I must admit I puzzled over the Census. What on earth do you do if you don’t have a traditional nuclear family? We have two adults who are permanent residents, and a floating population of four children, with two separate other homes. So sometimes we are six, sometimes four. Sometimes we are two. And often any number in between, what with sleepovers and my teenagers’ incesssant quest to escape the building chaos by billeting themselves with anyone else who’ll have them.
It also wasn’t clear whether we were only talking about people who were staying in the house on the fateful census day. The questions said ‘usually’. Well, we are ‘usually’ four. On census day, as it happened, we were two. But the day before we had been seven. And I wasn’t sure whether I should be filling the form in anyway on behalf of Mr X, who after all usually lives outside the country and might not have felt co-operative with the UK powers that be. So I sat down and filled in six whole different people. What is the relationship of Number 6 to Numbers 5,4,3,2 and 1? By the time I’d got to this point my head was not just swimming, it was doing the butterfly stroke. And then I had doubts. Well, possibly they were raised by actually reading the small print on the back page, which said children with more than one home should be registered in the home they were in at the time of the census. So I threw the whole lot in the bin and did a simplified version online.
It does make you think. Life is very complicated. Life as a parent and step parent is even more complicated. And by the way, when do you tick the box for ‘step parent’ and when do you tick for ‘unrelated’? Is it just a state of mind, or a marital status thing? I have no idea.
This makes the quest for love second time round seem even braver. I won’t say stupider, though sometimes that’s how it feels. Anyway, luckily Donna Air is not quite as cynical. The TV actress and MTV presenter has just started a blog, which is to appear on eHarmony.co.uk about her dating experiences. I must say I am looking forward to reading it. It’s hard to imagine that Donna has ever had a moment’s trouble in getting a date – look at the picture below, for heaven’s sake – but presumably she’s got a book’s worth of tales. I’ve heard some horrific stories from friends who’ve tried internet dating – the man who habitually cut up bras is just one – so I’ll be interested to see who Donna encountered on her travels. And whether she succeeded in finding Mr Right. Hope she did, I’m a sucker for a happy ending. Obviously.