I haven’t exactly kept quiet about my feelings over becoming single again when my marriage ended in 2017. For most of 2018, I chatted about my new experiences in online dating and all of the very much metaphorical ups and downs which came along with that.

This year which, as we all know, is zooming past faster than the speed of sound, hasn’t quite been the same story for all of the right reasons. I deleted the dating apps on NYE. They were bringing nothing but negativity to my life and I went with the mentality of ‘what will be, will be’ instead. It was one of the best decisions I have made since deciding to end that aforementioned marriage.

I have still dated, I have been offered something looking seriously like commitment more than once and I have also had the odd encounter with the easily identifiable fuckboy (sorry Dad!). But so far, it’s been a year which has been much less focused on men.

And you know what I have learnt?

Being single is ace. Also, being a single mum to my nearly four-year-old son, TJ, is bloody ace too. It took a long time for me to truly believe in both of those sentences – but believe in them I do. Here’s just a few reasons why I now have faith that life is currently exactly as it should be – and more.

Perks of being single

I get to eat exactly what I want. I have become a bit of a reducetarian (like much of the rest of us) after spending a decade eating meals with my meat-loving husband. It’s better for my health, my waistline and for the world. Yay for that.

I get to watch exactly what I want on TV. Whilst I am mourning a year with no X Factor, crap like endless repeats of Friends, Top Gear and Family Guy can totally do one. I also listen to my own music (Taylor’s new album having been on repeat) and I have the peace and tranquillity to read lots too.

I dress and style myself exactly as I want to … pink hair, don’t care! Leopard print coat, come and get me.

I get my bed to myself as often as I want … well, except when TJ sneaks in at 1am. There’s no snoring, no stealing the duvet … just me sleeping like a starfish and loving every minute of blissful rest night after night.

My flat is the setting for some fun and fabulous times so it’s suitably dressed for the occasion. Crazy wallpaper, bright colours, a lot of wall art and the occasional cheesy inspirational quote. Don’t like it? Don’t come round here. It’s that simple.

I love a dating show. I spent many a summer evening glued to Love Island whilst TJ slept in the next room. But, the drama can stay right there on the small screen – I don’t want it in my real life. Happy-go-lucky and usually smiling is my order of the day and I intend to keep it that way. Yes, a good and functioning relationship shouldn’t be all about the drama … but arguments will still happen and that’s something I am happy to park at the moment. I am sure TJ would agree too.

Saturday mornings. When TJ is with his dad, they are my favourite time of the week. It is all about a lie-in, my favourite breakfast of yoghurt, fruit and granola, coffee and Saturday Kitchen on TV. They are all my own choices, which is how it should be in my well-deserved free time.

Yes, I may have developed a bit of a selfish streak having spent two years living largely on my own for the first time ever. But, I will take that over a relationship which was, intentionally or otherwise, controlling, belittling and squashed the shit out of my personality. I have grown as a person and I know myself better now than I ever did before.

Perks of being a single mum

Parenting is all done on my terms. If I decide that TJ can stay up a little bit later then I don’t have to check with anyone else or justify my actions to anyone. I reckon I am doing OK with that too – TJ is awesome.

I get nominated for awards! Sorry – I know that I keep mentioning it but I am so unbelievably amazed to have been nominated for a BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Award in the Fresh Voice category. Writing about single parenting was a big step for me – I used to hide my naked left hand when pushing TJ’s pram – ridiculous, I know. So, telling the world about it and then getting positive feedback for that is truly a revelation. If you haven’t voted, PLEASE do so here – voting closes on 4th October. Thank you!

It’s one-on-one time with my main man – TJ – whenever I am fortunate enough to be on parenting duty. We are incredibly close because of it. It is a closeness which may not have been nurtured should our time not have been so focused on each other. So, to have an incredibly fun, intelligent and spirited son, who is also my best little buddy, is amazing in no small measure.

TJ is growing into a better person for it. We have open and honest conversations about our feelings from our strengths to our struggles. He can articulate his emotions incredibly well – in the era of toxic masculinity that can only be a good thing. He’s also pretty good at helping me with the cooking, cleaning and the laundry too – modern man a go go.

Co-parenting is hard – I make no secret of that. But, it does have its occasional perks. One of those has to be when the opportunity arises to make the most of the time when TJ is with his dad. Last year, that was a once-in-a-lifetime trip to New York. This year, it’s a few days of madness in Poland for the birthday celebrations of some of my favourite people. It’s OK – I took TJ on holiday just the two of us earlier this year and he’s just got back from a week in Cyprus with his dad … the kid reaps the co-parenting benefits too.

Having said all that, it’s not that I don’t want to meet someone someday. I just don’t really want that day to be any time soon. Freedom is fun and it should be cherished, not wished away. Yes, I will still swipe away on the apps having reinstalled one or two again recently. But, it will take someone seriously special – an earthquake, in fact – to shake the loving relationship I am having with myself (yes, that sounds rude … move along.) Until then, Sunday Brunch is pretty great TV too.