Confessions of a Single Mother: She’s my Muse


“You don’t even need a degree sweetheart!”

“I know…BUT I WANT ONE!!!!!”

Sometimes I wish I had difficult, pushy overbearing parents. At least then I’d have probably completed a degree in something by now. Instead, they don’t interfere and always support me in whatever I decide to do. They want me to be happy and do what I love. It’s wonderful, and yet tricky; I have so much freedom I’m drowning in choice…

Of course my Dad lightly encourages me to pursue teaching. He looked so pleased when I attended the Primary Education degree talk at a University a few months ago, and mentioned how he’d “always hoped I’d pursue teaching”. Then later when I’d gone off the idea; he looked awfully disappointed. Like “Oh ffs, not again, will she ever make up her bloody mind?! She’s always chopping and changing! We’ve gone from Nursing to Business to Teaching and now what. The girl’s never going to have a steady income. She’ll be living with us forever!!”.

Mum often drops Accounting in when we’re discussing career options. She’s much more “Don’t rush darling, you’re so young you’ve got plenty of time, you don’t have to move out any time soon, you don’t even need a degree! Plenty of people get jobs without degrees!” She then backs up these statements with a series of examples of individuals (friends/family) in employment without degrees, which she blurts out randomly. It’s great that sometimes when I’m trying to relax and take my mind off my uncertain future; she mentions Aunty Bla-Bla who did this, then that, then wound up as this and now she’s really very happy doing that.

When I get really frustrated, this sort of thing comes out: “But mother, I WANT A DEGREE; I’VE ALWAYS WANTED A DEGREE!! Ever since I was little! Grandma’s f****** Cambridge “Degree Certificate in Honours” is hung up in our bathroom and every time I pee I’m reminded of the fact I am degree-less, and yes, yes it does make me feel a little  bit shit!!”. Why? – Because I am the Queen of Comparison of course. I am working on being de-throned because it’s not fun up here; everyone knows comparison is the thief of joy but every time a friend graduates I can’t help but feel a little envious. I know it’s awful, I have a beautiful healthy little girl, but I know outside our little Bubble of Joy is a world of employment where I can’t compete with the girl that got a 2:1 in International Relations with a year abroad. And I do love a competition.

Next to Grandma’s Cambridge certificate is a photo of Maia, and I am immediately reminded of just how lucky I am. – To be that little girl’s mother and currently in my second year of the Motherhood degree. I’m working at a 2:1 level at the moment, though I am aiming for a 1st. I have yet to start my dissertation but potential topics include: my all natural genital-destroying child birth, breastfeeding toddlers that funnily enough no longer weigh 8lbs and can say things like “BOOB”, raising a child with an Asian Grandmother in Western society with particular reference to the Attachment theory, co-sleeping with toddlers that play “I’m going to pretend I’m the hands of a clock in my sleep and kick Mummy in the face with my giant brick-like feet, then when she tries to reposition me I’m just going to scream and kick her again..”, and my personal favourite research topic: single motherhood and early onset insanity.

So I don’t have three-five years’ worth of knowledge on any specific given topic but I do have some other, rather valuable experience. (Y’know, as a Child Rearing Genius) What I lack in qualifications I make up for in basic evolutionary skills like breastfeeding and heavy lifting (child & groceries simultaneously).

When I do go back and get my degree (I say it as if it’s like a jumper I left at a friend’s house – “Oh, I’ll just pop back and fetch my degree, it’ll only take three-four years…”) – I know I have the full support of my three favourite people, and that’s more than anyone can ask for.

I’ve learnt not to beat myself up when I learn someone else has graduated, or when I pee and notice my Grandma’s certificate. She got a first in French and German at Cambridge, had three babies, had many interests and hobbies, was extremely generous and loving, always looked amazing and never got fat her whole life; if anything I should look at that certificate with pride and inspiration. – She’s my muse. Well her and Maia of course.

This was a very long rambling post with no clear message; but if you take anything from this jumble of thoughts; it should be this: 

Be kind to yourself always, do not beat yourself up for not achieving something you’d hoped you might, do not beat yourself up for anything at all, there’ll always be wankers to do that for you. It’s never too late to go out and do the things you’ve always wanted to. (Gosh look at me all preacher-y…)And never, ever, compare yourself to others. EVER! 

Current Status: Single. – Mostly happy. SAHM

Degree Thoughts Status: Still want one. – Still undecided on subjects and exploring options. – No longer suffering from degree-choice-related insomnia. .

Life Experience: WINNING