Sex and the Single Mummy

By Alison June 2, 2008 43 Comments 7 Min Read



sense it even before you open your eyes. A niggling feeling that
someone is unpicking the seams of your pretty little world. In the
night you seem to have climbed inside the duvet like a sleeping bag,
the summer weight quilt tangled between your legs and goose pimples
sprinkled across your stomach like chicken pox. For a moment you lie
stock -still waiting to hear the sixth sense shuffle of your babba
waking up with you and then you remember that he is with his Dad and
this morning it is just you again. But it is too early to get up so you
lie with your phone in your hand waiting for the man you adored as a teenager to call, to return the voice message you left on his phone late last night. To text you good morning, or I’m so sorry, or you will never guess what happened last night, but he doesn’t because you told him
to run for his life and if there was a marathon for commitment-phobes,
it turns out he’d be there, swinging the gold medal round his neck,
brandishing the winners bouquet and breathing a sigh of relief.

go into the bathroom and resolve never to buy gigantic toilet rolls
again. The Daddy Long Legs living on your window ledge looks sad so you
open the window and help him climb out, chuck a slimy bar of soap into
the bin and wonder all over again whether grouting grubby tiles is a
job too difficult to contemplate. You feel a bit stupid. You feel
mildly incensed. Exhausted by your endless capacity to believe grown
men who tell you that they love you when it becomes clearer by the day
that talk is cheap. You want him so much it hurts in your tummy. You
want a cup of tea. The over sweet kind that burns your throat and
shocks you into reality. The kind that says he has called or texted you
everyday since the first of December and the only thing that has
changed is that you let your guard down. So he will call. He isn’t the
man he seemed to have turned into yesterday. The coward who left you
sitting in on a precious Saturday night without informing you that he
wouldn’t be taking you out that night after all. No, he is the man in
your kitchen stirring his soup just a few days ago. Isn’t he?

knows? You strip back the bed and carry the quilt downstairs to throw
over the line to air. Stand and drip tea tree oil down the plughole,
and slice lemon into a glass of warm water before knocking it back like
so much bitter medicine. Then you go and poke your spindly little
sunflower seedlings and tie one ailing little specimen to a lollipop
stick with a narrow strand of lilac ribbon and hope for the best. You
are cross with yourself. For two years you have resisted introducing
any man to your little boy. It is so hard being a single mummy. So very
difficult to split yourself in two. You have never let anyone stay
over. Never watched anyone else don your dressing gown and drink juice
from your fridge. Your baby and your home have been sacred. But he was different.
You sat in the midst of his truly lovely family and sensed he was
different and letting him in didn’t seem too big a risk. It really
didn’t. For the first time you felt like here was somebody you could
trust with everything you’ve worked so hard to have: your child’s’
imperative sense of security, your own sense of family, your personal
space, hard won independence and your heart. Goddamn your silly,
vulnerable heart.

You pull on your
car boot sale uniform. Dig out your red penny purse and shove it into
the bag you wear across your body, in fear of imaginary pick-pockets.
And then you get really mad. And blatantly stupid. Because perhaps he’s
dead in a ditch and not really avoiding you at all! Or maybe he has
lost his phone and is in need of an email!!  So you start typing and
before you know it you have tapped out something of a Dear John,
because your fingers work in conjunction with your head, not your heart
and your head is saying he isn’t good enough Sweetheart, this kind of behaviour isn’t acceptable from someone who professes to love you. You press send and walk out the house.

what a disappointment the world of other peoples junk is lately. Who
knew so many people owned a copy of Robbie Williams autobiography or
had kept the box their cumbersome foot spa had lived in since the day
they found it under the Christmas tree? And anyway what’s with all the
mean dogs? It seem’s like every other person is being dragged along by
a pit bull terrier foaming at the mouth and ready to bite your bum the
minute you bend over to grab a pretty plate. The smell of raw steak has
you heaving as you pass the meat wagon and before you know it you are
back in the car, heading to your Mums to drink tea and blame her for
all that is wrong in the world.

you go home and he has called. So you dial his number and listen to him
tell you that he wants to be single again. That perhaps you could be
friends and see what happens? That he just needs a little time to
decide what he wants to do with his life. Can you do that? Be friends? Well no. Not really.
You want to reach down the phone and wring his neck. Ask this
body-snatcher what he’s done with the man you were snuggled up with on
Tuesday. But you do nothing but cry and put the phone down. And cry a
bit more. And take a deep breath and call him back so you can set
yourself crying all over again and make him listen. And then you walk
out  the house for the second time that day, terrified that you might
catch sight of your own stupidity in the big mirror on the landing if
you stay in. Because he’s lying. You can almost pinpoint the day he
started seeing someone else.

You’ve never been the cinema by yourself
before. For a while it is just you sitting in the dark, waiting for
friends called Carrie, Miranda, Samantha and Charlotte to join you. And
then you are surrounded by giggling couples and you are squashed down
low in your seat, eating tears and reading a text from your real life
Kath, "The Git!! I’m so sorry Hon, get yourself lost in Sex and the
City for a few hours. C. U". So you do. You lose yourself
totally in a world where the only cowardly bastards are called Big and
the clothes are to die for. And it is everything you hoped it would be.
And just like you are supposed to, you find yourself in everyone of
those women. In all their worst fears, about ageing, and loneliness,
and authenticity, and trust. And you get it. That in the end there is
just you, staring at your worst nightmares head on and coming out the
other side, with or without a man and an over-sized floral corsage in

You go home. Your little boy
arrives clutching a bunch of flowers, his Dad trailing behind him
carrying chippy chips because he has guessed you won’t have eaten. So
you go upstairs and wash your face because your curly topped little
angel must never know that it was his six foot two and a half
super-hero who made his Mummy cry on this wet Sunday afternoon.

There is a bit of you aching to be sitting in
front of your laptop making sense of the day on virtual paper,  and
there is another bit of you terrified of looking silly, of being she
who wrote that she was letting herself falling in love with Paul just a
few days ago, and who now has to report that just like that it
is all over. Have to acknowledge to yourself that just as one reader
pointed out a few days ago you are in danger of turning into nothing
but a second rate Mills and Boons author, all heartbreak and hectic
social life filling the gaps where decent, inspirational writing used
to live. You wonder how much more even your most dedicated of readers
can take. You worry that once again your sexual tourettes will get the
better of you and you will offend someone else with another reference
to a crudely named cocktail: another acknowledgement that  we are grown
women who have sex and don’t have to pretend that life is a one
dimensional round of laundry and lavender. Surely.

You switch the computer on and start writing
because writing is your drug of choice, the only panacea your daft,
trusting soul understands.

At seven o’clock he calls, but you miss it. You will miss him.  He doesn’t call again.

  Perhaps he never will.


  1. Heidi says:

    So sorry you have to go through this sweetie, but he doesn't deserve you. It took me years, but the right guy will be there, and he will always make you laugh and he will never make you cry. Trust me on this one.

  2. Amy says:

    He’s an a$$ – I hate to say it but he is. Anyone that stands you up and doesn’t have the guts to say so until afterwards that he isn’t interested definitely isn’t worth it. You deserve someone much better who is going to treat you like a queen. *hugs*

  3. Annie says:

    I've been addicted to your delicious, but absolutely real, blog for a while. This post made me want to give you a huge hug and I suspect 99.99 percent of your readers feel the same. You make me wince in recognition, and you make me laugh out loud in the same breath. Sexual tourettes! The woman who thought up that phrase (you!) will not feel down for long. And I agree with Heidi. He doesn't deserve you and Finn.

  4. Rachael says:

    I'm so sorry. Rachael

  5. gena says:

    Oh who are these men? are they stupid?blind? both? I am enraged!!!! how dare he trifle with your heart this way! You are worth so much more my Darling,believe in yourself,its his loss.xxxxxx

  6. Janey says:

    This just like a scene out of Sex and the City except its real and it hurts so much. Hey if it makes you feel any better I am as bad. I have a handle on the back of my head and words on my forehead that says MUG in big bold fluorescent day glo letters for all of the male species to see. Chin up girl you have something so special and his name begins with F..Finlay Hugs and Jelly Tots x

  7. Oh Alison! My heart breaks for you! But he’s the loser, and the stupid one for doing that to you. Know its not you and you are wonderful and glorious without him! As other readers have commented, and they are right, he doesn’t deserve you! Hang in there sweetie!

  8. Marylène says:

    Perhaps you already know that Website… I found it today while visiting another blog and I thought it might cheer you up a little. Full of wit and retro chic!
    Salutations du Canada! 😉

  9. debbie says:

    You, a second rate author? Never! Just keep writing from your heart and you will always have loyal readers! We love you because we can all relate to you on some level and we know that, as only your could put it, life is not “a one dimensional round of laundry and lavender.” Hoping happier days are ahead for you!

  10. venetiagirl says:

    Dear Alison
    ouch ouch ouch.
    Deep breaths now, and oh… what a lucky escape.
    You have not been stupid, my angel. You have been so brave so courageous. You dared to open your heart to someone who is so much less than you are. The poor, sad, cowardly creature.
    Stay brave, stay open, let your light shine brightly. You are an inspiration.It is only through feeling pain that we truly know that we are alive and it is so good to be alive.
    Allow yourself time to grieve, when you have the space play some music that makes you cry. Get it out. Rant, weep, cuss,and you will move on to far better things.
    May the farce be with you my friend.
    In sisterhood xxx

  11. E says:

    Pah – I don’t know who is worse – the snarky comment-givers on your last post or that addled, undeserving nitwit of a bloke.
    I love reading your work and I think some people would do well to realise that this is a REAL life and not a work of fiction (or an updated Mrs Beeton-style housekeepers manual) written to order.
    E xx

  12. Annie says:

    Everything we ever needed to know we learned in Kindergarten. Boys are stupid. 🙂

  13. Susana says:

    I hope you feel better Ali! Hang in there and be strong. Know who you are with or without those people in your life and be true to yourself.
    Lot's & Lot's of Hugs 🙂
    -Susana in New Mexico

  14. ari says:

    Yeah, going to the movie theater alone sucks! i am just 17 and never had a boyfriend its kinda deppressing for me too:[ sending a bear hug across the pond .

  15. Laura says:

    When it rains, it pours… Heartbreak AND annoying blog-comment-leavers are hard to take.
    Let yourself wallow. (Not on the comments, they don't deserve the consideration of a second thought. It's YOUR blog, after all.) Big packet of tissues, chocolates and a stack of dvds…
    Try to think of it this way; Life's highs can't be high if the lows won't be low… And tomorrow is another day. 😉
    You will get through this.

  16. anna marie says:

    I'm really sorry Alison, but darn it, you deserve a better bloke than this. To heck with him.
    I found when I trusted my instincts about blokes that I finally found the right one. You will find him out there, but in the meanwhile, do your writing, see your family, love your son. the right one will come striding into your life, promise.
    Anna Marie
    PS: And the poster before who was cruel about your writing, to heck with him/her too.

  17. Ann says:

    So Sorry, I love your blog, you write so well, and you conjure that domesticated diva side so well. i dunno what to say, i hope you meet someone nice soon, it's so sad to see how you get treated this way……

  18. simone says:

    What an inconsiderate wimp to leave you at home without letting you know that he wasn't going to turn up. I would be so angry that he took that evening away from me when I could have made other arrangments. This story happened to me many times many years ago. Thankfully the days of wishing and waiting have long gone.

  19. Carol M says:

    This sounds somewhat similar to my own story. I was dating a great guy. I was divorced with a son too. Then he finally met my parents and siblings, and I think he just got scared. (He also wasn't his usual self when he met my folks — very quiet and acted rather weird!) Right after that he disappeared for a night. (Found out he met an old flame to see if there was any spark left. There wasn't). He realized he was overwhelmed by things moving quickly. (And he was in his 40's!) He ended up coming back with no doubts. We are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in 2 days.
    I realized every story and outcome is different, but it might explain a bit of his behavior — if you can ever explain men's behavior! One commenter summed it up perfectly — boys are stupid!

  20. Julie says:

    Hey Alison,
    Never mind sweetheart! The best is yet to come! If you do nothing else this summer read the book by Eckhart Tolle…"The New Earth" this will explain why this keeps happening to you.
    Love your spirit girl!
    Chin up!

  21. Anita says:

    I am so sorry… You are worth so much more than that.. and don't feel silly – I for one have been in exactly that place… whenn my fiance whom I loved dearly said, "Oh, and by the way… don't forget to contact your lawyer to give full custody of your son to his father… I don't want kids living in my house." Need I tell you how fast that ended the whole thing – OR that I often wonder if that was is sole purpose, getting me to leave without being man enough to break it off himself…
    Your man is out there, honest…

  22. julie says:

    as a woman and cyberfriend i of course want to say "boy, he's a jerk" and "you deserve better" (and i mean that)…but more importantly i think…thank goodness it happened now and you have every right to feel…whatever you feel…the heart wants what it wants, good or bad. I am sorry someone broke your heart dear alison.

  23. Bronwyn says:

    Oh Alison, Bless you for pouring out your soul. I do hope it made you feel at least a bit better. In America, we’d call him a jerk and a dumb ass. (I think you should rename him “the man you abhorred as a 21st century woman”) Please see that you wouldn’t want someone like him in your life (and Finlay’s) forever. Good riddance! I agree with the poster who said, “the right guy will be there, and he will always make you laugh and he will never make you cry.” Look forward to better times. They WILL come. Much love from Texas– Bronwyn

  24. Leigh Ann says:

    so sorry

  25. F says:

    I would rather you be with "no one" than a "someone". You deserve better, and should expect better, and then you will get better.

  26. Katherien says:

    I must have failed in comprehension and context clues, LOL, because this whole time I thought "he whom I adored as a teenager" was Finn's daddy!! 😉
    I am hoping for the best for you in this situation. I truly enjoy reading your blog and love your perspective and your way with words!

  27. Helen says:

    That which does not kill us only makes us stronger. You are not stupid. You are not boring. You do not suffer from sexual tourettes'. What you are is a human being with the guts to take a risk and be truthful whether it be in your writing or in your relationships. Please give yourself credit for this, it really is something to be proud of. Keep your chin up and see him for the sad deluded fool (who just threw away the best thing he'll ever have) that he is.

  28. sheila says:

    De-lurking to say I'm sorry to read of the man trouble – I hope writing it on the blog helped a tiny bit.

  29. Laura_Elsewhere says:

    But Alison, sweetheart, you NEVER write boringly. You write about things that will never be a part of my life (child-rearing for example) and yet you make me live through them with you. You often open my eyes to a new way of thinking about something. You very often make me smile – a range of smiles, happy ones, rueful smiles, wry smiles, remembering smiles, wistful smiles. And once or twice you've made me cry.
    No Mills & Boon, first or second rate, has ever done that.
    I can't imagine the problems of new relationships when there's a child involved – you aren't one person but two, in a way. You are doing what you can, that's all. That's all you can do, my dear.
    Be gentle with yourself – cuddle Finn, cook some scrummy meals, make your home even prettier than it already is… and remember that you manage something few can: you write a blog that is the ONLY blog I read, and which is never self-obsessed, never self-centred, never selfish.
    Taek care, my dear

  30. Ann Marie says:

    Looking from the outside into your world, "Paul" isn't very nice.End story.He must have loved all this drama.
    Move on, he's rubbish.He'll give you the creeps in years to come, when you are happy and settled.
    It's trite, but you hold your own happiness within yourself.

  31. Lisa the book sniffi says:

    …dear Alison, men are strange, odd creatures are they not? Please accept a virtual hug from someone who's at least in the same country, 😉 I'd hesitate to pass comment as it's really none of our business but I do so admire your honesty. x

  32. You know he doesn't deserve you, right?

  33. jademichele says:

    it’s amazing-
    how many ways
    how many times
    our hearts break
    i am so sorry for you and Finn
    the person who was ugly to you is jealous, it’s that simple
    and, the drink name was funny…
    love from America

  34. Sorry you're hurting. I wish I had the answer but I've seen them – the men – do this before. One day they love you and the next day, poof, the love has disappeared. I do not understand it when it has happened to me and I don't understand it when it happens to you or anyone else. I wish I had the magic words, but I don't. Just know I understand how you feel.

  35. Sara says:

    I'm so sorry. But trust me, it's his loss, really. I've read your blog for over a year now and you seem like a truly wonderful person, gifted in so many ways. Hugs.

  36. Lisa says:

    I am a relative newcomer to Brocante Home – and I love reading it! Alison shares her lifes ups and downs with us… life is about ups and downs and life is what makes people interesting, special and unique. Thank you Alison for your lovely blog which has inspired me so much. I sincerely hope that you will be feeling better soon (I do know how hard it is to mend a broken heart). Take care and best wishes to you x

  37. Linda says:

    I'm sorry you're hurting. It wasn't long ago that I experienced something similar. Sure, it's easy to *say* that someone who seems deeply in love one day, then cools the next, is undeserving of you and it's best to find that out sooner rather than later, but that's cold comfort at the moment, isn't it? I felt as though I'd had the rug pulled out from under me — especially at an age when I expected more emotional maturity and confidence. I wallowed in the heartbreak and the hurt at being rejected… and then I considered it his loss. Do you know Griffin House and his song "The Guy That Says Goodbye to You is Out of His Mind"? That was my theme song for a bit. Make it yours!

  38. Sarah says:

    oh bummocks…

  39. Cyril Sneer says:

    Oh Alison…
    Aren’t men crap…
    Don’t feel foolish for bearing your soul. We’re all human and what were you supposed to think and feel?
    You know what you need – a night out with the girls the the next time Finn’s at his Dad’s…
    I send you love and hugs and hope that you can move on from this.
    Cyril x

  40. Sasha says:

    What a poo head.
    No doubt, like most poo heads, he is ultimately intimidated by your intelligence, wit and utter wondrousness. As well he should be, if he doesn't make the mark. And I guess you knew he had poo head potential back in the day, or you'd have married him then huh?!
    You deserve MUCH better than poo heads. xx

  41. Monique says:

    Oh you so need to write a book and make a gadzillion dollars for you and your little boy..and turn not nice men away~
    You have so much to offer!!
    Write a book..please:)
    You write like the wind~

  42. Stephanie says:

    Dear Alison,
    Oh dear. Another man managed to hurt a great woman? Nevermind him. It was not meant to be. You are meant for greater things. Better things. Like a better man.
    I know it hurts. I’ve been there, too. I thought we were deeply in love and I wallowed in the pain of the loss much too long. But as soon as I picked myself back up I met a better man and a grand love affair began. And I married him.
    And the one who broke my heart? He’s gay now.
    No joke.
    Life sure can be funny sometimes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content