ten years on the couple are still at loggerheads. When the Spice Girls went on tour in 2007, Jimmy tried to block Phoenix going with them and appearing on stage alongside the other Spice babies, claiming it would disrupt his visitation schedule. The row went all the way to court, with the judge siding with Mel…</p>
- Reece Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe
These lovebirds met in their early 20s and married soon after. The couple had two children, Ava and Deacon, before splitting and divorcing in 2006. They have joint custody of the pair, and seem to making a really good job of it, recently pictured together, alongside Reece’s new husband, cheering Deacon on at football, with Ryan gushing: ‘It’s gotten to a place where we’re great friends and great co-parents.’ Very glad to hear it, too!</p>
- Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman
Tom and Nicole divorced way back in 2001, and since the split, the couple’s adopted children, now teens, Isabella and Connor have lived with their dad, who is now also a proud father to <strike>spoilt</strike> stylish <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/06/16/suri-cruise-in-flat-shoe-shocker/" target="_blank">Suri </a>with new wife, Katie Holmes. While Nicole has her hands full with her toddler, Sunday Rose, and new arrival, Faith, she has always expressed her sadness that her older children chose to live with their dad, saying: ‘They live with Tom, which was their choice. I'd love them to live with us, but what can you do?’ And if this wasn’t a sad enough tale for Nicole, Katie admitted in an interview Isabella and Connor actually call her mum.</p>
- Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise
TomKat <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2012/07/11/tom-cruise-and-katie-holmes-divorce-in-super-quick-time-for-suri/" target="_blank">parted company</a> in the summer of 2012, following five years of marriage. The couple are mum and dad to Suri, six, and divorced in double-quick time after their announcement. The couple claimed their separation was amicable because they wanted to make it easier on their young daughter, releasing a joint statement, saying: “We are committed to working together as parents to accomplish what is in our daughter Suri's best interests. We want to keep matters affecting our family private and express our respect for each other’s commitment to each of our respective beliefs and support each other’s roles as parents.”</p>