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not coping very well with being a new single mum

(48 Posts)
lizzie479 Thu 22-Nov-12 10:27:25

I am a newly single SAHM and am not coping very well. I am starting to get angry at my unsupportive family who rarely check how I am doing or offer to help, my ex who seems to have moved on so quickly and easily, and the fact that I am now snookered! or that's how I feel. I worry about money. I feel guilty about not being happy about being stuck with the kids, and every day feels like groundhog day. Disciplining a three year old and coping with a destructive one year old who has wrecked the complete house by 9.30am is really draining me. I just want to have a lazy day today instead of running to pre-school, toddlers groups, park etc. But it seems like my toddler cannot cope with this. I now put him in his cot for the morning nap he dropped just to give me some time out. Why were my choices to stay in a crappy relationship or this? Had I have known this is how it would end I would not have had kids, its just too tough on my own. I feel like a dogsbody.

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 10:31:35

remind yourself of how crappy the relationship was.
It is tough. I have nothing to suggest except for getting out of the house as much as possible, to mums and toddler groups, to perhaps a creche at an FE college while you do a class?
It is a bad time of year for everyone, come the spring you will be able to spend more time outdoors, in the park, playground etc.
Actually life as a single mother can be shit, but not as shit as being in a bad relationship.

lizzie479 Thu 22-Nov-12 10:41:19

Thanks Goralka, I am in tears here as its only been a few weeks and I'm having to deal with all my hopes and dreams of life getting financially better and building a family together to it all coming crashing down around my ears. I don't have a mum to help out. My next door neighbour is married and has one baby and her mum comes every other day to help out. I just can't feel positive about my situation. I wish I could as I was miserable in the relationship for so long. But he did help with kids and I didn't have the financial worries. I do keep busy but after four years at home I am sooooo sick of parks and toddler groups and whining demanding toddlers.

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 10:49:25

oh I know and I am sorry not to have any better suggestions, I was in a very similar situation with no mum and my brother looking down his nose at me and my 'sister' describing me as an 'unmarried mother' etc etc., a lifesaver for me was signing up for language classes and using the creche at the local community college. But it is crap anyway. I am sitting here now with no money for electric or petrol or bus fare for my daughter to get to school while their dad drives a jag and pretends to be unemployed to escape the CSA. Ho hum....

lizzie479 Thu 22-Nov-12 11:02:25

Oh no goralka, he does not pay you anything? God it makes me hate men. My ex is already saying he can't afford to pay for things he has promised our daughter for her birthday. She was expecting guinea pigs which she won't be getting now. I can see why women stay with men for the sake of their children as it seems the men cut and run pretty fast once they know its over. I asked myself that question for years, should I stay for the kids? Having to go to a solicitor soon but we were never married so it might be a pointless endeavour. Have you tried to get back into work? What did you do before having your little girl? What went wrong in your relationship? I think the only single parents that seem to do okay are the ones who marry rich men!

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 11:08:26

not a fucking penny and I have been in contact with the CSA for SEVEN YEARS.
And as for birthdays, all they got (twins) was a message on facebook to one of them. And all I could afford was a pub lunch out.
I have been back in work for years, paid a mortgage, done childminders, au pairs, playschemes etc., but it has all just been treading water and now I am sinking. Right now I have a small online business and am busy spamming the contents of my inbox before the electricity goes off.
so I can sympathise greatly with OP but cannot tell her it gets any better

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 11:26:20

sorry Lizzie I sound really selfish.
How about you? How old is your daughter? Can you see it working?
what went wrong with my relationship was cultural differences and incompatibility i suppose, without going into unpleasant detail.

Doowrah Thu 22-Nov-12 13:54:12

Hi OP

It will get easier and you will have more time to yourself when they are at school. Until then it's just bloody hard, I only had one and I struggled enough with my family ill living miles away while his family and my child's grandparents and auntie walking past us in the street pretending we don't exist. My compassion and understanding which was not little has dwindled to unbridled hatred over the last ten years as I struggle daily to pay the bills,feed my DS, keep us warm and healthy.It is barely an existence and I re-trained myself and have applied for zillions of jobs to no avail. It is incredibly difficult but I take a little comfort from others stories and that I am not alone in this. I hope it does for you too.Good luck.

amarylisnightandday Thu 22-Nov-12 17:30:11

I felt quite bitter post split that the ex has the best of both world wrt child care/responsibility/having a life.....
I felt like that then but I don't now - it passed.

Take some control and make changes in your routine to suit you better. I got rid of everything I had done to please the ex and adjusted the routines to suit the kids and I best. For me I find being it and about stops the house being trashed and it wears the kids out before you get home bug that's me - maybe you would I refer the opposite?
What are your going back to work options?

QuiteQuiet Thu 22-Nov-12 20:05:54

It is tough Lizzie, I am like one of the other poster, no money, no presents, no contact, BUT I am happier and more positive than I was in the relationship, I was married for many years, maybe 2 of those years happily married but the rest was a farce.

So now I am alone, and if i am honest I don't like asking for help, it does get easier, I never thought I could cope with my children alone, I can, it isn't easy so I treat myself when I can, not large treats, maybe a book and a nap, or a cheap bottle from Lidls if Dc ever go to grans. sometimes just silence is lovely.

The first year imo is the most difficult, I don't like the Dc saying 'Oh I cannot wait until your work and we cam buy this and that and this' as it is never going to happen, I try to point out the good things for them.

Try to get yourself out and about more, make friends, look at all the positives in your life and most important take care of yourself.

ledkr Thu 22-Nov-12 20:16:16

Op I felt the same but one day I fancied a beer in the bath after work and so I had one. From then on I decided to embrace my new life and instead of being a victim and a put upon single mum I'd be young funky and single. Don't try to still be a married conventional mum. Pile the kids into your bed for movies and popcorn,eat dinner on laps in front of the tv. Make some new friends if you can and arrange some fun things. I had a couple of friends on the same boat and we took it in turns to have sleep overs with the kids,made nice dinner and drank wine.
It might be worth considering a part time job as tax credits are very good for single parents I think. I was better off.

ledkr Thu 22-Nov-12 20:18:53

Yes at first they seem to be getting away from thief responsibilities and starting a new life but in time that won't annoy you and he will just seem sad.

avenueone Thu 22-Nov-12 20:21:59

Hi Lizzie,

I wish I lived door and could help you - it is just horrible at first, I hear you through that post...and I do feel your pain. It always gets me how `single mums' get such bad press - many deserve medals.

I felt the same about family and friends, you learn very quickly that you only have you and therefore you have to take good care of yourself like never before. Go to bed earlier and just enjoy getting up earlier and get a new routine. A different life is ahead but it will be ok, us humans are good at adapting.

Have low expectations about things for a while and then things will only make you happy not disappoint. Keep strict boundaries with the toddler - they have a way of knowing when you are at a low ebb. Why are you seeing a solicitor? maintenance wise just speak to the CSA or is it contact issues? does your ex work? nap in the day if your toddler does or have a nice bath - treat yourself when you can. At the end of each day only think about what you have done not what you have not... rant on here when you need to.

Aspirant76 Thu 22-Nov-12 20:34:58

Hi Lizzie sorry that you are feeling so low, I can relate to the groundhog day of life with small children - it can really grind you down so hang in there.

PleaseLetsGoToSleep Thu 22-Nov-12 20:40:46

I can add my sympathies Lizzie, I'm 3 months post break up from ex with ds 12 months. It's bloody tough and ex, and anyone else who has never been a single parent, understands. I hate that ex can have a life and do whatever he likes.
things have got a bit better than they were, I joined my local gym that has a free creche and an getting support from homestart- could u look into homestart as well? Also, what's ur financial situation? U don't have to say, but ur youngest DC can get a funded nursery place at 2 if ur going to be on benefits. I've also used the opportunity to do stuff I couldn't while with ex - like become a vegan feminist, it's very fulfilling!
Tbh I don't think I would be coping if I wasn't on Prozac, not saying medication is the thing for u, but don't want u to think I'm some kind of smug super mum with no problems. good luck with it, take it one day at a time.

Wallison Thu 22-Nov-12 20:51:50

Sorry you are having such a hard time, Lizzie. It's difficult I know. There are days when all you want to do is stay at home but actually staying at home is harder when you've got not only a toddler but a baby as well - it's exhausting just keeping up with them, never mind finding fun things to do as well. That's why and I know it's a bit dull but playgroups and the like are really a lifesaver. It also gives a bit of structure when you have times where the days just seem to stretch out endlessly and not in a good way.

One thing that really helped me was being adamant that I got time to myself in the evening - you really need that wind-down time, even if it's just to stare blankly at the telly and gibber a little.

This is all still very new to you but trust me you will find your feet - I did, and my confidence is now much much better than it ever was when I was with my son's father. Can you maybe start building this by thinking of any positive things you have done today? Because I bet you have done loads more than you give yourself credit for. It doesn't need to be big things, just try to think of all the little interactions that you've had with your kids that have been good or a situation (or even a bit of a situation) that you've handled well. Don't dwell on the bad stuff - it really isn't worth it. Also think of the things they've done that are funny or cute or endearing - again, not the bad stuff. Everyone has that; we're none of us perfect. But I dunno; I suppose I just think that raising children is an incredibly worthwhile thing to do and just because you haven't got someone else there telling you so it doesn't mean it isn't so - it just means that you need to be the person who tells you how great you are.

Wallison Thu 22-Nov-12 20:55:17

^ Yes at first they seem to be getting away from thief responsibilities and starting a new life but in time that won't annoy you and he will just seem sad.

This in spades. I went through so many emotions about my ex, but now I've pretty much settled on 'pity'.

lizzie479 Thu 22-Nov-12 21:09:49

Thankyou all for your posts. I just feel overwhelmed by all your stories. So many strong women out there coping and getting by and all ready to offer their support and advice to me. Thankyou. I think the thing that scares me most is I have seen my mother and two sisters go through this and the only one who did okay was the one who was divorced from a very wealthy man who had to pay her and her children lots of maintenance.
Yes, I am on benefits now. I am also worried about the proposed cuts to council tax benefit which I found out about today. I really don't want to go on anti depressants as my relationship was driving me to be on those so that's why I took action and got out. But got out to what? Every day I try to get organised and accept my situation and move on but the tory gov seem intent on pulling the rug from single mums (I wonder what the future holds there). If it was just me that's one thing but the pressure is making me unhappy and a crappy mum and then I feel bad about the things they will not be able to have because of my choice to leave their dad. But when I was in the relationship I made the choice to leave for them as he used to shout and swear at me when he got angry or didnt get his own way and they thought that was normal. I wanted them to grow up in a calm and happy family atmosphere. Not seeing two adults who had little love or respect for each other anymore arguing in fron of them.
You are right we do all deserve a medal. Why would any sane person choose this as a good lifestyle choice for themselves? Yet the media and government make out that this is the case. I just see our government directly attacking women who dare to leave bad marriages/relationships. Legal aid is being abolished next year, mums forced back to work when their child is five (and possibly three soon), crap childcare, no decent jobs to fit in with lone parenting, benefit cuts. My sister told me I would always be poor unless I met someone else. That seriously sucks that I have to be "rescued" in order to have a better life. My friend gave me a fairytale book for my daughter about her dreaming of finding a prince and living happily ever after and I promptly gave it away. I am not a man hater but I am a feminist and little boys don't get fed this diatribe! Jeez I am even thinking of getting a cat! arrgghh!

Wallison Thu 22-Nov-12 21:22:41

Oh don't get me started on this bloody government. It seems that they pretty much hate all women, to be fair to them, but still they stick the boot in even harder for single parents. I am dreading this universal credit coming in - while Labour was in, for all of their faults, the tax credit system did at least mean that it was more worthwhile working than not. They are a bunch of bastards.

But look, even if you're worse off financially, making the right decision for your own and most importantly your children's emotional and mental health is worth much more than that. And I do know, believe me, how money worries can eat you up. I know what it's like to dread the postman because it only means more demands for more money that you haven't got. I know that stomach-lurching feeling when there's a knock on the door that you aren't expecting. It's horrible and often quite frightening, and it feels that you don't have any 'proper' independence. But you do. You made a decision that was best for your family, and that remains. It's not an easy decision, and it's not without consequences, but you have done it and that makes you brave, even if you don't feel it just now.

ledkr Thu 22-Nov-12 21:25:13

Nonsense op. I know there are cuts to benefits but I bet you can re train cheaply and with support. When you feel like it get some advice re entitlements. I supported me and 4 dc for years working part time with tax credits and I had a mortgage so no housing benefit ex didn't pay me a penny he never has. I went out once a week we didn't go without dc still carried on with expensive hobbies and I saved a year for a cheap holiday abroad.
Next year you can look into what might suit you and the dc and slowly go from there.
The world is now your oyster and you don't need a man to help you find it .you left a relationship that wasn't working making yourself a lone parent.
You can in fact do anything you put your mind to.

ledkr Thu 22-Nov-12 21:26:26

Sorry the "nonsense" was meant in a motherly way not patronising as it sounds

goralka Thu 22-Nov-12 21:52:23

You know you have done the right thing lizzie.
How old are your children?
Part time work might be an option, with the tax credits, as the last poster said.

QuiteQuiet Thu 22-Nov-12 22:01:04

My benefits have just been cut Lizzie I wont pretend I am delighted, we have just moved to a 'safe house', looking at 1 gift per child but.... I cannot let it get us all down.

Stay strong or do what I do pretend to be strong, wait until you have an hour and cry like a baby, get back up and be strong again. smile

Life can be hard sometimes, no idea why single parents get a 'rough deal' from married couples femalebitchyones, we are usually single for a reason. Chin up and all that. xx

Viviennemary Thu 22-Nov-12 22:01:21

It really is difficult when other people get lots of help. I think going and doing a course at your local college is a really good idea. And they quite often have a creche. You will meet other people and get a break from your DC's as well as learning something new.

Just set yourself an aim for the day each day. . Even if it's just go to park. Or phone somebody to ask them round for coffee. The weather has been dreadful and that doesn't help much being stuck in the house with small children. There was no point in being stuck in a relationship that you were really miserable in. This is probably the hardest time and things will soon be on the up.

QuiteQuiet Thu 22-Nov-12 22:03:07

Oh I should add to even have a chance of a job I need to do an HND first, so no carpets, except in childrens room, no bin, erm... no blinds etc, I won't detail everything we don't have we do have a TV, internet, food, a few pets, children are well, most important we have lots of love! smile

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