Dont know what to do...

(17 Posts)
Andymak Tue 26-Nov-13 02:13:09

Just don't know what to do or how to go about things, my wife and I separated three months ago and we were sharing parental responsibility of our two girls (2&5), we still got on really well as friends so talked about everything to do with bringing them up, now suddenly and unexpectedly she has passed away and it is all down to me.

I have got through breaking the news, making sure they are ok and understand in their own ways what has happened, sorting some of the estate (not much to sort), and the funeral.

Now I have to think about working full time, sorting childcare and actually looking after the girls, potty training the youngest and so on.... all with minimal support.
Don't know where to start.... everyday stuff is ok as I can cook, know how the washing machine, iron, and vacuum cleaner all work and what to do with them.

Can anyone point me in the right direction for good advice on single parenting, also dealing with stress which seems a huge factor in my life at the moment....

Ruby6918 Tue 26-Nov-13 02:32:52

hi there im sorry to hear of your loss, first of ll its good that you are looking for advice. You are probably off work at the minute but if not ask your doctor for a sick line until you get your head around things. Gingerbread are great support for single parents and they can point you in the right direction for lots of advice and rights and support. Also contact you local community centre etc to see if they have any suggestions for childrens playgroups and nurseries etc which need to be in place before you return to work. If possible try to maintain a very regular routine with your day and the kids so as to ensure that things run as smoothly as possible, i know this will seem very difficult, contact a bereavement helpline liked Cruise and ask for advice many organisations offer play therapy for children in order for them to express their own grief. As any friends and relatives for help even if they are all able to do something small it will help you out and try not to feel you cant ask, many people will be glad to help but are afraid to seem too pushy. Try to eat as best you can as you will need your energy for the road ahead, and for your wee ones too.

I dont know if this has helped but i really wish you well and best wishes

EBearhug Tue 26-Nov-13 02:36:23

I'm sorry for your loss. I can't tell you anything about parenting - but it's all happened very suddenly, so please look after yourself as well as your children. Be kind to yourself. Grief can be a funny thing which hits you in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. Take any help that's offered. I wish you and your children the strength you'll need for the time ahead, as you work it out together. Best wishes to you.

Andymak Tue 26-Nov-13 13:46:20

Thank you for your comments, unfortunately work have insisted I return and get back to full time by end of year or it will hit my pay...

I know we have a Gingerbread group not that far away, and I have looked at Nelson's Journey as they deal with bereaved kids, we will sit down and do some of the activities they suggest to help the little people remember mummy.

Fortunately eldest is talking to friends and teachers, and very occassionally me as a last resort as she is scared of upsetting me, bless her! Her teachers let me know how she is so I am aware of how she is doing.

I have lots of small offers of help I just suppose it is working out who will see it through and be there to help with the little ones routine, and who just said it for something to say....

starlight1234 Tue 26-Nov-13 14:30:18

Firstly sorry to all of you for your loss.

It is a very difficult time for all of you..Take up offers of help...People often want to help but don't want to tread on toes.

For what its worth so much change in such a short time...Don't attempt poty training yet, don't change anything that isn't working..Sometimes, just been, playing games is enough..Go to the park.

Sometimes kids do talk more if they are doing something like a craft task or baking and it is just general chat...

Maybe you could just tell the oldest...Somethings you say may make me sad and that's ok because I loved your mummy and sometimes I feel sad she isn't here..but it is great she has someone she is talking to

antimatter Tue 26-Nov-13 14:42:28

I am very sorry for your loss.

I think having good routine and sticking to it would make your life easier in long run.
You have to decide if you can drop them off in the morning. Who is going to collect them.
Can you afford/would you consider a nanny or perhaps someone from your younger nursery could do the pick up in the afternoon.

Write out weekly meal plan. Gather recipes of meals you can cook and freeze in batches.

Accept all offers of help. Sometimes you will need 30 min cover or help with something seemingly unimportant now.
Try to negotiate working from home on some days.

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 26-Nov-13 18:36:39

So sorry for your loss. I think dealing with the practicalities 1st is probably the best option right now. You need to have a chat with HR in your work about flexible working arrangements, to see what options you have in terms of how and when you work while trying to cope with raising your DC. I think it would be wise to see what options you have before you make childcare arrangements. If you are able to work at home, or condense your hours, or get away early for school pick ups etc. you'll then have a better idea as to what other childcare you'll need.

I hope things settle and get a bit easier in time. Must be really hard on all of you.

Andymak Tue 26-Nov-13 23:00:44

Thanks all for your messages of support it means a lot, unfortunately work dont support home working for my job, I have to be there no-one else in the company does my job... They have agreed to an adjustment to my working hours until xmas, then ongoing subtle changes that will help.
We have a child minder for the mornings until school runs, and a limited time couple of funded sessions for the littlest one for 10 weeks which helps.
DWP are a pain, apparently I should qualify for bereaved parent allowance but they wont process that until I get a child benefit number which could take another 10 weeks! And I have now spent an hour trying to speak to someone at tax credits.... As for paying for it all god only knows... I am making that up as I go along :-(
I have three offers of help which I have accepted today which takes care of after school most of the week, just am conscious of becoming a burden on friends longer term.

The setting a menu plan is a great idea I cook (almost) everything from scratch so could spend kitchen time with eldest helping me prepare stuff, she would like that.

Once again thanks everyone...

TensionWheelsCoolHeels Tue 26-Nov-13 23:28:59

Andy, no one would think you were a burden at all. Anyone with a heart would know how difficult it is adjusting to such a huge life change and adjusting doesn't come with a fixed timescale. You'll find there will be times that you think it's all falling into place and then you get thrown a curve ball that floors you. If you have people around willing to help and support you, you won't stop needing that help after 3 or 6 or 9 months because you'll face different challenges at different times. So don't think that you should be self sufficient by x date or people will think badly of you. Understand that in situations like yours, when people want to and offer to help, they aren't doing it superficially or without a genuine desire to help ease your heavy burden. And those who stick around do so because they care. Don't struggle if there are people around you to lean on, because they are there for that reason.

retiredgoth2 Tue 26-Nov-13 23:35:42

You are in the right place- right here.

For parenting support at least- you will need other sorts of support even if you don't know it yet.

And I do know- the first Mrs Goth died suddenly 7 years ago, leaving me with four boys (two with special needs).

Have a look at merrywidow.org

I first learned of this site from someone there. You don't have to register or anything. You can just browse and dip in if it seems appropriate to you.

A word of advice- accept all help. I didn't and regret it. I felt a huge need to prove that I could cope- and was touchy and defensive about offers of help, wrongly interpreting it as criticism of me.

If I can be of aid in any way please feel free to contact me.

Good luck!

retiredgoth2 Tue 26-Nov-13 23:43:12

Oh and yes. You will get widowed parent allowance- it's the better part of £500 a month and is not taxable or means tested- perhaps this would allow you to decrease your hours once it is eventually processed. There is also a one off payment of £2000 (at least there was 7 years ago) to help with funeral expenses- have you received this?

retiredgoth2 Tue 26-Nov-13 23:46:52

One last organisation that may help you, WAY (widowed and young) have a strong local organisation base, and offer practical help as well as a social outlet which many find helpful.

I only went once, as I'm an A&E charge nurse and met two people there who I'd broken the bad news to. Really. Whilst they were lovely to me it just didn't seem appropriate to continue going.

cestlavielife Wed 27-Nov-13 10:41:35

sorry for your loss.
take all offers of help and support and expecially the bereavement charities.
do you have a good gp you can talk to?

do online shopping same things each week set a regualr delivery for basics and get a slow cooker ! it's so easy to throw chicken and veg in the morning and its ready in the evening. get a small one just for you if girls eat with cm. you need to keep eating propoerly.

you will need list of support if children are sick for emergency childcare - write a list with numbers - in order so who would you call first/second/third eg cm, family, friends... also check locally any babysitter or emergency nanny agencies.

you have right to emergency parental leave - see
www.workingfamilies.org.uk/ and call their helpline if needed.

and yes dont be afraid to ask for help - if someone says call me if you need anything then do this, you will know who is genuine.

Andymak Tue 03-Dec-13 00:53:16

Hi again all, thanks for your continued support, for retired Goth, Wow! Yes the £2K is still available.... As for bereaved parent benefit or whatever it's called now that will take some time, they wont process the claim until I have a child benefit number, child benefit are currently stating a delay of up to 12 weeks to complete a claim, so some time in February or March for it all to be sorted, hey round about the time the inquest will take place...
Will look at Merry widow.
Emergency parental leave, now that may well come in useful, although work are generally ok with the odd day here and there for emergencies, but it's good to know what you are entitled to.
Still finding painful hurdles to cross, like finally getting back what is described as 'the retrieved property' from her car hopefully at some point over the weekend.
Thankfully I now have three people around me that are pulling all the stops out to help with my little people which by default also helps me deal with everything else, and it is slowly coming together....

EBearhug Tue 03-Dec-13 22:26:46

Stick in there, Andy. Some of the bureaucracy makes a difficult time a whole lot worse, so I wish you the strength to get through it.

Andymak Wed 18-Dec-13 08:52:01

Thank you all for your support, now getting what I am entitled to from HM Govt! Waiting on my letters of administration to come through so I can get the last few bits of officialdom sorted out.
Christmas tree is up, most of the presents are wrapped, puddings are made, and my girls are doing the rounds of Christmas parties that little ones love to do.

Some friends have fallen by the wayside which is a shame as they were the ones saying we will do anything you need, and did for a month or so before starting to back away, but others have and are stepping up all the time for the little things.

Now have a rota neighbours who have children the same age and at the same school are picking up and dropping off, a close friend is staying a few days every other week to help out (think they love having the kids around them!), father in law does his couple of days a fortnight. I am finding the balance between doing things myself around the constriants of working full time and not leaning on any one individual to much, that way if they cant help for some reason I can cover it another way. It also means I don't feel so guilty about asking people for help as it should fit with their routines and be sustainable for everyone.

I hope you all have a great Christmas and a lovely New Year, and once again thanks....

Andymak Tue 21-Jan-14 08:24:44

Update - We I thought you would like to know we had a not to bad Christmas, the girls were spoilt by everyone, and there were many family members and friends on hand to make sure a good time was had by all.
Finally things are getting clear, I still have to deal with two insurance companies who wont even speak to me until I have letters of administration, which are in progress.
The tax office have finally settled how much extra tax I have to pay due to the widowed parents allowance (now they understand the situation)!
Some of our friends are helping us as they said they would, others find excuses as I expected.
The girls are doing ok at school, work are letting me do two afternoon school runs a week so I can keep in touch with the school.

We have the occassional wobble as is expected, but all in all we are finding our new normality, and it isn't as bad as we thought it was going to be.

Thank you all for your help, suggestions, and support, it is so appreciated.

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