Are you a single parent like yours truly? Do you live on a barge like this one behind me? Or have you, like me, had two pairs of sunglasses snapped in half by your child since this photo was taken and want to tell someone about it? If so, this guest post series is for you!
I guess you could say that we are an “Alternative Family,” Piglet and I.
I’m not sure that I like the term.
It seems to suggest that we are different, somehow, to the norm; that we are anomalies. I’m not sure that this is the case. We are a single parent family, but so are many others. Piglet is donor-conceived, but so are many other children-a surprisingly high number, it seems to me, but then maybe I just notice it more because I have so many connections with other parents in similar situations. We also live with my mother at the moment, but even that, in these days of rising rents, unaffordable homes and the boomerang generation, is not unusual.
And it’s far from undesirable, however much my mother and I may disagree about our different parenting styles. Sometimes I imagine that we are like one big happy extended clan, living in a tent in the desert with three or four generations all helping each other out. Or some sort of idealistic utopian Golden Age where we all wore our babies on our backs in colourful wraparound shawls and lived in hippy communes growing our own vegetables and living off the grid.
However, I do sometimes feel adrift. As though I am not quite in the parenting club. As though my role as mother is being usurped by my own mother; as though I have a child who, with his unknown paternity and overly medicalised conception and birth, isn’t really my own. As though I can’t join in with the stories of weddings and partners and finding time for date night, because it’s so far from my own experience. And then I remember, all families are different. They all have their own idiosyncrasies, their own features which don’t conform to the accepted norm-whatever that is-whether they be ex-pats, same-sex, blended families, single parent families……who isn’t part of an “alternative” family?
And so I decided to create this guest post series, for all the “alternative” families out there. Families with children or without, families in all their myriad forms. Anyone who considers themselves in to be in any way part of an “alternative” family is welcome.
That would be most us, right?
If you would like to be part of a guest post series on Alternative Families, please contact me on Twitter @babyorbankrupt or Facebook and let’s hear all about what makes your family unique.