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Working as a single parent

(14 Posts)
Topsy44 Wed 27-Jan-16 10:31:28

Just wondering how do people manage it?

I am a widowed single parent with a soon to be 4 year old did. At the moment my dd has her free 15 hours of pre school. I was hoping to do a bit of home transcribing as I was a PA for 22 years but this hasn't worked out and I actually think I would be happier going back to work in an office for the adult interaction.

My ideal plan now is to start some part time office work in September when my dd starts primary school. Am happy for her to go to a childminder/after school club for those times when I would still be at work.

My issue is how do people cope when their dcs are ill and you don't have any other support? My parents are elderly (could probably do the odd afternoon at a push) and other family don't live anywhere near me. My other Mum friends that are SAHMs don't live near enough.

How do you do it? Not something I really want to do but would you consider moving closer to family/friends so you have more support - I'm starting to feel that's my only option!!

WhenTheDragonsCame Wed 27-Jan-16 10:36:08

I moved away from my family to start university and don't really have anyone I can to pick up. I do use a childminder for after school and during the holidays and she offered to be my emergency contact in case they get sent home. I will then pick them up from her as soon as possible.

SomewhereInbetween Wed 27-Jan-16 10:40:59

Recently working single mum here too, no rl support either. It's a struggle, can be overwhelming and my god I wish I could have a break! But as some very lovely posters pointed out to me, it does get easier. Currently my dd is off with an ear infection in both ears, my boss was very kind and let me take the days this week off as holiday so that I will still get some pay next week. The adult interaction is a big thing for me too. Makes the world of difference not having someone call me mum as well.

If you can find a family friendly employer then it will make the world of difference. And flowers for your loss, I wish you all the best.

SomewhereInbetween Wed 27-Jan-16 10:42:01

So sorry, that should read: And flowers to you, I'm sorry for your loss, I wish you all the best.

gilmoregirl Wed 27-Jan-16 10:42:49

Hi Topsy
I have been a single parent for nine years since before my son was two. I work full time, he went to nursery and now attends after school club.
When he is Ill I have to take time off work. I get one day family leave so if he is ill more than one day I need to use my leave. He is ill today so I am using a precious day of holiday to sit on sofa watching endless episodes of lego ninjago...
During the school holidays I use holiday clubs and take leave. I use childcare vouchers to pay for after school club and holiday club, by claiming an extra £50 a month (you can take up to £250ish per month from your salary) and 'saving' it to cover the summer.
It is possible but tiring and a juggling act to cover illness and school holidays. Good luck!

ghostyslovesheep Wed 27-Jan-16 10:43:17

I use annual leave and dependants leave to cover - I get 3 days paid dependants leave and unlimited unpaid but I can't take more than 2 days at a time as its for emergency use
My ex will have them when he's local as he's self employed

My eldest can be left tucked up in bed as she's 13

It's tough and you have to juggle - I am pt and all 3 at school so I have scope to change days or work from home

Pseudo341 Wed 27-Jan-16 10:43:39

I'm not a single parent but I'm disabled and my husband has to work long hours as I can't work at all. I really struggle to look after the kids a lot of the time. We moved closer to our parents before we started a family specifically so that we'd have the help. It's been an absolute life saver, we simply wouldn't have coped without them, and our children have a wonderful special relationship with their grandparents. Don't rule it out, it could work for you. The older your DD gets the easier it will be for your parents to look after her despite their age, she won't need so much running around after, just a responsible adult keeping an eye.

Prayingforsnow Wed 27-Jan-16 10:47:41

I was called away from work so much I had to give up my job in the end although I have very needy dc. There were so many appointments, illnesses then inset days, I just couldn't make it work single-handedly. My dc are in different schools so I had different start and finish times to work around too.

I had a good before and after school childminder but she had other very young children and wasnt on hand in emergencies. Before and after school clubs are very good and cheap in my area although obviously no help if your child is ill.

If you have family support it is way easier.

InglouriousBasterd Wed 27-Jan-16 10:52:08

It is so difficult. I have nobody around here except ex DP who would never take time off to look after DD! I currently work from home, which is ideal with regards to flexibility and dealing with sickness but of course as a freelancer, the pay is unpredictable and I HAVE to get my work done or I don't get paid - so if DD is off sick, I work through the night. I miss adult interaction but luckily have the flexibility to pop to the gym etc. so it does, on balance, work at the moment.

Keeptrudging Wed 27-Jan-16 10:55:56

If you are in a position to be able to move closer to family (and you like them grin), I would do it. IME when I was a single parent, support was needed for times when DCs were ill, or for evening meetings etc. Mum would take an ill child as long as it wasn't vomiting/diarrhoea - nobody wants one of them, apparently!

Topsy44 Thu 28-Jan-16 10:46:25

Thank you so much for all of your replies. It's given me a lot to think about. My parents live about 45 minutes away but would probably be easier if they were a little closer. My Mum is 78 and my Dad is 82.

Their health is ok but obviously getting on a bit! I think in an ideal world I would live a bit closer to them but just worried if I uproot my DD and I to be near them and then a bit further down the line they can't help out because of ill health etc., I have moved us away from a home that is secure and has lovely neighbours to one where perhaps I might feel even more isolated!

My heart goes out to all of you. Being a lone parent is THE hardest job in the world.

FloatIsRechargedNow Thu 28-Jan-16 11:10:02

Hi Topsy. sorry to hear of your loss. I found that the only way I could make it work was to work from home. You've hit the nail on the head with factoring in the additional pressures of sickness, etc and no support. I think your parents are a bit too old and live too far away to be part of this equation other than as doting GPs.
The world of on-line working is constantly changing and I would persevere with looking into that as well as anything else like book-keeping, etc. I've somehow got by for a few years that way. I work on a self-employed basis but receive WTC/CT as well. I budget to live on that, so any work that comes in is extra (it buys the other essentials such as being able to run a cheap car). There is little interaction with other adults which is a downside, but that can be an upside too!

FrenchJunebug Thu 28-Jan-16 12:36:44

Single mum working full time and I am lucky enough to be able to work from home when DS is sick. Otherwise time off unpaid. Most employers understand that life goes on outside of work and that kids sometimes get sick. For the holiday I use holiday clubs however do not start me on inset days!

CaptainMerryweather Thu 28-Jan-16 12:53:30

It does get easier to be a single mum when they start school. Knowing that they're somewhere 9-3 every day and not having to find money for nursery fees is a big, positive change!

When DS is ill, I take time off and have to make it up other weeks, not much else to do. I'm lucky that I work for a small firm and so they are MUCH more flexible than larger companies that I've previously worked for. School holidays are the same - I work what I can, and the rest I take as holiday, inset days, I'll swap my day off to cover it.

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