In defence of choosing to be single

Published July 25, 2016 by insufficient mums

When I talk about choosing to be single (from age 47, no less) folk get real angry and defensive with me. They start to tell me how successful their own relationship has been. They tell me why I shouldn’t give up.amy-poehler-no
A lot of folk tell me that when they gave up looking for a partner was when they
met the right one. As if they haven’t read a word I’ve written. As if I’m talking about them.
And I’m left wondering why choosing to be single makes folk so defensive.

I was recently challenged by a friend, why is this (choosing to be single) so hard? Just do it.
There was some unspoken thing, that I shouldn’t speak about my decision to be single. Society and media and entertainment spend billions of dollars and zillions of hours telling us all we should be in a relationship and that is where true happiness lies. But if I write a sentence or two on choosing to be single, I should shut up. I’m obviously a challenge to something important here.

There is something thoroughly dismissive about the way people respond to me about my choice. And worse, a pressure not to talk about it at all.

I am writing as a woman who has (eventually) chosen to be single, because that is not the dominant narrative in society. I don’t believe I’m the only woman to make this choice, the only woman who writes about it, or the only woman who has experienc
ed what relationships have to offer and decided she wants none of it. Other women are out there, tolerating a relationship that doesn’t serve them, considering a commitment to being single, but without a roadmap. Without a guide. I am writing to tell those sisters why I chose this, why I choose this, and that it is a hard choice.

It is a hard choice. Women turn to other women for support in their relationships all the time. But if you turn to other women for support in how hard it is to be single, they will shut you down. They will knock you down. They will get dismissive – you just haven’t found ‘the one’ yet. Or, once I wasn’t looking for anyone, the right one came along.

All variations of the fairy stories we’ve been taught since birth.

Your soul mate is out there.

You’re too selective. You’re not giving anyone a chance.

You will attract what you deserve.

It will all be okay when you’re not sending out desperate vibes.

I am none of these things. I am a woman who has tasted the fruit, and found it disagrees with her.

I am not secretly attracted to other fruit.

I am not shopping for semi-adequate or bearable fruit.

I am a busy woman, with a busy life, and I will not compromise on fruit. I like it, but it upsets my life.

I get through life so much better without fruit.

I have to wonder whether the weird and strongly reactive responses I get to my life choice are because I am a woman.

I know heaps of men who have made the choice to be single. I don’t know how often they are challenged on this decision. I know I have single male friends who get set up on dates quite frequently. But I don’t think that anyone gets mad at them.

I think that, as a woman, when I decide to be single, I am shaking s
omething within my sisters. I am rattling a tree that was meant to be kept silenced.

I am saying, this world is not set up for single people, certainly not for single mothers. I have considered the dominant narrative, and met with some of it’s offerings. I have tasted some of its fruit, and found that it left me hungry. Or worse – poisoned.

And it would appear that many of my sisters do not like me saying this.

Maybe it would be okay if I were a gay woman – but I’m not.

Maybe it would be okay if I were an unattractive woman – but I’m not.

Maybe it would be okay if I were a financially secure woman – but I’m not.
But even given all the things that I’m not, I will still live the life that I choose.

My friend said sublimely empowering things the other day. She may be 10 years older than me – maybe less. But she offered me an acknowledgement of my reality. And that meant more to me than she could ever know. She said:

I am Never sharing my bed again, sharing the tv remote, sharing the couch to lie on, the computer, my own music to listen to in other word I love my own company, never get bored or lonely. I have never been as contented as the last 10 yrs when I stopped pretending I liked to live with someone. But I could use a cook occassionally”

And I adore her for sharing this.

Because society offers me a partner as a pacifier.
If I want love, I should partner up.
If I want sex, I should partner up.

If I want to share the financial burden, I should partner up.

If I want someone to take care of things around the house (because I am a small woman) I should partner up.

And yet, I’ve had some partners. I’ve had some husbands. And they never offered remedies for these ailments. Or if they did offer, they didn’t for long.

I am busy. I have three kids with unique challenges. I need t
o earn income, and run my house.

My experience of taking a partner into this mix is that I have one more person to look after, with their emotional, and sexual, and financial fragility.

This doesn’t even encompass the times I’ve given my all to support a partner, who unbeknownst to me actually meant me harm. Physically, or sexually, or financially.

Even if I discard the abusers from the conversation, I am still left with someone who eventually wont give a flying fuck for the wellbeing of me or my children, and will still expect me to wash their fucking socks.

Now here’s the thing. Here’s the real jab. I have been indoctrinated.

I have been taught by my life, and by fairytales, and media, and by womenfolk everywhere who need to believe the myths, that some day my prince will come. Someday someone is going to love you the way you always needed to be loved. If you’re slim enough. If you get your vibration correct. If you let go the baggage of your past. If you forgive those that have hurt you.

And it’s just not true!

I have sisters who have met their partner. They have met a man who means well, and isn’t too chicken to commit to seeing each other through life.

But my girls, that is a rare beast.

Because their narratives don’t support that behaviour.

I am fekn busy. I do not have time or inclination or patience to go looking for some rare beast.

But that myth is powerful. When I’m down, when I’m low, when I need to feel sexy, when I need to feel love – the myth is there as my God and my guide, telling me my life experience and the wisdom I’ve gained is worth nothing.

And when I turn to my sisters for support in my chosen path, responders tell me I’m closed, or bitter.

Sweet hopeful things, I’ve tasted the fruit, with open mind. I’ve even sought out different tastes from those I am used to. They disagree with me, my path, and my parenting.

I wish you all well in your own paths, but my encouragement for you to support me in mine is still there.



Here’s how it works.

Published June 19, 2016 by insufficient mums

If I work for you, you pay me. Or you work for me.
Unless I am fundraising for you. Which is something I volunteer to do. Because I get to decide who gets my energy in any energy exchange.what's best for me

If I fundraise for you, I am not part of your clean up crew, set up crew, or decision making crew. If I fundraise for you, I will show up in the capacity discussed, work to a high standard, and go home. And I will not be filling in your forms. You can fill in your own damn forms.

If I am working for you, I do not represent you. Unless I have accepted a job as a representative. In the same way that by hiring me, you do not represent me. You do not advocate for my fairer pay, better hours, or more successful work/life balance.
I don’t represent you in how I look, dress, or speak. I offer my work. You offer your pay. The relationship ends there.
I will not be attending your social functions, retreats, team building exercises, or awards functions. Unless you pay me to attend.

I will not be attending because I have other unpaid things to do that require my attention.

If this is a problem, please approach me about buying more of my hours.

If I am paying you for a necessary service in my life, I do not expect to have to perform any of that service for you. I may support what you are doing by fundraising for you, but if I am paying you I will not be filling in your paperwork, replying to notices, or filling in where there is a need. You will be responsible for providing the services I am paying for, and where there is a discrepancy, you will be responsible for sorting it from your own reserves. The only reason I am paying you is because this is something I can’t do myself. So if I hire you, I don’t want to be part of doing this myself. Not any of it. Not forms, applications, notes, sausage sizzles. None of it.

That is why I am paying you.
If funding is a problem you may approach me for fundraising. Only.

I hope that clears that up. These things are called boundaries. They are very useful, and in fact essential for single parents with three children.
You do not have to wait until you are a single parent with 3 children to learn them and apply them.
I will not be teaching them to you. Unless you hire me to.


Tell me how grateful I should be? You do it.

Published June 3, 2016 by insufficient mums


Mommy Warning SystemToday I am completely losing my mind.

Some days when I get up, the drudgery of the day ahead of me makes me want to give up.
Days like today it sends me into a rage so stormy that anyone in the firing line may be torn apart. It certainly has the capacity to permanently scar children – who were the cause of this fekking shit in the first place.

I get it. The circumstances of my life have required surrender, of my work, over any chance of self-actualisation. My children’s future is the reward.

I get it. I’m not working in a coal mine, I’m not a slave, at least there is some welfare left in this state. I know I’m lucky.
BUT I’m also human. And I need answers to life questions like these:

If you wash the plastic bottles for recycling, don’t throw the lids on the kitchen floor. Why would you do that?!?

How the fek am I meant to know whether or not you gave the cat its medication every fekn morning? Sometimes you do, so if I give it everyday I’ll kill it. Sometimes you don’t, so if I leave this responsibility to you, I’ll kill it.
If you do the dishes, put some away as you go, so I can use my arms at the kitchen sink, without draining dishes falling in. Why would you leave them like that?!?

If you use up a toilet roll, DON’T throw the empty on the floor. Why would you do that?!?

Do you people understand that while I do all this trivial shit everyday, I don’t get any further ahead on any of the stuff that really needs done? Do you want this house to look like a hovel? Don’t you like things to be clean?
Don’t you say sorry to me – do something about it!

Look, I’ve had enough. I know some of you out there can do this stuff, and so I hear things like “I need some time for me” or “Why don’t you come out with us you need cheered up” or “I’ll come over for a cuppa”.

No you fekn won’t. There’s me and the three little pigs. I can’t keep up with them as it is. They don’t give a flying fuk, and if you come over to remind me to nurture myself, I’ll have even less time to try to tame the monster.
I am unhappy. I don’t like this life (no matter how grateful I should be). Eventually I’ll either end it, or pack my bags and leave them to wallow in it.
Tell me how grateful I should be? You come and do it.


Bully for you

Published May 9, 2016 by insufficient mums

Samhuin - 30 April 2016pLess than. Greater than. Social hierarchy, and the need to boost oneself by putting others down. ‘Put downs’, ‘taking the piss’, and other forms of trying to make people feel worse, so as to feel some power and status – at least for a moment. Bullying. That is why I started writing. The end point is somewhere else.

I have just experienced a strongly public, strangely impersonal, social media assassination. I actually feel grateful for the moments I’ve encountered this diseased streak of humanity in the past. It would have been devastating had I not recognised them when they came.

As a child, at times I was bullied. At times I was the bully. Just like everybody else.
I was somewhat unguided. No moral compass. No idea what to tolerate or accept. No idea that those moments spent inflicting pain to make myself feel good were the ugly side of humanity.

I learned these things as an adult. Much too late for many of the people in my past to ever forgive me. So I need to suck that up and own it.

I have been writing in an attempt to capture the essence of this moment. In being on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse from a total stranger. Her work was deliberate and methodical. Her ability to stay composed and plausible while I fought her was flawless. I still retain friends who have retained her as a friend, despite what she did to me, and their pronouncements that they care about me.

This has been an experience that returned me to the world I left behind a lifetime ago. Where humans were not to be trusted. Everybody (including me) would point out your flaws behind your back and smile at your face. I lived for a long time in the ugly side of life. There was violence. There was rape. There was theft. And no-one was faithful in word or deed. People lived ugly.

When this finally killed me, I had to build a new way of living in the world. One based on faith, and hope, and trust in the human animal. A world based on giving in service, being ruthlessly honest, and understanding that we are all flawed and doing our best. The narcissistic sociopath was always the exception. Some folk do have fundamental damage that will be with them for life. They become hollow, and they feed on pain.

So now, many years into doing my best and experiencing those rewards – of investing in people, and knowing the little I have to give is of value, the narcissist enters in a form unrecognisable to me. She is half my age.

She sought me out. The signs were obvious straight away. So I managed what I could, then set a boundary. And her anger came down on my wee business.

My reputation isn’t the problem. I have been called worse in the past. I’m no longer invested too much in the criticism of others.

What threw me is how easily 40 other 20 year olds jumped on her hatred and threw it at me. That really shook my faith in what I was doing.

I limited my online profiles. For the first time ever, I was worried that these people might have access to photos of my children.

This lifetime has been a hard run. Much work. Little support. I have an online crew who love me, but I also have three children with complex needs, an income that is challenged because of this, and no partner support (my choice – I find the rewards of such partnerships lacking).

Here’s what this experience does do. It helps me teach my children. That everyone has had a bully (not just you) and everyone has been a bully, at at least one stage in their lives. I think they thought I was making this lesson up. But attacks are random. It’s like rape – it can happen to anyone at any time.

I can teach them, it’s NOT my fault if it happens, but it is my job to say get the fuck offa me. Just because you force it down my throat, doesn’t mean I won’t bite it off.
Cos I will.

What we learn is not to be a bully. What we learn is never to tolerate the bullying of others. What we learn is to be better people. We cannot change others. But we can learn these lessons about our own behaviour.

But there is a ‘real world’ factor in this. It’s not just about philosophy and educating our babies.

In reality, running my wee home business around three children is hard. I have driven to St Leonards at 10pm to see clients in major distress. I have given my time at all hours. I have kept my house as presentable as possible around raising 3 kids with respect for clients, and with an nod to being in an outlaw vocation where credibility is always at stake. I study. I work. I pay taxes, and advertising, and merchandising. I work through my ex-husband’s claims in family court that I must be ‘raking it in’ with strict honesty, while the world sees me as a bludger. I offer my services for charity and fundraising.

And I’m tired. This is hard work.

So when one vicious human sets me up in this way, and 40 strangers jump onboard without hesitation, I know its time to move on.

There has been significant time, and work, and financial input into creating my little business. And I could continue. Because none of this will matter in six months, or even in six minutes. I do know that. The emotional impact is far bigger than the real world cost.

But part of continuing would be to prove my bully wrong, when really, she doesn’t matter at all. Whether I fight her or not, she has her satisfaction. All I can really do is make sure that my decisions are not because of her. She may be the catalyst, but she has no control. This is not about her.

It’s about me, and my kids. Like every decision I make.

The next client I see could be one like her. Or one sent by her. She’s stolen a week of my life, and that is enough time.

I choose freedom. Time to move on to the next phase of my life.

I have never regretted leaving anything.

I’m out

Published March 4, 2016 by insufficient mums

In my happiness prescription I have done all the things Not Availablewith all the people.
I now need to retire from interaction until the New Moon.
I Need to recharge.
I Need to look after my wee business.
I Need to parent.
I Need to clean up after the Three Child Challenge.
I Need to exercise my body (I have City 2 Surf rolling in fast).
And really, I just need to quiet my headspace, which has become somewhat overloaded and reactive.
Do interact with me on my pages. Introversion, while necessary for me, can be lonely.
But I can’t do anymore things with people, or things for people.
Luv to all, till the New Moon cometh! ❤

Late Night Comfort

Published October 25, 2015 by insufficient mums

I am at that time of nightShout out to my arms
when profound memes are too deep to digest.
I am at that time of night
when nothing seems more legitimate than old skool punk
I am at that time of night
when I know that my desires were the only thing that ever really got me into trouble
I am at that time of night
where my decision to become a parent would not hold up to cross-examination
I am at that time of night
where I would ask for closer support
But that same proffered ‘support’
has broken me too many times
to ever rely on ‘other’.
And so, I rely on me.
But, it’s that time of night…

Louder Than Words (a love poem)

Published September 13, 2015 by insufficient mums

StupidHe said

I can’t stay over at your place anymore
Animals, allergies

~ But I like being with you


He said

We won’t being going out like we used to
I’ve made other financial choices

~ But I like being with you


He said

You sure do think about sex a lot
So the sexy texts stopped

If I sent one, it was ignored

~ But I like being with you


He said

Every other woman I’ve every met or known is the same or better

You are easily replaceable
Actually, you could be any one of them

~ But I like being with you


He said

I’m not visiting your house any more
No transport
And I’m not good around children and animals

~ But I like being with you


He said

I need to stop renting movies when you stay over at mine
It’s a financial thing
We’ll just watch what’s here

~ But I like being with you


He said
You sure do think about sex a lot

Sex is off the list now
I have other priorities
~ But I like being with you


He said
I never wanted you to get hurt
He said that a lot

But it would have been easier if he’d said

I don’t like being with you