Daughter coming home for xmas from uni

(55 Posts)
12snowleopard34 Wed 12-Dec-12 20:37:26

Can anyone let me know what they think about this because I feel my daughter is being a typical selfish teenager and I'm getting upset with her attitude. Since she left home she's 'loving her new life' which consists of eating junkfood out each day, going to sleep at 4am and blowing all her money. She says she has not been homesick at al. She is in London and has had a max maintenance loan and uni bursary top-up which she has been able to buy a new tablet with, clothes and eating out every day. She refuses to use the halls kitchen as 'it's gross'. I'm a single mum, hard working as a gardener (self employed) and going to uni myself part-time to try and make a better life for myself as being a single parent seemed to run me into the ground; I don't think I've coped well at all. Due to all the benefit changes when your child goes to uni we had to get rehoused by the council under homelessness prevention which I was so grateful for. Now I'm trying to rebuild my life in a new town where I don't know anyone. I set up Skype to talk to my daughter and she's always yawning, and normally stuffing her face with some junk.
Today, I have been working at a customers garden in -2degress for the last 6 hours and the maintenance money her father pays she wanted to know if she could have the £40 as she was worried about getting taxi to train station to return home which actually is just continuing the life style until she returns home with a large bump back to reality. My rent and bills are all paid, but how am I going to get the xmas tree, afford a turkey and get all the xmas food?. I'm sleeping on a matress on the floor and in the lounge we will be sitting on sun loungers as we have no furniture. I had to sell what little I had to pay for the move. When my daughter started going on about which restaurant she was going to to get her dinner from tonight I just said what different worlds we lived in, as I was thinking about making sure Ive got enough money to get to the train station to collect her, fill up the fridge with food and sort out xmas. Some nights when I have to watch her stuffing her face on boxes of chocolates on Skype I've actually skipped a proper meal. When I told her about what I was thinking about she said she was tired and wasn't going to get into all this again - so I said fine and that was the end of tonights enlighteneing conversation. She always says she's ;left home now, is an adult, but I guess I'm ok to come home to for a free roof, food and 3 suitcases of dirty washing to be done when the halls rent stops until she gets the next load of debt to blow. She's already announced how shes going to Ghana in the summer on a trip 'which her bursary can pay for', so I guess I won't have to worry about any holiday we might have planned. She had a job at Homebase which was left open for her, but now she doesn't want to have to work in holidays.....I guess its abit below her now that kind of job....especially when youve got a doormat mum?!

I'm feeling like crap at the moment as it was onkly this morning I was working out how to try and feed 2 mouths for the next month - to be honest I'm dreading her coming back. When she first left I was really upset, but she kept saying never mind its your empty nest syndrome!. I was a good mum to her and gave up so much to support her education so she had the life chances I never had, and this is the thanks I get :/

CabbageLeaves Wed 12-Dec-12 22:19:11

You haven't failed. You just feel low.

Your DC leaving home does make you question life and measure how you did. When they waltz off merrily making it clear they are soooooo happy to leave home it feels like a kick in the teeth. It is however... normal and a sign that you've brought up an adult ready to face the world.

Keep trudging on burying the hurt but being open and honest about how things are and she will one year come back to you in terms of your relationship

Scrazy Wed 12-Dec-12 22:23:07

Every student is getting into debt. My DD is coming home for xmas and I will struggle to feed us both too but I will do it somehow. I will expect her to contribute in the summer for 3 months as she will be able to get a job here.

I think they are selfish at this age and still think of home as being free, even though mine is aware that I haven't got lots of spare money and I've told her she needs to budget for her own spending money over the holiday.

Can you not ask her to contribute to her food which is really the only extra cost. If she isn't paying for halls in the Christmas holidays (mine is) then she could contribute a bit more.

I think the Ghana trip is a great idea if she can finance it herself. She is old enough to holiday without you now.

Mine is working hard and I say that as long as she can finance herself out of her student finance then I won't nag her to get a term time job. They are advised to put full time hours into uni to do well.

Snog Wed 12-Dec-12 22:25:09

What is it about being a. Mum that is hard right now?

Scrazy Wed 12-Dec-12 22:25:11

I do understand how you feel though. I feel bad that although I work full-time I don't earn much and cannot help mine out. Makes you realise how much you have sacrificed, career wise, to do the good job of bringing them up.

MistressIggi Wed 12-Dec-12 22:27:41

I can remember arriving home for Xmas from uni with literally coppers in my purse, and no more till the next term's money came through. However my parents weren't struggling the way you are. Is she protected from knowing about just how badly off you are just now? Or just not able to take it in?
Let her eat what she wants, she is probably eating out to be sociable and will tire of it. Part of going to uni is pulling away from family and gaining independence. I probably phoned my mum once a month from uni - fast forward almost 20 years and I'm on the phone every other day!

Scrazy Wed 12-Dec-12 22:34:04

My maintenance (for what it was worth) stopped in August. Is her dad still giving you maintenance for her?

12snowleopard34 Wed 12-Dec-12 22:48:01

SCRAZY> Yes, I think what I find upsetting about her eating out and blowing the maintenance loan rather than being more sensible is that the level of debt she is getting into (including all the compund interest) is huge and would scare me in terms of paying it back fully. It is this rather than my daughter enjoying herself - of course I want her to have a good time etc.
I can probably like you just get through a frugal Xmas, and I think that getting her to think about the summer is a good idea as in get a job etc.
In terms of food it just makes me feel awful having to be in the position of accepting money from my own daughter. I think this is what erodes my self-confidence.
I know she is able to holiday without me....the Ghana trip is a charity self-funded event to help local communities which is fantastic.....it would be nice if she expressed some small degree of interest in spending some time with me over the summer?.

I gave up a good career to be there for my daughter, taking lesser pay with hours which enabled me to juggle everything....weve got dyslexia in the family so I spent quite alot of time helping her out with revision etc....

Its nice to hear from you as it sounds as if weve both sacrificed. Im dyslexic so I struggle with many day to day things which sort of gets me down too.

12snowleopard34 Wed 12-Dec-12 23:05:51

SCRAZY> Yes in August I lost Child Benefit, tax credits....the huge instant dr
op in income meant I couldn't keep private sector rent going for a 2 bed home as I don't earn enough Thats why the council housed us as emergency else we would have been homeless. I was keeping the rent paid but there wasnt enough for food. The tax credits etc don't take into consideration that students actually need a home to come home to! Its difficult trying to provide a 2 bed home on you own on a single persons tax credit allowance and wage and feed 2 mouths and to do everything

So in Sept we were housed in a strange small town miles from anywhere we know (better than being homeless) and then within a week after being uprooted she was off to another strange place. It was awful.

The maintenance her dad gave was in dribs and drabs and to be honest he has been useless....I tried to get them to have a relationship but she was angry at him and well it was easier for him to deposit cash every now and then and shirk his responsibility. I've done everything like many other single mums have to....and it has worn me down. Now he gives and does nothing as she's 'an adult' and told her to get a job if she didnt have any money, which was hardly helpful. She did get a job in HomeBase for a few weeks before uni started and saved her wages to pay for the halls deposit whilst I kept everything else going.

lopsided Wed 12-Dec-12 23:15:20

It sounds like you've had a tough few months. Your daughter sounds just like a student in her first term. Kind of self absorbed.

Don't begrudge her a good time. You would be upset if she phoned you crying everyday. I'm afraid that as a parent you rarely get thanks, but you can tell her that things will be a bit tight over Christmas and ask her to help out.

PickledInAPearTree Wed 12-Dec-12 23:16:48

The debt is scary. Hopefully she can calm down a bit now would she listen if you just had a chat about that bit?

I had a job in a pub when I was in university and I really enjoyed it.

I still have student loans though.

iwantanafternoonnap Wed 12-Dec-12 23:17:15

I know lots of people that can keep a place going without any benefits or help though and live in private rent. I am a single parent and don't get any benefits at all and have a mortgage to pay of £900 and I earn £24,000 a year. I know people that earn less and still manage to pay their rent and go out and on holidays.

Sorry if that is not helpful but I am struggling to see how you can be so poor if you are not providing anything for your daughter yet still live in council housing.

blueraincoat Wed 12-Dec-12 23:29:46

I'm really sorry I don't understand, are you contributing to this lifestyle she has? If not I don't think you can really moan about it. The money is her loan and if she chooses to squander it that is her problem a long as she doesn't ask you for more. Eventually your daughter will have a job (hopefully in this climate) and pay it back through PAYE. It is not a regular loan, its not like the government are going to send the bailiffs round. I think of mine more as another form of tax.

She needs to learn how to budget money and that will come and that is her problem. I understand you are struggling but you sound jealous more than anything. Sorry. She is young and has just left home and has had £1000 a term (or whatever it is now) handed to her. This is all part of it.

EuroShopperEnergyDrink Thu 13-Dec-12 03:23:28

Absolute fucking nonsense. The OP is jealous? Her daughter is acting like a complete brat while her mum has been left in the lurch. Not saying she should be sending her loan money home- but perhaps being able to phone her and have a conversation without yawning.

She sounds vile, OP. And I know she won't want to listen- but soon she'll be out in the real world, with no cushy loan. What course is she doing? Where? Is she getting good grades? If Russell Group graduates with good work ethics and full CVs are struggling- no one is safe in today's grad job market.

Sooner yet- when she starts her second year, she'll need to budget for bills and other costs in private accommodation. It's easy to fall in the security of halls where everything is pretty much there for you, and if the hot water goes off or the light breaks- you just call the maintenance man.

I may sound harsh, but as a student who didn't have enough money to cover her rent (by 1000s, not 100 quid) and relied on my lovely parents handouts and working 25 hours a week to get by- it genuinely makes me feel ill to see someone squandering that loan money in such a way, especially when their poor mum is struggling at home. sad

CabbageLeaves Thu 13-Dec-12 04:56:17

I agree that when all benefits/maintenance stop as they head to uni there is the assumption that you no longer provide anything for them. My living costs have gone down (water and food) but I still pay the same mortgage and she's heading home for a month for Christmas (Easter and summer will bring it to 4 months at home a yr?)

So yes outgoings can reduce, but housing needs remain.

OP made career choices to enable her to bring up child single handed and give her support enough to go to uni. It is a sacrifice (given because you love so given unconditionally but it's human to want that to be acknowledged)

In a divorce court OP would be given spousal maintenance to recognise financial impact on her of this. Sounds like any divorce/financial support is sketchy and unreliable (fairly common for many)

I suspect OP feels distressed and inadequate at finding herself unable to keep the same house for DD (and herself) distressed at the change in location into a strange town, distressed at loss of her girl and distressed at the sense that said girl is squandering cash which seems so precious to OP right now.

You do wonder (I have) where you went so badly wrong as a parent. To have tried so hard to get it right and then the one thing that you worked so hard for (successful, rounded happy child) seems to be making poor life choices... When you're feeling low yourself? It is a sad feeling. However OP : the bit about child making poor choices... I suspect every parent has had some point wondered where their child will end up. Being cash happy at first term at uni is NORMAL. Your DD is almost definitely relieved to feel financially comfortable because poverty is tough and she's enjoying that feeling of not being poor. Don't take that away from her. Do give her good solid advice about budgeting.

She will make mistakes and have to learn from them. It's painful being a parent at times but it is time to step back and think of yourself now. Put you first and your DD who will be doing the same, will feel less guilt over leaving. That guilt could come between you. Move into an adult relationship now.

blueraincoat Thu 13-Dec-12 07:57:27

OP does sound jealous... How her life is so awful and her daughter is living the life of riley. Was her daughter meant to go to university and live in the same way she has had to at home just so her mum felt ok? She is an adult and she is making life choices and I think you need to accept that even if you don't agree with them, she will soon learn she also has responsibilities.

I get the impression that you talk to her a lot on Skype? Perhaps you should cut down on this, I think I would find it hard having to talk to my mum if the conversations were frequent and constant digs. Maybe if it is less frequent you will have nicer conversations?

I do agree with the bit about thinking about yourself, stop being so hung up on what your daughter is doing and focus on making new friends and a support network in your new village. smile

Scrazy Thu 13-Dec-12 10:23:26

snowleopard, Sounds like your are feeling similar to me. Your DD doesn't sound vile at all and I am pleased that she is happy at uni. I'm sure you are too.

I completely get that you are finding it tough. I can keep my head above water financially, on my salary, with just myself to provide for. They come home and you want to be able to look after them, just as you always have when you had some help via cb, tax credits. They are getting loans to support themselves and the amount of debt breaks my heart. Especially this years cohort, look what this shower has put them through, tripling fees. They hear all their friends talking about going home for free food and you feel useless, struggling with it.

Of course, they should be making sure their loans/bursaries cover them for 52 weeks of the year but they don't think like that.

At DD's uni, they withdrew a bursary from last year that she would have been entitled to, last minute. The uni office admit they don't know what is happening wrt finance. Mine is miles away and it costs a lot of money for her to travel home and she really could have done with more help.

^I know lots of people that can keep a place going without any benefits or help though and live in private rent. I am a single parent and don't get any benefits at all and have a mortgage to pay of £900 and I earn £24,000 a year. I know people that earn less and still manage to pay their rent and go out and on holidays.

Sorry if that is not helpful but I am struggling to see how you can be so poor if you are not providing anything for your daughter yet still live in council housing.^

Good for you Iwant hmm although I'm sure as a single parent you will be receiving child benefit? On £24k you are entitled to a small amount of tax credits too, even for one child with no child care. Do you not claim these then?

Maybe the OP doesn't earn £24k or anything like that amount, so telling her that you manage fine is stupid not helpful at all.

Snow I think that such a massive upheaval for both of you was always going to be hard. Let her make her own way home, and tell her why, it will be a lesson in advance planning for her grin Enjoy christmas as best you can with whatever you are able to do and try to keep telling yourself that things will get better and you won't always feel like this. Things always seem worse this time of year imo. Your DD will never have another first term at Uni and I'm sure she will settle into a more responsible routine soon.

PickledInAPearTree Thu 13-Dec-12 10:53:12

I don't see how some people can say this girl is vile based on the post.

She is being insensitive, yawning and eating junk food, spending a bit too much on clothes and having fun - sounds pretty standard to me.

cestlavielife Thu 13-Dec-12 11:18:00

"I gave up a good career to be there for my daughter, taking lesser pay with hours which enabled me to juggle everything....weve got dyslexia in the family so I spent quite alot of time helping her out with revision etc....
"

and it paid off right? she got into uni. be proud.
her debts? well you can offer suggestions on budgeting but is her choice now.

i totally get that you feel sad and upset and having to move cant have been good. but that is more about you than her really. have you considered getting gp to refer you to free sessions of counselling on nhs just to look at ways to build your self esteen etc now you on your own ? and in new year look into ways to get involved in your new town, volunteering or book groups or other activities ? build a new life for you. can you get back into your good career, retraining or ?

iwantanafternoonnap Thu 13-Dec-12 13:40:52

I was mearly pointing out that there are plenty of single people that don't get those benefits that manage fine and still have a life. I know lots of single people that are on various wages and some much less than mine that manage to pay their rent. So yes I do find it hard that OP is moaning about money when she isn't actually spending any money on her daughter. It may not have been helpful to say but seriously she is moaning about buying a christmas dinner for her own child and begrudging her daughter a life hmm

No I don't claim tax credits as I have no child care and I work extra shifts to pay for any extras. Child benefit goes into his savings account because I never want to get used to having something that might be taken away.

The more the OP has posted the more it sounds like she is very jealous and doesn't even want her daughter home. TBH I now feel that if the OP was my mum I wouldn't bother coming home. I know that when/if my DS goes to uni I will have scrimped together enough for a bloody turkey and not be whinging about buying the child I decided to have food. I would be damn well looking forward to them coming home and enjoying spending some time with him and listening to to his tales about uni life.

Scrazy Thu 13-Dec-12 14:00:47

Iwant, if I was earning £24,000 then I wouldn't need to worry about feeding an adult child either. Perhaps the OP doesn't have your income level. Would you struggle a little on £18,000?

iwantanafternoonnap Thu 13-Dec-12 21:08:18

All I am trying to say is that their are plenty of adults with no children and therefore on no child based benefits that manage okay and have a bit of a life. I know plenty that survive on less than £18,000 and no they wouldn't grumble at feeding an adult on christmas day at all. I have been on a lot less than I am on now and still paid my rent, bills and never once moaned if anyone came round for dinner or came to stay.

It is christmas ffs and it is the OP's daughter not some sodding stranger! If OP can't afford for her to come home then she should tell her to not bother and then OP can spend her christmas on her own and only have to worry about feeding herself.

Scrazy Thu 13-Dec-12 21:26:44

No of course her DD isn't a stranger and I'm sure we all love our adult children. I know I do but it doesn't take away the fact that some people on a tight budget might struggle to provide for them and Christmas is especially expensive. It's not just a day, it's getting on for a month

OP I would ask for a small contribution.

12snowleopard34 Fri 14-Dec-12 00:07:43

Thanks everyone for your comments. I would like to defend myself to the mums who think I am jealous of my daughter and that I am moaning as I 'cant manage on benefits' and begrudge having to 'buy my daughter her christmas lunch.'

Firstly I would like to say that at 16 I was homeless due to family breakdown. I worked 6 nights a week in a kitchen, then put myself through A levels holding down 2 part-time jobs as there were no free hand outs for 'kids like me' in those days. I lived in a bed-sit. I'm 44 now. I got my A Levels but couldnt go to uni as there were no loans....grants were only given if parental income was below a certain level. I was entitled to nothing as believe it or not abusive backgrounds do happen within the financially wealthy community. I then progressed and with the help of a friend got myself a full time job in catering sales which I held down for 10 years, buying my own home at 21. Unfortunately if those of you who have made these comments remeber, there was a recession around late 1980's - I was in negative equity for about 6 years. I then met my husband who I was married to for 13 years, hence the arrival of my daughter. I worked throughout my pregnancy full time and then when she was born worked part-time reverting back to full time when she was 2.5yrs old. I stuck through a loveless marrage for my daughter as being a single mum is not really something I have ever wanted for myself or my daughter. My husband set up a business which I helped greatly in to provide a 'better life' which coincideded with my daughter who was starting to have problems in school with dyslexia undiagniosed. I fought the system to try and get her support but nothing came to fruition. As I have always valued education as a way out of poverty ( you soon learn that when you have to 'beg') I decided that I would do everything I could to help her. I worked more in the business and from nothing, over an 8 year period we created a business which ended up employing 8 full time staff and paid thousands out in corporation tax (unlike Starbucks!). With my daughter still struggling I eventually got her diagnised and then we made a huge sacrifice and paid for private schooling so that she didnt end up, like I was at 16, pissed in the park, truanting as an undiagnosed dyslexic. Maybe those of you making these comments know about the destruction dsylexia brings if you dont get the right help?. My daughter then started doing well in school, but unfortunately due to a bad business decision and the start of the recession in 2005-7 the business bvecame unprofitable....like many other successfull businesses that go to the wall when the MP's fuck up the economy. We lost our home and my marriage then broke down and I was left with nothing apart from my daughter which was and is the only thing that matters to me....yes still! - for those of you who are skeptical about the sort of mother I am. The school fees could not be afforded so rather than dumping my daughter back into the system that systematically fails dyslxic kids I actually home educated with private tutors to get her through GCSE's and ran a new business from home whilst paying back business debts. (She did go to a state school and lasted 3 days, thats why I did home education). Throughout her A levels I helped her alot and basically gave everything I could.....I eventually got rid of all the debts but my mental health suffered and to be honest I cant cope with everything as well now as I used to. When you run a business for those who never have, I would just like to say that you reach a point where you can only earn so much yourselves B4 you have to take on staff. Due to my ill-health I decided not to once again provide work for others. I continue to work as a self employed person under £24k with no paid holidays, sick pay plenty of overheads etc few rights!! - he reason for this is because my dyslexia affects my written work and processing speed.

Back to my daughter - ...My daughter is only 17 at uni... so again for all of you who think I am jealous is mere fabrication of the factual reality that my daughter is not legally an adult! > Gasp....how come she's at uni.?!! It is because with my help I enabled her to end up in a London uni (many of which describe as elitist!) so that she never has to 1) rely on a man to support herself locked into a loveless marrage, 2) never end up like me, 3)to have the opportunity to fulfil her potentail.

So it is not jealousy, that I find my daughters behaviour worrying. In actual fact I am proud of her achievements and she is a great kid, but acting very out of character.
In terms of my financial situation, yes, it is ok for those in jobs with all the security it brings and those in lower paid jobs with tax credit top ups...but as I found out it is a trap living on benefits and worjkign because when your child goes to uni and the benefits stop unless you have that great job then well yes, pop goes the bubble.
And I am not a scrounger - far from it. I hit hard times and have survived - just and I am not ashamed to say that yes I am struggling, which is why I work and study part-time degree in the vague hope that with dyslexia support myself that I may just be able to land myself that nice 24k job whilst provide a home for my daughter to come home to for actually 24 weeks of the year.

Last night I prayed for a miracle to happen so that I could actually be able to provide a proper Xmas for my daughter, who incidentally tonite is enjoying herself out on the piss end of term partying which I am thrilled about especially if she gets banged up for drunk and disorderly underage!. So without trying to sound too jealous of this possibility that she could end up in serious trouble, Im glad to say that when she returns home good old mum has just landed herswelf a new client today which will now pay the months rent for a days work each week.

Im not religious but it does make you wonder if there is someone watching over you....

PickledInAPearTree Fri 14-Dec-12 00:11:18

Good news about the job.

I thought your daughter was getting a hard time not from you as such but some other posters.

Hopefully this is the two of you onwards & upwards isn't it. grin

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