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Looking for single parent professionals for advice on where to start!

(24 Posts)
toobusytofunction Sat 13-Aug-11 22:43:57

I am finally beginning to look seriously at the likelihood that my marriage may be over. My husband and I are both professionals with middle incomes. We have a two year old who is currently at nursery full time. I am determined to keep working as I beleive I give more to my ds by working and bringing home a decent income than by being home with him full time. If I leave my husband I do not plan to change this.
I am just trying to get in touch with others who might have gone through a similar process in similar positions to get a feel for how it went and where to begin. I have never claimed any type of benefit, as I have never needed to. I know that my husband will need to contribute some money to help with our ds's childcare, but it is not much, so I am just trying to get my head around a single income. I know things are going to be tougher than I am used to, but I need someone to reassure me that it is do-able!!

Spero Sat 13-Aug-11 22:49:21

It will depend a lot on how expensive it is to live where you live, how much you earn and how much he can contribute.

I manage with some money from ex but I had to move out of London to afford a three bed place so could have an au pair. I found it very difficult to work full time and not have someone living in. Little children can get ill very quickly and you need reliable back up care.

It can be done but you may have to compromise on where and how you live.

gillybean2 Sat 13-Aug-11 22:56:05

Why do you think your marriage is over? Sorry not being nosey...
If it is at all fixable would you be prepared to try fixing it first? Have you talked with your dh? Been to councelling/relate? Or is it beyond that?

Being a single parent is extremely hard. It is way better than living in an abusive, violent relationship though, but sometimes people regret it when their relationship issues could perhaps have been worked through if both parties were willing... - hence my asking why you think it's over.

If you do decide this is the best decision for you then there is lots of help and advice available here.
How do you invisage sharing the parenting of your dc? HIs wellbeing is of utmost importance in this decision. Your h may find it harder to move on if this decision is unexpected for him and the conflict may result in hurt and anger clouding the issue of contact/residency etc.
Look here for advice on shared parenting and things to consider if you separate.
www.spig.clara.net/

lemonandhoney Sat 13-Aug-11 22:57:39

Agree that a good au pair can be a life saver.
Mine is fab and has made a huge difference.

It's tough: really tough. I am not a single parent through choice. My income is really quite respectable but I am definitely poorer than I used to be. I feel far more vulnerable and the stress
of being solely responsible is a challenge.

My ex has a reasonable amount of contact which makes a big difference. He is a grade A tosser but does
his share and pays maintenance without complaint.

In some ways, although I am worse off on paper, I am
probably better off, or at least more in control
of my finances now. I know exactly how much comes
in and goes out and when, so I never overspend.

Do you have a support network? IME that's the thing that makes or breaks you - I have been very lucky, with huge practical and emotional support from friends, neighbours and family.

Spero Sat 13-Aug-11 23:06:57

I agree with gillybean - you must be sure the relationship is over for reasons you can't remedy. It is better to be single than with someone who treats you badly.

But being a single parent is hard and often scary. If you don't have a good support network, your life will be very difficult.

A friend of mine once said she was 'bored' with her husband and wanted to leave. I wanted to slap her. She got lie ins every weekend, he was great with the children etc, she really didn't have a clue.

toobusytofunction Sat 13-Aug-11 23:11:19

There is another post with my reasons for concern over the relationship breakdown (in 'Relationships'). I have been very unhappy for months, and the counselling has helped us learn to argue more productively, but it doesn't fix the fact that I just do not feel any attraction to him any more. I cannot, with honesty, say that I love him at all. I will certainly stay for the immediate future, whilst we complete the course of counselling and go through a period of enforced change (we are both changing job, part by necessity, part by choice). I am just trying to think further out. Probably 12 months or so before I can realistically do anything proactive in terms of a separation.

This is my concern, lemonandhoney, I don't really have the right kind of support network. My family is close but not geographically, so the helpfulness is limited. I have friends, but I was the first of my friends to marry and practically the only to have a child. All of my friends were and are career focussed. I envy their positions (less for the fact that I adore my little boy and wouldn't swop him for all the career success in the universe), and they regard mine with bewildered awe. I have not admitted to any of them the seriousness of my marriage's problems; it's a source of huge embarassment to me.

gillybean2 Sat 13-Aug-11 23:14:27

Haven't read you other thread sorry but I think you need to be honest and say in your councelling that you don't expect it to work. If you're not onboard with it then it will of course fail...

Spero Sat 13-Aug-11 23:16:49

Don't wait too long if you know it's over. The older your child gets, the more he understands, the more devastating the split will be. If you do it within next few months, he probably won't remember any different.

toobusytofunction Sat 13-Aug-11 23:19:20

Spero- I am certainly not 'bored' of him. I am just exhausted from living in what sometimes feels like a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. If he were even Dr Jekyll 50% of the time, I could cope, but it is more like 20% and the Hyde drags me down with him. He is not violent or abusive, but miserable, clingy, unsupportive and self deprecating. I am busy and motivated and want the best for me and for my ds, and my husband is sucking us both into his downward spiral.
I want to try to help him out of it, but he cannot see that he has a problem and refuses to seek help. He is an impressive actor when he wishes to be, so I suspect individual counselling would be wasted on him unless he really accepted he needed it... and I can't seem to persuade him of that.

Spero Sat 13-Aug-11 23:19:44

O yes, forgot to say, don't ignore the problems you may face in socialising with couples. To my shock and upset I found that there does seem to be a couples dynamic operating and you may not find yourself as included as you once were as a couple.

Do you get on with your family, could you move closer? If they would pitch in, that is the obvious solution.

toobusytofunction Sat 13-Aug-11 23:22:36

gilly, I didn't start the counselling expecting it to fail. Quite the opposite. I spent months suggesting we get help because I wanted to fix our marriage, but as the months drag on, and I become more and more resentful, I pull further and further away from him and I think I'm now past the point of no return. I can't even remember what having any feelings for him felt like! Such a miserable state of affairs...

Spero Sat 13-Aug-11 23:26:08

Horrid though life as a single parent can be, I don't think it could ever be as horrible as the life you describe. Because at least as a single parent your miseries are honest miseries that usually you can do something to fix and you are not drowning in some awful soul sapping relationship. and you could always meet someone else.

But make sure your finances stack up, if I was struggling with money that would be unbearable.

Billiemumoftwo Sat 13-Aug-11 23:34:34

I'm so sorry to hear of you situation and am currently going through something similar sad I am no longer with my partner and I work full time and get tax credits for help with childcare. It is exhausting but not as exhausting as being in an emotionally draining relationship- it's a huge sigh of relief smile Stick with your gut instincts and look online at tax credit calculations so you can see what bracket your income falls in. Good luck and keep your head high x

MeMySonAndI Sun 14-Aug-11 12:14:23

Many have already posted about fighting to save the marriage before committing to a split and that's the right way to do things.

So now that everything is covered, I can say that I had a husband who woke me up with a cup of coffee every morning, who loved to play with his child, who was a relatively good provider (relative in the way that he was a good earner which brought us a relatively good standard of living and some social status, but relative because most of the money never make it home, he was very irresponsible in terms of finance and as mature as a good mannered 12 year old).

Do I regret it? I miss the economic stability, and above all being in good terms to parent our child (he has turned into a violent paranoid tosser since the court/police/social services got involved). I never expected I would live in fear of whatever he will try next, but I do. I never expected he would end up hurting his child, but he did. Divorce can turn previously reasonable people into true monsters.

I have many worries, I have no support network so things are difficult and I am exhausted most of the time. The money worries are many. The fear of him coming back to hurt us is the worst of all.

But between all these worries I'm clear of one thing: Now I have worries, before I felt dead and asfixiated in that relationship. Now I can see hope, and just for that, my life and that of my son, is better. The only thing I regret is spending almost a decade trying to save my marriage when it was clear it was not that bad, but was never going to get better.

So best of all in whatever decision you take.

toobusytofunction Sun 14-Aug-11 14:41:52

Wow. Just read the post above and it rings frighteningly true. My h is very nice and giving and is so good with our son, so I feel dreadful thinking this way about him. But I do have concerns. He has threatened, admittedly in the heat of an argument but nonetheless, to kill himself if he looses me. I do worry about how he is with our ds when he is upset with me. Last week he slammed the breaks on in the car...on a dual carriage way. I had to beg him to keep driving as he was endangering our ds in the back seat. He told me I was overreacting, but I was genuinely scared and honestly believe that he looses all sense of priority and logic when he is angry with me or scared of me leaving.
More than anything, I want to get him some help, because even if we do separate, he will have visiting rights and I want to feel confident allowing our ds to go away with him.

To the previous posters who mentioned that divorce doesn't make someone a right off, I quite agree. Perhaps I should have elaborated: he convinced me that he was divorced because his exw was nasty, controlling, disinterested in him and a little crazy. He seemed so nice and perfect that I allowed myself to believe he must be telling the truth. Then I met the ex and started to realise just how relatively normal she is. Not my type of person, mind you, but relatively normal. Sigh. Hindsight is a beautiful thing...

MeMySonAndI Sun 14-Aug-11 17:14:16

Oh yes, that what my ex says of me and said of the previous partners, we are all mad, nasty and above all controlling... but for him any woman who has an half a brain and tries to be heard from time to time is controlling...

Now, given what you have just said... I think you and your child are better off, you just need to do it in a way that you don't end up head to head against him.

You will be fine, I managed well with a very meagre salary. Admitedly, I depend highly on tax credits but things are fine, we don't have the luxuries we had before but we are ok, we are more careful with money but everybody goes through this from time to time. So worries and all, but once he moved out it was as if the sun had come out. I have been happiest in the years I have been -kind of- on my own than I ever was with him.

gillybean2 Mon 15-Aug-11 20:23:32

toobusytofunction I simply mean that if you now know the councelling is not working you should say as much and work from this point in that knowledge.

ToothbrushThief Mon 15-Aug-11 20:41:25

Single professional mum to 3. 2 are old enough to not need childcare and DC3 has childcare provided for outside of home.

Some days I struggle and inwardly sob at the unfairness of a society where men can dip in and out of fatherhood (because my ex has persistently and consistently avoided paying maintenance and also has random contact with the DC)

Some days I revel in my independance and singledom

I'd rather be single than in the marriage I was in.
I'd much rather be in a loving supportive relationship but have lost my confidence that they exist

gingerrapunzel Thu 18-Aug-11 19:19:18

I am single professional mum - late 30s - to 2 under 5 year old kids.

My relationship was not the kind of relationship that any person should need to stay in and I have to say much I am happy as single parent.

I do have ongoing stress due to my ex partner but I am glad he does not live here as it would be intolerable.

Things that have made my life easier are:

-v supportive family who will take both kids for holiday for a few days at a time.
-I have also made a good network of other singe parent friends - lots of them are other professionals too (not that what people do is the be all and end all but its sometimes nice to meet people in a similar position to you) consequenly I can honestly say dont feel lonely
-i earn a deent amount working p/t so dont need to rely on flakey exp for £
- coming to terms with my status as single parent..I am now proud of what I acheive alone for my kids
- I can now get help which my exp would have not "allowed" such as cleaning and babysitting

I really wish you good luck with your new life...

Lucy88 Tue 23-Aug-11 10:52:36

Toobusytofunction - I was in your position 4 years ago. Worked full time in a very repsonsible job and split up with my ex-h. I had to cut back and budget to make sure I could manage, but life was so much better on my own with my DS.

I didn't have to deal with the stress of being in a relationship that was making me very unhappy and resentful and I didn't have to deal with looking after 2 children - ex-h was and still is very irresponsible.

I love being on my own and don't find being a single parent difficult or stressful. Its actually easier.

You just need to be very organised - this makes life easier. Simple things like, get everything ready the night before for the next day, spend some time when your child is in bed (once a week) to look at the week ahead and plan what you need to do. Choose particular days to do things i.e. washing Friday night, iron school uniform Sunday night.

I have some lovely friends and we meet up every fortnight with all the kids and do stuff like going to the park, out for lunch etc. When DS is at his Dad's every fortnight (over-night), I catch up with cleaning or sleep or treat myself to a trip to the hairdressers. I don't have much family support as my Mum suffers from mental health issues and my poor step-dad spends half his time looking after my Mum and/my Nephew.

I found that once I was on my own, I was even more career focused and worked even harder to better myself. I have had promotion since we split up, so money is not an issue now. Good job really as ex-h is out of work and hasn't given me any maintenance for 12 months.

I don't stress about being a single parent. I think if you stress about it too much then it becomes really stressful. The key is being organised.

I love being on my own with DS and wouldn't have it any other way - such a lovely, easy life.

MrsMooo Tue 13-Sep-11 11:20:27

Single prof. Mum in my 30's with DS who is just 2

It was my ex's choice to end our marriage after 2 years of fighting for it and with each other and I can catagorically say it was one of the best things to ever happen to me, and we are all already MUCH happier as a result.

On a practical level it is incredibly hard, DS is at nursery 4 days and with MIL 1 day so we work our access around that, exP has DS for an hour after nursery each day (meaning I don't have to worry about pick ups) and on Fridays overnight. It works well, but we have split very amicably and are both very level headed.

From a financial perpective I am ok, though it is tight. I was surprised that being middle income I actually get a fair amount in tax credits which helps and exP splits the childcare costs with me 50/50 as it equates to what he'd pay in maintenance anyway. It helps that we rent and not own as it means there is no property to sort out/equity to divide

From a financial point of view a small saving with council tax single person discount helps a bit too smile

It is hard, but it is doable. If you are on good terms and he is an involved dad it will make things MUCH easier as he will want lots of access and to provide you with practical support/see your DC often

I think there is often a misconception that if you sperate/divorce then it automatically means court battles and arguing over access or financial/practical support. Though it is uncommon it is possible to have a good split where all parties end up better off

feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions you want to ask, and good luck!

MrsMooo Tue 13-Sep-11 11:26:34

Just wanted to add, as others have said being organised is the key to managing, getting stuff ready the night before, batch cooking at the weekend, also working from home when DS is not there means I can do household stuff in my lunch break/use my travel time to do domestic stuff

If you can afford it, a cleaner is also a good idea or help from family (my Mum comes down and does a spring clean for me once a month and I pay her something for it)

Also networking with others in the same boat - I have two Mum's one at nursery and one at work who are in similar postions and they are a lifeline

YoFluffy Tue 20-Sep-11 21:10:25

I've worked full time since my kids were 3 months old and continued to do so through divorce and life as a single parent. My previous career was extremely demanding but with sheer bloody mindedness I persevered through one of the toughest periods of my life as we separated, I never once told my employer what was happening - whether it as pride, or an unwillingness to face any deep rooted prejudices. My family are all 200 miles away, my friends were all married.

The separation was tough, but I knew it was the right thing to do. You know in your heart of hearts if / when it's over and just admitting this and doing something about it can be a huge relief. No matter how difficult the first few months were, I've never once regretted the split, we simply weren't right for each other.

We went the Au Pair route to begin with, then after / before school clubs. I also started my own business in this time, just to add to the "fun".

We all survive because that's what we're programmed to do. The relief of being out of the relationship was worth the challenge afterwards.

It's now 6 years down the line for me and I've never been happier. I love my life, my kids, my business, my home and the lovely fluffy dog who moved in when the ex moved out. I've now a large network of single parent friends and, I also get a chance to recharge my batteries with some adult time when the kids are at dad's. I wouldn't swap any of it for the world....and know many others who say the same.

Don't be afraid of life "on the other side", in many (most?) cases it can be a lot brighter an option than where you're at - happiness isn't a fat bank account, but living a life where you're true to yourself.

squareheadcut Tue 27-Sep-11 01:08:03

i have a son and a full time career in the media - living in London and my son was in nursery and childcare as i carried on working full time in a demanding job - even got promoted. it's not easy, but it's totally do-able .

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