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Practicalities of becoming single parent..advice please!

(11 Posts)
cherryade8 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:06:44

Hi, after a largely unhappy relationship for the past couple of years dp and I have decided to split (I suggested it for a while but dp kept insisting he wanted to make it work but then it never did, I suspect he wanted it to work due to wanting to live with our dd rather than wanting to be with me, our relationship was over ages ago...)

I'd be really grateful for any tips on becoming a successful single parent. Dd is 16mo so how much access would be usual at this age and how would this change as she gets older? I was thinking of suggesting dp visits/takes her out on a Saturday morning 8-12(home for in time for lunch and nap).

My family live a few hours away so unlikely to get much practical support, I work three days a week and dd goes to cm, dp should pay child support of 15% after tax income I think? If I budget hard I think I can scrape by without increasing my hours.

I'm worried dd will suffer as its a stressful ttime, I really feel I've let her down :-( but I know breakups happen and I want to provide her with a happier future.

Fleecyslippers Sun 28-Apr-13 14:34:50

Is he a really good hands on dad at the minute? Does he have her on his own for longer periods than the 4 hours you are suggesting? If so I really think that you need to be prepared for him to want a lot more contact than what you are suggesting tbh. If he already looks after her independently, puts her to bed, sees to her in the night then there is no reason why she shouldn't be able to stay with him overnight. Child contact issues can so quickly and easily turn even the most amicable break up sour - if you have no concerns about his ability to care for her, and are able to put aside your own feelings about missing her/wanting her close etc, then the long term benefits for you all will be immense.

cherryade8 Sun 28-Apr-13 14:54:42

Fleecy - no, he's never put her to bed or attended to her during the night. He looks after her for a couple of hours at a time at the weekend at the moment, he's never looked after her all day.

I suspect he'll want more access as she gets older though, I'm not sure what's reasonable?

Fleecyslippers Sun 28-Apr-13 15:03:16

Ok -well what's reasonable is what benefits DD and ensures that she continues to have a good relationship with him. As a 'rough' estimate, the minimum for older kids is often considered to be every other weekend with at least 1 night during the week. For some families, contact is a lot more, for some a lot less. If you're still living together at the minute, I'd grab the opportunity for him to start doing the bedtime routine now, with you in the background to keep him on the right track with her routine.

cherryade8 Sun 28-Apr-13 15:09:45

Thanks Fleecy. He's a good dad, just not very hands on. What age is generally considered 'older'? At the moment dd is still bf at night and quite clingy towards me. I'm sure that'll change in time.

PurpleThing Sun 28-Apr-13 18:26:13

Ds is still bf at night and his dad had virtually never got up in the night. He moved out about a similar age to your dd and just had 1st overnight at 2.9yr. Went fine (not for me!)

He came over to the house to begin with (not ideal but might he could give him a bath etc) or took him swimming for a few hours. Then went up to a full day (10.30-5) about 2yr plus half day per week (although he cancels a lot). He didn't want more than this and even overnight now he doesn't want weekly or even eow.

It will vary by child though, just to give you an example. Have you asked dp what he was expecting?

cherryade8 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:32:55

Hi Purple, sorry to hear you went through similar, thanks for the advice though! It must have been do hard for you to be without ds for the night, how did ds cope? I'm keen to go at the pace dd also feels comfortable with so would prefer to wait until she can speak and say she wants to stay with daddy, probably about the same age you've done I expect.

I asked dp what he'd like as access. He surprised me by saying he'd like dd all day every Saturday, I asked about her nap as he's never wanted to do it whenever I've asked in the past and he said he'd do it at my house. We seem to have a rough plan, similar to yours in that it seems most practical that dp comes to my house to play with dd, takes her to the park etc and I can either go out or keep out of their way with housework etc

Financially it seems hard as I'll have to pay all dds childminding fees out of my salary whilst dp only has to pay maintenance which won't even cover childcare for me to work. Still, no point in complaining, at least I have my little girl :-)

Fleecyslippers Sun 28-Apr-13 22:36:01

Just a word of caution - you really can't put the onus on such a small child to say she 'wants' to stay with daddy. Because then when daddy doesn't allow her to eat sweets before lunch, or asks her to tidy up her toys, it's way to easy for her to say she DOESN'T want to stay with him if that makes sense ?

cherryade8 Sun 28-Apr-13 22:51:33

Thanks Fleecy, you're very right. I suppose I'm just very conscious that dp has never wanted to do naptimes or bedtimes to date, so as a result dd is very clingy towards me. Hopefully if he's going to spend a whole day a week with her she'll find it easier and even fun to stay with him in time.

PurpleThing Sun 28-Apr-13 23:05:45

I would make the coming to your house temporary because honestly it will do your head in, you are trying to move on (to being single, not talking about anyone else). And if she is clingy he really needs to cope without you stepping in, him getting resentful, you doing the tidying up, snack providing etc. And you will need a break, a proper break.

Does she sleep in the car or buggy?

Stbxh got his own place with a room for ds, had him over to play, then he started to nap in there. Tbh he wanted to go but also at times said he didn't. And until they are much older you sort of have to make the decision for them, ie that is important for them to have a relationship. Although we agree that he will bring him back if very upset.

CSA rates are a minimum and many people negotiate half of childcare too. Any way either of you can change your work around so she has more time with one of you and less childcare?

cherryade8 Mon 29-Apr-13 06:44:17

Purple, thanks, that is great advice. I can see that stbep coming round every Saturday would get tiring as that's the only time I'd be due to get a break. I guess that even if he only gets a one bed place he could nap dd in the buggy and it only needs him to get a box of toys for her to be able to play at his.

Unfortunately we both have office jobs so no chance of him having her on one weekday. I did point out to him that there is the option of him taking her for extra days if he takes holiday on one of my working days and then he can have her instead of cm. Cm will still charge but it gives him extra time. In reality I doubt he will as he rarely takes holiday.

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