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To ask if people judge single mums for not working?

(777 Posts)
PigsCanSoar Thu 14-Mar-13 22:56:03

I have a 11 m/o, and am a 22 year old single mum. I have handed in my notice to work now, as I don't feel he is ready to be left yet. He has always been very clingy, he will happily go off and play with anyone if I am there, but as soon as I leave the room he will just cry and cry.
He is also still breastfeeding every 2-3 hours, and ideally I would like to let him self wean up until 2.

I have no doubts about this being best for DS, and am planning to stay with him until 2 then look for a job again, but I just feel a bit anxious about actually telling people this, as since he was born it seems to have been constant "so when are you going back to work then" off everyone.

I am very lucky to be back living with my mum, so money isn't much of an issue as this will just postpone moving out for a bit.
So there's no necessity to leave him before he's ready, but I just feel like I'll look "lazy" for not going back yet.

FreyaSnow Thu 14-Mar-13 23:24:39

I think it sounds like a good plan. You're only 22. You've plenty of time to build up a career later. By the time you're back looking for work, lots of other women who have been to university, taken a gap year etc will be about the same age and entering the work place so you won't be an unusual age to be looking for work.

MsAkimbo Thu 14-Mar-13 23:32:22

It sounds like you're doing what works for your family. It's awesome! Anyone who says anything is likely jealous.

aldiwhore Thu 14-Mar-13 23:32:33

I actually don't see being a SAHM within the first 2 years (actually until pre-school age - usually 2.5 - 3 years) as a LUXURY, if it's unobtainable for many, then it's a problem with society and it's view rather than motherhood. But that's my opinion.

I would however, use these 2 years (or 13 months remaining) as training for the 'mild separation of life' - by which I mean, use this time to WEAN... not off the breast so much as off 24/7 one on one... and for some it does take time. Because when your child is 2 (and I was lucky not to have to rely on benefits for the first 3 years) and ready to engage with other children/people if you don't start that weaning now, the separation pain will be just as strong then as it is now.

Being a parent IS one long wean... from baby to toddler, to child, to teen to adult. It's a process, ever moving, never stationary.

You're doing nowt wrong pigs but always remember a child is always moving forward, ever changing and needs different things every year. Use the time wisely, you'll be fine, regardless of judgement, and don't think it will ever be 'easy' when you step into the next phase, because it rarely is, however you have to do it, so prep! Good luck x

Mannequinkate Thu 14-Mar-13 23:33:11

Yes freya and when those other 23 yr olds are interviewed and explain that they have been studying for the last 3/4yrs and OP explains she has a high needs toddler how interested in her do you think they will be?

HildaOgden Thu 14-Mar-13 23:41:27

I firmly believe that it is the responsibility of parents (mother/father) to provide for child.If one doesn't,then unfortunately the other should.

Choosing to have other people (ie unrelated taxpayers) provide for the child is indeed a luxury.Giving up a means of supporting the child in order to claim benefits instead....yes,sorry,I would make a judgement about a healthy young woman who makes that deliberate choice.

TheCraicDealer Thu 14-Mar-13 23:46:25

I'm slightly older than you (24) and got made redundant last year. Now I don't have dependants or anything, but that time spent looking for a job and seemingly getting nowhere was soul destroying. Even when I was successful, I had to work the first six months unpaid.

My experiences taint my take on this, but in your position I think I'd be leaning towards reducing my hours or finding a similar part time position. That would allow you to keep a foot in the door whilst looking after your son.

Economically, things aren't looking too hot for us as a nation. There will come a time when you're being interviewed for a position and are against people straight out of uni, who are flexible or with more recent experience. But you seem to have made up your mind. In essence, I would judge you, but not for the reasons you think it would be.

PigsCanSoar Thu 14-Mar-13 23:51:14

The getting a new job part isn't really a concern as I work in childcare so there is a high turnover of jobs. (This is part of the reason I have decided to wait, as I have seen how long the distress lasts with some children so just walking away and thinking he'll be fine wouldn't really work). Aldi that is good advice, thank you.

The part I find interesting is that it is the benefits that people judge. As I would be getting the same (fairly small) amount in benefits working as I would be not working under UC proposed amounts (and costing more working if we are counting childcare payments support) so does that mean you would still be judging mums working who are claiming them?
I see the posters points about can't win! smile

I'm glad that no-one has said they judge for not working purely on a "not doing enough" level though, as the rest is quite easily explained.

seriouscakeeater Thu 14-Mar-13 23:51:18

hilda completely agree. I find it quite scary when people feel entitlement to have children and expect the tax payer to fund them for no other reason than 'its nature' .

BertieBotts Thu 14-Mar-13 23:52:52

Having been a working single parent and an unemployed single parent I would not judge you one bit. I have quite often found myself in the bizarre position of being better off not working, although I now would not give up my job because I enjoy it too much, it's countered with the guilt of DS being in childcare for 11 hours a day and on work days, not being at home for longer than about 30 awake minutes at a time. It is really really hard on him, and I don't feel like I am adequately supporting him - support isn't just about money.

I feel like I'm working to claim top-up benefits which pay for him to be raised by somebody else leaving me just enough left over to pay the rent, be behind on the bills and barely buy enough food. He's struggling, too. Luckily for us this is temporary and will only be the case until I finish the course I'm on, which will enable us to have a better future.

You must do what you feel is best for your child. That is supporting them. Nothing to do with money.

BertieBotts Thu 14-Mar-13 23:57:20

Yep, you probably would be judged if you tell people that you're better off on benefits than working. Even when working means that you can't meet your (very basic!) outgoings and so you literally cannot afford to work. Somehow people who've never been in the situation of being that skint find it easy to judge. When you're living it, you just do what you can to survive, and it's bloody hard, but you come through it in the end. Honestly just do what is right for you, you won't have the energy to care if people judge you for it or not.

Sunnysummer Fri 15-Mar-13 00:00:23

Agree with previous posters that staying at home is absolutely not something I would judge... But yes, if benefits are involved, it's harder not to judge - when so many of us are having to go back to work with kids the same age for financial reasons, it just doesn't feel particularly fair.

jellybeans Fri 15-Mar-13 00:03:01

No I wouldn't judge. I am a SAHM and so see it as valuable to have a parent at home for pre school age. Even if that needs benefits. Enjoy time with your little one.

PigsCanSoar Fri 15-Mar-13 00:04:24

So it is more about it being fair and "well if I have to work so should they" than actually concern about the cost?
As going back to work I would receive more benefits, so on that principal I shouldn't go back to work. (not saying I won't go back, just theoretically)

midastouch Fri 15-Mar-13 00:04:53

I dont judge single mums, youve got enough to cope with with a baby on your own so you are definetly not lazy.

Viviennemary Fri 15-Mar-13 00:05:48

If you can afford to stay at home and that is what you want to do then that's absolutely fine.

ThingummyBob Fri 15-Mar-13 00:08:52

I've felt judged enough for being a single parent. I don't think I could handle the extra judgements that would surely come with being a non working single parent but thats just me.
Every decision you make will be met with judgement from somewhere or other so do what you think is best for you and ds smile

jellybeans Fri 15-Mar-13 00:11:21

'So it is more about it being fair and "well if I have to work so should they" than actually concern about the cost? '

Yes it always does seem to be about that that people object to.

Ignore it, if you feel you are doing the right thing for your child then you are!

As has been said you would receive benefit even if in work, often this is more due to childcare etc. Life's short so do what makes you and your DC happy.

sneezingwakesthebaby Fri 15-Mar-13 00:15:02

pigs, I think you definitely need to prepare your thick skin for if you choose to do this. People don't hold back commenting about benefits and stuff. It seems to be the one area of life where people are allowed to abuse you about it. I've been called lazy scum, a leech etc etc and its always awkward when you meet new people who have a rant about benefit scum without realising they are speaking with one. Its daft though because as soon as I tell anyone why I'm on benefits (MH stuff), its all sweetness and light and "oh we didn't mean you!" like that makes it okay that they were slagging me off just a minute ago. If I was in your position, I would still do it though. Especially if you think jobs will be available in your line of work. Just be prepared for it all.

seriouscakeeater Fri 15-Mar-13 00:17:11

[Shock] who on earth would pay for all these children if every one had the same mentality.
Also beware claiming isn't as easy as it used to be now....

BertieBotts Fri 15-Mar-13 00:19:21

Haha sneezing! I had exactly the same experience, especially when I was at uni. It's always "Oh but I didn't mean you!" - yes you did, you twonk. Either that or you haven't thought it through properly and just have a vague idea that all single mums are Jeremy Kyle types who don't put any effort into raising their children anyway. (Although to be fair, I suspect that second theory might well be true smile)

TheCraicDealer Fri 15-Mar-13 00:25:57

You see more "conservative" mn'ers being lambasted on political threads about cuts etc for having the attitude of "I'm alright, jack". This seems to be an interesting parallel. If every single parent or family on a low income decided that as they would rather stay at home than work because they were nearly as "well off" financially then we'd be screwed.

People as a whole don't mind top up benefits because they view the people receiving them as contributors who are increasing their ultimate earning potential by working. They'll eventually put it all back in the pot, once their need for childcare, tax credits and so on has decreased. Giving up altogether (to some) is like an admission of defeat, as if they're expecting the state to provide for them totally instead of continuing to attempt to support themselves.

Obviously OP says she intends to go back to work, but I'm afraid I just can't get my head around leaving a job to go on benefits. But I'm Mrs Cautious!

sneezingwakesthebaby Fri 15-Mar-13 00:28:13

grin at you twonk, bertie I must admit sometimes I do enjoy the moment where they hurriedly try to backtrack over the worst things they have said.

jaywall Fri 15-Mar-13 02:23:17

I think it's great you have saved enough money or are living off family money to do this for your child if that's what you want to do.

It's not as though you're being a selfish expectorant and just living, like a leach, off of everyone else who has to work to pay the taxes to enable such expectorants, thus diminishing their own and their children's quality of life. Because that would be such a selfish abuse of what was supposed to be a safety net and that's not what you are doing...right ?

Bogeyface Fri 15-Mar-13 02:49:28

As a mum you will be judged. Single, married, not married but in a ltr, working, not working, working from home, free childcare, paid for childcare, bottle feeding, breast feeding, wet nursing (!).........

You get the idea!

Who gives a toss?! do what is best for your child and you, and to hell with the rest of the world smile

whattodonow1 Fri 15-Mar-13 02:49:56

Before handing your notice in speak to HR to see if you can get parental leave or a career break. It may be possible to take extra time off without quitting, especially now you have a little one x

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