In my true fickle style, I have decided against the annual summary. As hilarious it might have been for others to read of my failings, my disastrous dates and my general parental incompetency, I am not convinced it would be a terribly positive activity.

I thought about it a lot last night in bed, by myself, reliving events from 2009, and, to be honest, the exercise didn’t do a lot for my self esteem. I was pleased to think that I had progressed from my seven year old sleeping in my bed every night to her only falling asleep there, but I’m still not sure that is a massive achievement. Are there many mothers who have to lug their quite grown up children across the landing every night before they can go to bed? Resolution for 2010 – convince Belle that her bed really isn’t such a bad place to be.

When you spend every evening on your own it is easy to become too reflective, to think over things you have said or done and wonder if they have somehow contributed to the aloneness. Should I have mentioned the naked dinner party photos on a first date? Did I eat with my elbows on the table? Was a bottle and a half of wine TOO much? Probably.

The truth is that none of these things should really matter in the grand scheme of things, and I shouldn’t be giving these thoughts any space in my head. Forcing myself to recollect every horrendous liaison is guaranteed to make me feel about 14 years old, plagued by irrational self doubt and loathing. I hated being 14 the first time – I don’t want to do it again.

Of course this is all classic procrastination. Post one – introductions, post two – this is what I’m going to write about, post three – no it isn’t actually after all…. Maybe at some point I will just get on with it.

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A second post! A great start. (I have never written a blog before – is it the kind of thing you are supposed to acknowledge, or is that terribly uncool? Should it be like a shy, new relationship, where you just sort of do it, without anybody mentioning what is actually happening?)

So…

With only 18 days left of the year and a shiny new blog to exploit (I mention it directly at the risk of breaking the Rules of Blogging), it seems like a good time for some reflection. 2009 has been an interesting year in lots of ways. I’ve left two jobs, launched myself into the scary world of self-employment and been on a string of dates – most notable only for their blandness. Friends call me fussy, but frankly it takes more than a bag of yogurt to impress me. But that’s a story for another time.

So as the end of the year approaches, I am feeling the urge to capture some of its highlights. Partly just so that I don’t forget them – I have an appalling memory – but also to celebrate my achievements, learn from my mistakes and hopefully make some plans for the year to come.

To do this properly, I am going to need to be honest, both about the things that happen to me and my feelings about them. I understand that this may not always show me in the best light, but surely that is part of the process? Sometimes I make stupid decisions and behave badly, put that is a part of me, and I will have to accept that. I could write a flattering version of events, pretend I have never said or done anything hurtful, but that wouldn’t teach me anything about myself. Plus it would be terribly dull to read…

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This is me.

My name is Jo. I am a single mother to two daughters, aged seven and 14, and I work at home in a variety of different hats – mostly at the moment a wooly one, as I am too tight environmentally aware to put the heating on during the day for just me.

My life is a weird combination of hectic and dull, complicated yet often boring. It’s a hard mix to bear sometimes and without another adult in the house to sound off at, I often find by bedtime that my mind is a swirling swamp of concerns, tasks for the next day and random thoughts about life, parenthood and the plot details of Flash Forward.

This blog is going to be my silent partner, the husband I have never had, the substitute for the man who would undoubtedly be subject to my daily musings and rantings, were he here to listen to them. This will also be the place I go to ask myself for advice. As a single parent, you have no one to consult – no one to share the responsibilities of decision-making. I am only young, I haven’t had any training for this, and sometimes I’m not sure of the right thing to do. When is it ok for a girl to have her ears pierced? I randomly settled on nine as a suitable age, based on absolutely nothing at all, but it would have been nice to have a second opinion. At what age is it ok for my teenager to have boys at her sleepovers? I really didn’t know the answer to this one and it feels wrong that I am expected to come up with sensible solutions to these kind of things all by myself.

I find the act a writing a cathartic one – it helps to clear my mind and work through problems. Perhaps by sharing any questions with my blog I will become the wise and sensible mother I have always wanted to be, rather than stumbling blindly from one issue to another.

Entwined with the day-to-day tedium that is parenting, I am searching for The One. My rational side knows he doesn’t exist, which does make the search frustrating and disappointing sometimes, but my supressed romantic side won’t let it go. Not surprisingly, as a work at home single mum my opportunities for meeting eligible bachelors are limited. It could be a long search…

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