Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list
Sea swimming essentials every first-timer should have on their list

Sarah Finnan

Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits
Calling all biscuit lovers! We’re giving away a hamper of Maltesers biscuits

Lauren Heskin

Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?
Would you tell a friend if they’d gone overboard with Botox or fillers?

Amanda Cassidy

What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae
What to make this weekend: A grown-up ice-cream sundae

Meg Walker

How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face
How to stop procrastinating what you know you have to face

Niamh Ennis

Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating
Step off the hamster wheel of dieting: an in-depth guide to intuitive eating

Melanie Morris

Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare
Ouai x Byredo is back with more scented haircare

Holly O'Neill

This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million
This recently renovated Ranelagh home is on the market for €1.25 million

Megan Burns

Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings
Considering getting hitched at home? Two couples on their at-home weddings

Lizzie Gore-Grimes

With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of Mink Hand and Foot Spa on mastering multitasking
With soon-to-be-three salons, a beauty brand and a little one at home, Kate Verling of...

Lauren Heskin

Image / Editorial

Your relationship with your child is different as a single parent


by Lia Hynes
06th Aug 2019

Your relationship with your child is different as a single parent

blank

When Liadan Hynes’ marriage fell apart she had to work on adjusting to the new reality. In her weekly column, ‘Things Fall Apart’ she explores the myriad ways a person can find their way back to themselves. Here she explains how a single parent’s relationship with their child can differ from other parents


I’m not going to suggest that the relationship you have with your child as a single parent is better, more intimate, than that of other parents. Of course I’m not. Parenting is difficult enough without introducing some sort of competitive intimacy stakes. And I don’t believe that anyway.

But it is different. A lot of the time, it is just the two of you – and that produces a particular kind of dynamic. Not better, not worse, just different.

They’re there, then gone

Sometimes, it feels more extreme. Because it is just you and them for a great deal of the time. And then it is just you. They are gone, to the other parent, or to grandparents, while you shove in the other parts of life that cannot be done when they are around. Work, friends – whatever it might be.

Related: Why Lorelai, the happy single mother
from ‘Gilmore Girls’, is my poster girl

They are the person with whom you share slow, lazy, long-weekend mornings; where the phone is off, and you both lounge around in your underwear because it’s too hot for anything else. But then the next night they are gone, which is actually fine because you need a break, but also strange and unsettling, and you miss them madly and watch videos on your phone.

Your domestic person

You can have friends and family who will do the dishes when they come around; who know how to get to Netflix on your TV; turn on the heating or make a cup of tea.

But your child is your domestic person. The person with whom you decide when you’re getting a takeaway, what takeaway that will be. Spend your evenings with. Enjoy a just post food shop full fridge with. All the small domestic details that pile up to make a life.

And when you want to retreat home because things feel a bit noisy – the world feels a bit much – they are the person who shares that retreat with you. They are your baseline person.

Together, we’re a unit

Sometimes, because it is just the two of you, it feels like you can go off-grid in a way you might not otherwise.

Maybe because you’re a more portable unit, the two of you. You can afford to not concur to the regular schedule of things. At the moment, we are still on a holiday bedtime schedule. Which means Herself goes to sleep sometime between 10 and 11 pm. Which means we have long evenings to do with what we want.

Related: The greatest loves of your life don’t
always come in the shape of a husband

We go to dinner at family’s; then confide to each other we’re ready to go home; stop into Lidl for a food shop at 8 o’clock; get supplies for the pancakes we plan to have the next morning.

We lie in late in the mornings, sleeping as late as 10.30; lying in bed, chatting. Nowhere to be, and delighted with ourselves. We potter in the evenings; I have some work and she sits beside me, writing in her notebook.

The older they get, the more they are a little person – and the more of a pleasure they are your person.

Once you get beyond the hurt and the upset of your life going another way, then most of the time it just is what it is. Not better or worse, just different. Anything else is a narrative, someone else’s narrative, of what things should be like. Not a thing to hold yourself up to. It doesn’t matter. Your day-to-day reality is what matters.

Feature image: Wesley Tingey via Unsplash


Read more: Things Fall Apart: It was meant to be two parents, under one roof

Read more: It takes a village to be a single parent

Read more: When you’re a single parent, meditation isn’t always possible

Also Read

Vegan
EDITORIAL
Delicious vegan-friendly spots to try for a weekend brunch in Dublin

Check out three of our favourite vegan/veggie-friendly spots in Dublin worth trying this weekend. The best bit? Chances are, even...

By Jennifer McShane

Keith-_-Tara_130_Web Shantanu Starick painting kitchen cabinets
EDITORIAL
How to limit drips and brush strokes while painting kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be transformative and can be achieved relatively low-cost, but you need the right equipment, and a lot of...

By Amanda Kavanagh

toxic
EDITORIAL
How to let go of toxic people, and the signs to recognise

By Niamh Ennis

house for sale in Rathmines
EDITORIAL
This beautifully finished end of terrace on Rathmines Road is on the market for just over the million mark

Built around 1860, the Victorian house for sale in Rathmines has all of the period features you would expect with...

By Lauren Heskin

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Why do we keep snatching normality away from our children?’

This summer the government will allow my children into a bar, but not to their gymnastics camp. Amanda Cassidy on...

By Amanda Cassidy

Full House, onscreen father Danny Tanner
EDITORIAL
We’re remembering our favourite onscreen dads for Father’s Day

With Father’s Day just around the corner (this Sunday 20h June, so yes, you do have time to buy yours...

By Grace McGettigan

blank
EDITORIAL
‘Quite interesting’: Princess Anne comments on The Crown

We’ve all heard that the royal family don’t exactly gather round to watch The Crown, but one member has shared...

By Jennifer McShane