How do you make a new life when you can't go out?

(17 Posts)
Thislife Sat 05-Apr-14 12:09:57

I have been on my own for over a year now and finding it difficult to build up a new life for myself. Two of my dc have special needs and it is difficult to find a babysitter for them for me to go out, ever. All I do is go to work and come home. I can't see how this is going to change as they get older as they will not become more independent but will become more difficult to look after.

I can occasionally go out in the daytime if they are in school. But that is when I will get the shopping done or attend an appointment.

I am not expecting to meet someone and have a relationship - that would be unrealistic. But I would love to do normal things like go to the cinema, meet a friend for a drink, go out for a meal, go to the gym, do an evening class, anything social. When there is an event I seem to be the only one who can't go.

Life as a family is lonely as it is difficult to do activities due to my dc's needs and people have stopped asking. I don't know if they assume we won't go or if they find the children difficult.

I don't have practical support from friends and family due to my dc's needs.

I suppose what I am asking for is how to be able to do stuff just in the daytime! Or do I just accept my lot in life and devote myself to the children, attend to their needs all day long, put them to bed and stay in forever.

Meglet Sat 05-Apr-14 12:15:29

I don't. It's been 5yrs and I've gone out approx once a year (not in 18 months though). Work and the dc's comes first. When I go to the gym I don't have time to chat. If I didn't work I'd have a life (I could stop and chat, meet people for over a cup of tea!), but at least we have a roof over our head and I'll have a pension when I'm older <sigh>.

STIDW Sat 05-Apr-14 18:29:15

When our children where younger I decided the only way to have a social life would be would be to include them even if they were in bed. I invited friends round for a meal, took the children to Ramblers or a lunch time pub folk session. From there we moved on to people staying with us or us staying with them, BBQs, outings, self catering weekends and joining in the folk sessions after the children learned to play instruments. At first it seemed strange being a single parent but we developed long term multi generational family friendships with other single parents, singles and couples and their children. Most of the single parents and children are now in couples and some of the couples are single!

I know a woman who has a job (either NHS or independent charity funded, not sure which) where she visits families with special needs DC to give the parents some respite.

She is trained in caring for children with a wide range of additional needs.

Maybe something like that is available in your area?

I hope you find a way.

PigletUnrepentant Mon 07-Apr-14 22:17:38

Try to find about respite services in your area, they are often ruled by family volunteers who agree to care for children or adults with special needs so you can have some time on your own.

It would also be a good idea to ask at the job centre if you could receive any help (carers) to help you care for your children, it is not uncommon for certain disabilities.

In a more general note, I found that keeping a strict bed time routine, allowed me some time to invite friends for dinner or even coffee and cake. It also helped to help me find a baby sitter. I don't know how useful this suggestion could be, I know many children do not need much sleep no matter how hard you try to get them to bed at a reasonable hour.

cestlavielife Mon 07-Apr-14 23:28:03

Have you had a carers assessment ?
What respite do the dc access ?

Tho it doesn't solve everything ... After work and doing evening meal etc I am pretty much exhausted. Don't get out much ... And it can be costly .

My son is nearly 18 with asd sld so I am looking to move him to supported living nearby so I can join a choir or do some other local evening group . It is just too costly to do something that regular even with the respite.. I use those hours on weekend day time.

MexicanSpringtime Tue 08-Apr-14 16:12:19

You have my sympathy, I only had one healthy child but when there is no money how do you pay for a babysitter. Even the Gingerbread organisation in Dublin where I was living at the time met at 8 pm on a school night.

As I don't know what special needs your children, I don't know if this is relevant, but my getting out and about was through my daughter's after-school activities.

Thislife Tue 08-Apr-14 23:21:19

Thanks for your replies everyone.

Cestlavie, what is a carer's assessment and how do I get one?

I have respite for one child on a Saturday for a couple of hours. But I spend that time with my other child. I would just love to go out of an evening, just once a month say!

sezamcgregor Wed 09-Apr-14 10:00:36

Contact your local SureStart and ask them for their advice. They'll have a list of local charities and organisations specially made for parents of children with SN.

We have a charity run thing near me (Derbyshire) called FairPlay. They arrange playdays for SN children and give parents a chance to leave their children to play while they can chat to other parents. I'm sure there must be others around the country.

You could also ask your DC's school - or, get onto Mumsnet local and other parenting websites with similar names and see if you can find other parents in the area with SN children. It only took for my DC to get referred to the Ed Psyc for his behaviour and I was a magnet for mums with SN children who couldn't wait to share their stories and suggest playschemes etc.

If there isn't a group of mums in your area already, why don't you ask your SureStart centre if you could start one? My local centre has a monthly meeting and I'm setting up a single parents meeting soon too.

I hope that helps!

cestlavielife Wed 09-Apr-14 14:06:38

social services have to do a carers assessment if you request - this can help boost the amount of respite you get.

www.nhs.uk/CarersDirect/guide/assessments/Pages/Carersassessments.aspx

"As a parent carer of a disabled child under 18. In this case, you have a right to a separate assessment of your own if the assessment for the child under the Children Act does not fully take account of your needs. "

similar to you, when son is at respite I am with the other dc so don't get benefit from respite for just me....I am just waiting til kids a bit older...

I second what STIDW says about making your kids part of your social life. I've formed a group of friends from the playgroup we go to.

We meet at each others houses, let the kids play, or maybe sleep over while we have wine and a gossip. We go on outings occasionally, that sort of thing.

Plus we have had a couple of nights out in the past year when we have been able to sort out babysitting.

You can't.

nirishma Sun 20-Apr-14 16:06:03

My mum volunteers for homestart if you would be interested? She's ended up really good friends with the mums she visited. Sounds like u need a break from the kids and just enjoy an adult conversation. You can have someone visit you weekly if you like. Not sure if they do evening or weekend visits but would definitely recommend it because they organise social activities for the kids and parents quite regularly so it's a good chance to meet other people in your situation, make a few friends etc

www.home-start.org.uk/findsupport/family_stories/isolation

FlatCapAndAWhippet Sun 20-Apr-14 16:18:37

I have been out in the evening with friends, three times in four years.
Imo you can't make a life for yourself outside of being a single mum with no one to help.

equinox Mon 21-Apr-14 07:53:47

If you look online www.childcare.co.uk you may well find a babysitter in your area who is willing to sit in for your children. However all this costs.

I have found one again recently on this site - believe it or not I didn't know it existed before! I used to find them on netmums.

If you get babysitters who are 16 - 18 then they don't charge minimum wage until they turn 18 and become more qualified etc. Try and get one who is into childcare as a job of some kind. For example although I have yet to try mine out - she is studying childcare locally and I have seen her up to date original police check and met her dad they both came round and she is 16. She will charge £4.

If they are 18 plus then dependant upon circumstances/training etc. they will charge minimum wage which to me is impossible as I have no family support whatsoever, an ex who I have disallowed from seeing our boy as he turned violent in the recent imes and my son is now 9 he is ok about me going out in moderation (children can get a bit possessive!).

I must say however I do resent the fact I will have to pay for childcare so I have yet to try her out although I may well do even if it is just once or twice a month.

The other alternative is swaps with fellow parents but I am not into that idea I prefer to do it independently.

Lioninthesun Mon 21-Apr-14 08:03:26

Once the kids are in bed is it possible for you to get a babysitter over so you can have a night out every so often? I have a group of mum friends and we try to do this every few months. Going out isn't as amazing now though as you always have to be up at the crack of dawn hangover or not. I don't enjoy it as much as I used to and find it takes me a while to relax into a night.
I find it is much nicer to do loads of things in the day.

If you think your friends can't handle your DC perhaps it is time to meet some new ones with similar needs to your DC? Day trips or play-dates with other families are great or spreading the load and spending time with DC.

Also as said above having people over after DC are in bed works. I am always amazed at how deeply DD sleeps! This way you could catch up with people who don't have kids one on one.

I always think how much money I am saving compared to the old me going out every other night, and how much better my health must be for it! I was a bit of a party girl though wink

superstarheartbreaker Sat 26-Apr-14 22:11:26

I have been out a lot since dd was born and I have no ex on the scene. I do have fab babysitters though and my dad will sit. I am not loaded but I do try to make me time. Happy mum= happy kids.

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