Feeling like I have no quality of life. Any advice on how to improve things?

(13 Posts)
atomic999 Tue 31-May-16 12:06:29

Hi. I am a single mum to 4 children - age 14,12, 8 and 3. I've been on my own for a long time now and I function really well. My children are happy and have everything they need and I'm great at being well organised, getting things done but this is part of the problem. I know I am not depressed and I feel really annoyed with myself for feeling sorry for myself occasionally but I am starting to feel like I have absolutely no quality of life. I don't have any family other than a disabled Mother who I don't have a close relationship with and because of her disabilities and age she is not a source of support. I have a few friendships but I feel like I am a really unreliable friend, as I'm that busy either working (I'm self employed) or running round after the kids I don't often see my friends - I live in a rural area and I simply can't afford to go out so nobody really invites me anymore anyway - but it would cost me £25 in taxis to go to my nearest town, plus the cost of the babysitter and her taxi home then the cost of the night out - Last time I went out, around 18months ago, I spent £75 in total on just having a few glasses of wine in a pub. I genuinely can't afford to do that so I don't go out. I have well and truly given up on the idea of ever forming a relationship again or at least for another 10 years - I can't help but believe that no decent man would want to take on 4 kids - I know people will tell me otherwise but I simply haven't got the time, money or energy to expend on trying to find out. There simply isn't enough of me to go round to let someone else into my life. I spend my weekends running around to 3 lots of football matches and football training and that's it bar doing the laundry and feeding them. So when I'm asked 'Are you doing anything nice this weekend?' - I really don't know how to respond anymore - I don't want people to know how boring and restricting my life is so I don't say much. Now I feel like I am losing my social skills as well as I have less and less interaction with people. This worries me as I used to be confident and outgoing and now I feel I have nothing to contribute to a conversation other than talking about my kids which I won't do. I don't have the lives that people around me have where they go on holidays, nights out, family events and stuff like that; I don't even watch TV as I'm up at 5.30 every morning and in bed at 10 and it's constant CBeebies or LFC TV. It doesn't help that my job involves solitary working from home and the only one thing I do for myself without fail is running which is also a solitary activity but it keeps me sane. Basically, I feel that I am becoming isolated, losing my social skills and a have a poor quality of life compared to the other school mums. However, I'm not desperately unhappy and I wonder if I'm falling into the 'comparison trap' of everyone else's life looks better than mine. But I feel that there is a problem but I don't know what I can to do to change anything - I'm restricted by money (very little spare money at the end of each week) and lack of support - the kids father does not have anything to do with them (and he does not contribute financially bar the £15 per week the CSA assessed him for - he is self employed and alters his finances to suit) and as I said, I have no family so it really is all down to me, I'm struggling to sustain friendships as my life revolves so much around the children and domestic chores and trying to bring enough money in. I've even tried to get an employed job ( which took me well over a year of applications) in the hope that I would benefit from the social side of working in an office environment but the first day I was there I got a call from daughters nursery to say she had chicken pox and could I come and get her - so I was off for 2 weeks then at the end of the 2nd week my youngest son got chicken pox and was off school for 10 days by which time I apologised and told the office job I was resigning from post as all the time I was off I wasn't getting paid and at least if I was self employed I could still work from home with sick kids. It was just embarrassing! Has anyone got any suggestions to overcome the limitations of being a single parent of 4?

starry0ne Tue 31-May-16 17:36:04

I am not Sure I have any great advice as I have a 9 year old been doing it on my own since he was less than one and no support..

I started jogging with my 9 year old ( I am very unfit) at least it felt like something.

Cheapthrills Tue 31-May-16 17:57:38

I could have written your post except I only have two dc so hats off, I don't know how you do it. I feel I have no life. I also live out in the sticks with the same babysitter/taxi issue and the last time I went out it cost me over £100 and that was with no food! You have to really weigh up if it's worth it. Like you I feel people have stopped asking me to things as I can never go or let them down at the last moment.

As for work, well done you on bringing in an income by working for yourself. I loved my job but had to give up as I was so unreliable with kids ill, lots of appointments and meetings (sen) and the logistics of covering inset days and childcare for dc in different schools starting and finishing at different times was a nightmare. Also an unsupportive ex and £6 a week out of his benefits.

Re men/relationships, I did dabble a few years ago but found it stressful to work around dc and it's easier to be on my own.

So sorry no answers here just commiserations. The only thing that keeps me going is that this stage won't last forever and I might have more freedom some day. Only thing is I will be ancient by then. I find it's better to accept things if you can though I find it hard.

PurpleL1lac Tue 31-May-16 18:00:43

Atomic,
I feel as though I could have written your post in some ways and can identify with much of what you're saying.

I live in a rural area too with very few friends. The ones I do have are in relationships and I tend to get missed off their social events calendar which I do get upset about.

I'm also estranged from my family - they never bothered trying to contact me - it was always me doing the driving and calling so I just stopped in the end. Suppose I was trying to prove a point really.

Unlike you I work in an office - this is so difficult as I'm the odd one out there too - not one other single person plus I'm an introvert which clearly doesn't help on the social front. I am fine however with friends I know well. Work events make me shudder as I get so worried someone will ask me about my non- existent life.

I love my kids dearly however at the moment they are all I have to live for.
I have literally no one to talk to about anything either and like you Atomic I feel as though I'm losing what little social skills I had very rapidly.

Life really sucks at the moment.

Nodney Tue 31-May-16 18:16:02

OP you sound like you're doing a fab job, you really do. Can't be easy four DCs on your own.

One off the wall suggestion - have you ever tried camping? I go camping with my three DS (and DH admittedly) and find it's very easy for both my boys and I to make friends with fellow campers. I'm a bit rubbish at socialising and find it easier on camping trips because you're never going to see these folk again so it's easier to just strike up random chat. The DCs make friends and it's a break from the endless grind of life (like clubs etc).

Camping stuff is cheap - second hand is fab - and camp sites can be very reasonable too.

ImperialBlether Tue 31-May-16 18:25:13

I think you're doing amazingly well to be working from home. Have you looked carefully at the benefits you're entitled to? It's horrible to think of you being so broke after working so hard. Their dad is a bastard, isn't he? £15 per week for four children? I bet he'd spend that in one night in the pub.

One of your main problems is location. Do you love where you are? Could you do your job anywhere at all or are you restricted to that area?

Is there a running club near you? Could you trust the 14 year old to look after the others in the evening? Is there a local pub? Do you have local friends?

Don't worry that a decent man wouldn't be interested. If you are financially self-sufficient and if the children are lovely, then a relationship is certainly not out of the question.

Could you look up Meetup? Someone mentioned it on a thread the other day and I was amazed at all the things that were going on near me.

freshprincess Tue 31-May-16 18:32:10

I've been on my own for 18 months and feel similar. I haven't 'been out' since October last year.
I do see my parents regularly, so my social life consists of going to Costa with my mum once a week on a Friday afternoon.
I work in an office so at least I get to speak to other people during the day. But I have to leave early every day to be home in time for the DCs so I don't get the 'quick drink after work' invites.

Ex has the DCs one day a week, supposed to be an overnight but he isn't consistent with it. i organised a meet up with an old work friend but had to cancel at the last minute because DS decided he wanted to sleep at home and ex didn't say no.
Most of my other female friends are our joint couple friends and although I get lots of 'let's go out for a drink soon' texts, it never goes any further.

atomic999 Wed 01-Jun-16 06:32:40

Thank you all for replying.It's made me feel a whole lot better hearing from you all in a similar situation and feeling the same as what I do. I think we all deserve a big hug! I know it's not that there's something wrong with me now and it's more down to the set of circumstances we all share. Cheapthrills is probably spot on with the idea of accepting things as they are, and hard as that may be, it's probably my most realistic option. But I can't accept the loss of confidence and social skills that goes with living like this.

whattodoforthebest2 Wed 01-Jun-16 07:44:14

Hi atomic

I'm a LP too, with 3 older DC, so I know how it is when everything revolves around them. I work from home too so understand how isolating that can be - it certainly has its upsides and downsides.

This is a completely off-the-wall suggestion, but have you considered volunteering? I do mentoring for a charity, which involves befriending people who need support for one reason or another. I'm suggesting this because you sound very organised and grounded and there are people and charities out there who really need practical help and/or support. I'm sure there are volunteer roles that can be done from home, either phone-based or on Skype for example. It can take up as little as an hour a week, but it can make a huge difference, it can be very interesting and rewarding and it can be quite a social activity, depending on what you do, of course.

Do-it.org have all sorts of jobs available and of course you only do it to suit the time you have available.

I'm realising I sound mad to be suggesting this to a mum of 4, but it's an idea.

I would also second the suggestion up-thread to look at Meetup - there may be something you'd be interested in not too far away that could be fun and perhaps your eldest might be able to babysit occasionally?

freshprincess Wed 01-Jun-16 18:42:05

I've just looked at that volunteering site and found two things localish, requiring my professional skills that I could do in the tiny amount of time I have to myself. Thanks so much for that link. flowers

whattodoforthebest2 Wed 01-Jun-16 19:27:12

That's ok, HTH.

I hope they work out. I have to say that the first one I did, I got into quite reluctantly because of the nature of it, but it turned out to be so interesting and rewarding and I met a great team of people. You never know what's around the corner, eh? smile

mitsi31 Thu 02-Jun-16 00:30:15

I'm a lp too except I have just the 1
I could of wrote your post sounds like me in a way
Recently I've felt the same all I seem to do is get up get my 12 yr old out to school then nothing much durning the day then out to work in evening
But after being off work for 2 weeks I'm changing my out look on life I'm changing my career even if it means going back to college also thinking of joining a fitness class just so if gets me out during the day and meet new people
It's good to hear in not the only lp that feels like this xxx

Rainbowqueeen Fri 03-Jun-16 14:35:49

Glad to hear you are feeling more positive OP.

I came on to suggest taking up yoga. There are lots of classes available on YouTube, it's great for your mental health and relaxation and if you can only fit in 10 minutes at a time you still feel like you've achieved something.

The Dc might like to join in too!

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