Last week I asked my son a question which I probably shouldn't have, but as there is no one else in our household to ask things, I had no choice.
It made me think of all the other things I do, or allow him to do, or that he is privy to ONLY because I am a single parent
Letting him stay up late when I am bored (instead of being desperate to get him to bed for me/partner time).
Eating his left-overs instead of cooking myself dinner (because I don't want to eat at five and I have no one else to cook for).
Taking him to the pub for a (veggie!) Sunday roast because I am too knackered to cook one myself (because by the time Sunday rolls round I am dead on my feet).
Making him watch Country House Rescue and other property porn (so I have someone to have the 'what we would do if we had a house like that' conversation with).
Taking him for cycle rides over the common and planting lots of 'thirsty' auto-suggestions in his mind just so I can stop off at the pub (a rare treat with little child-care).
Getting him to brush my hair when I am tired and head achy (because it is relaxing, and frankly, after enduring his non-stop chatter-inducing migraines about computer games/Club Penguin/Dr Who he owes me).
Dressing up my errors/lack or organisation/plain wrongness as Fun New Thing. It's Cake for Breakfast Day! Let's celebrate by er, having cake for breakfast! (because mummy has run out of porridge/Weetabix/bread again).
Ah, us single parents and our lax parenting methods, non-enforcement of rules and discipline... It's no wonder we all have feral kids, eh?
And that question I asked him that perhaps I really shouldn't have? It was: "Does my bum look big in this?" It was either that or text a pic to one of my friends and they'd prob be too honest. Son merely looked surprised and said 'No'.
It could have been that I had already earned 'be nice to mummy' points by declaring that morning a Cake for Breakfast Day though...
(Small disclaimer: I also talk to him endlessly. About everything. The weather. The shopping list. What to have for dinner. Where to go on holiday. What to plant in the garden. What to buy for the house. I am certain we communicate MUCH more than his two-parent-household peers. And I know we didn't chat nearly as much when his father lived here. And no, he's not really feral. And MOST mornings he has porridge for breakfast. With fruit.)
What to you allow/turn a blind eye to as a single parent that you wouldn't you were part of a couple?
- Showing favouritism
Are you sure? So you’ve taken just as many pictures of your second child as your first then? A study by scientists at the University of California suggested 65 per cent of the mothers and 70 per cent of fathers had a preference for one child - however subconsciously.</p>
- Doing their homework
One study shows that nearly half of parents have done their children’s <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/05/24/mum-petitions-for-abolition-of-homework/" target="_blank">homework</a> at least once. It seems many either can’t resist the temptation to help their children do well in their studies or would rather do it than spend their lives whingeing at them to stop watching telly.</p>
- Avoiding play time
It’s the ‘not now, maybe later’ syndrome. Your child wants you to read them a story or go the swings but you are ‘just too busy’. Or is it really that you can’t be bothered because you’re texting, checking emails or even watching telly yourself! Figures show that, on average, parents spend just 36 minutes a day <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2010/11/05/do-i-play-with-my-child-enough/" target="_blank">playing</a> with their offspring.</p>
- Using them as an excuse
Blaming the kids is always the <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/baby/why-having-a-baby-makes-the-perfect-excuse/?icid=parentdish|DL_2" target="_blank">perfect excuse</a>, whether it’s not having to go to a social occasion, the house being a mess, being late for work, forgetting someone’s birthday, the list goes on...</p>
- Bribing them with food
Whether it’s giving them chocolates or sweets as a bargaining tool for chores or simply to ward off a tantrum we often find ourselves bribing our kids. We’re probably well aware that research shows this could lead to obesity - but heh, anything for a quiet life?</p>
- Giving them a smack
For many it’s one of the biggest taboos. But there are plenty of parents out there who have given their kids a clip - even if it is on very rare occasions. A recent poll for ITV’s This Morning found that three out of four parents had, at some time, <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/10/19/should-i-be-banned-from-smacking-my-child/" target="_blank">smacked</a> their little ones.</p>
- Stealing their stuff
Surely not? Well have you ever eaten their chocolate gift from a relative - because you were ‘saving their teeth’. Sadly that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Findings from Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks showed that more than half of parents with children aged five to 12 have raided their kids’ piggy banks!</p>
- Fibbing to get them into a school
Ever found yourself in church pretending to believe, just because it will help get your little on in a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/back-to-school/how-much-would-you-pay-to-get-your-children-into-a-good-school/" target="_blank">school with a good reputation</a>? Around 50 per cent of parents are willing to fib about their address, religious beliefs or ethnic background to get their kids a better education.</p>
- Writing them a dodgy sick note
Did you feign <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/09/09/sending-your-child-to-school-when-ill-do-you-do-it/" target="_blank">illness</a> as a child to get out of games? Now, as a parent, you find yourself writing a sick note for the teachers, even though you know there’s not much wrong with your kid’s health. A quarter of parents admit to this one, while almost 50 per cent have taken their children out of school in term time to save cash on holiday costs, according to <a href="http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/" target="_blank">TripAdvisor.</a></p>
- Doing anything to get them to sleep
When it comes to getting some kip every sleep deprived parent has a guilty secret - whether it’s letting them stay up too late so that they just flake out, letting baby fall asleep on you, rather than putting it down in its cot or simply allowing them to sleep in your bed.</p>
- Swearing in front of them
You tell them off for using bad language, then find yourself uttering a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/2011/04/19/there-are-worse-things-than-swearing-in-front-of-your-children/" target="_blank">foul mouthed rant</a> in front of them. When they later use the same words in public you say “they must have picked it up at nursery/school.” Some nine out of 10 parents have sworn in front of their children according to a report from <a href="http://www.youngpoll.com/" target="_blank">Youngpoll.com.</a></p>
- Giving them a treat breakfast
There are few parents who haven’t, at least once in their child’s lifetime, bought them a sticky pastry or bag of crisps instead of making them a healthy breakfast. In fact, figures reveal that half a million kids eat biscuits for their morning meal while more than 100,000 only have a fizzy drink!</p>
- Driving badly
You’re always telling them that their behaviour is dangerous and then you pack them into the car and drive like a nutter. One in four parents admit to having broken the speed limit to get their children to school.</p>
- Overloading the buggy
You’ve read the safety warnings not to do it, but which parent hasn't loaded up their child's buggy with shopping bags while scooting through town, blithely ignoring the chance of the whole thing toppling over? When they get a bit older you allow them to stand up in the shopping trolley at the supermarket too, another health and safety no, no.</p>
- Not having a sit down family meal
Did you know that children are 24 per cent more likely to eat vegetables if they sit down to a <a href="http://www.parentdish.co.uk/food/small-cheats-for-big-family-meals/" target="_blank">family meal?</a> But how often have you let kids eat their dinner in front of the telly? Only 30 per cent of families eat together at least once a week.</p>