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Sex and the single mum

There are two types of people who pay to have sex. The first type is pretty obvious, so I don't need to go explaining. The second type of person is a single mum. Yes, you read that right. It costs a lot of money to have a social life, never mind a sex life, and the truth is that poverty forces celibacy on many single mums.

First of all the price of childcare is ridiculous. A babysitter costs ¤10 an hour which she gets in cash and sticks in her pocket. So while the single mum heads out into the freezing cold on a Friday night, the babysitter gets cosy on the sofa with a nice cup of tea and your DVDs that you've never even had time to watch yourself.

The single mum probably gets the bus into town because taking a taxi would cost approximately ¤10 -- and that would mean an hour less of the babysitter.

The single mum must remember to be home before midnight, just like Cinderella, so that the babysitter can get the last bus home. If she misses it, the single mum will be expected to pay for her taxi.

Any girl planning a night out knows that socialising is an expensive business. By the time you get your hair blow-dried (€25), taxi (€10), drinks (€40) babysitter (€50), nightclub entrance (€10), cloakroom and bus (€5), you are already at €140, and that is not even including buying something new to wear, nor the price of a kebab on your way home!

If you're paying that kind of money you'd want to be damned sure you were going to have a good time. But, as we all know, when you're under pressure to have fun the results are usually anything but. The chances are that you drink too much, lose your coat, keys/phone/purse/ friend, and get into an argument at a taxi rank while freezing your feet off in too tight heels.



shivering

As you stand shivering at said taxi rank you start becoming resentful as you imagine the babysitter nice and warm and comfortable in your house, eating your choccy biccies with no queue for the bathroom, or indeed some ignoramus bumping into her and spilling half his pint on her head. No wonder the single mum thinks twice before heading out on the town! But when the single mum is in a relationship, things get even trickier.

Who minds baby when you want some, eh, private time with your beau? It's awkward. You cannot ask the babysitter to stay in the next room with a TV turned up loud, can you? And if you want to stay away for the night in a hotel, well, the babysitter nightly rate is about €80-€100.

Paying a babysitter plays havoc with your love life. It's not easy to enjoy any sort of foreplay with one eye firmly on the clock. Forget seduction scenes with rose petals and candles. There isn't time for that. Time is money so hurry up, why don't you? I admit it's all terribly unromantic but that's life.

Single mums must organise their lives with military precision andbudget accordingly. Spontaneity is a thing of the past. Boyfriends cannot roll up unannounced and suggest a drive. They must call a week in advance in case your babysitter has exams, a date of her own, or is minding somebody else's kids that night.

I've had a few dates since becoming a mum. They were usually spent with me checking my phone every few minutes to see if baby Gary was okay and mentally totting up the hours I was paying the babysitter, the same way as you might anxiously check the taxi meter when sitting in a traffic jam.

One time, I invited a date around to mine to watch a DVD, but Gary would not go to sleep and kept yelling that he wanted to watch Peppa Pig on the DVD player. I used to think that if I won the lotto, I would go on a three-month cruise, or install a swimming pool in the garden.

Now my priorities have totally changed. If I could afford it, I would hire a day nanny, a night nanny and a spare nanny in order to have round-the-clock coverage! But until then I can only dream . . .


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