creative solutions to lone parenting problems?(18 Posts)
I've been a lone parent for 5 years. During that time I was in a relationship for the first 3.5years and I've been single since that broke up. I'm in an exploratory phase relationship wise and I'm not in a hurry to get involved in a quasi domestic nuclear setup.
Thing is, none of my life quite works at the moment. I work really really hard, and am constantly exhausted. I want to separate out the support I need in my work and domestic life from what I want from my next relationship as I think this will be healthier than my previous patterns where because my life has been untenable I've been looking for a relatiionship to fix everything. A good friend is moving in to help me with childcare in exchange for rent but I wonder what other creative solutions people have to make their lives as lone parents work?
I get my neice (6) round to play with my daughter (2) while I do the housework! I take her for ice cream after. The mess is (usually!) kept to the playroom! That way both me and my sister have time to get on with things!
I am not sure if you could call this a creative solution but as far as gardening DIY and decorating is concerned I know a reliable £10 an hour man who is self-employed and is a handyman and visits my home once a month for 4 hours. In that time he is largely tending to the garden for now but there is a list of DIY waiting once the season changes in the autumn and decorating after that throughout the winter ....
Well worth it for £40 as it takes the strain off me. I refuse to learn those skills on top of 10 years of single parenting with no family support no partner and a most iffy ex!! I own my own home so there is no landlord to turn to etc.
These are good and practical but I am more like trying to think outside the box of how to make my life tenable and meaningful rather than just get through the days. I don't have family, and I don't have friendships that involve reciprocal favours, partly because I work so much. I just wanna shake things up and think outside the box a bit. Like a friend of mine lives with another single mother and that works really well for them. It wouldn't work for me because I part own my home - so anyone coming in would have to fit in with me rather than starting again on an equitable footing. But I know there are people mixing it up and I want to try and do that in a way that works for me and my girls. I just don't know what that looks like.
You could find a single parent who could do reciprocal babysitting for nights out. However I have come unstuck with that in my neighbourhood as 95 per cent have family support as there are few outsiders such as myself. Everybody has a mum and/or sister for babysitting so they can socialise. I tried with two women to no avail.
It may be different where you are? You could then at least try and build up some meaningful social life.
For social life I go to a spiritual meeting Tues pm and Thurs am I work as a volunteer in a charity shop to go out and mix because I work at home and feel very socially isolated.
Hope this helps.
The problem with reciprocal babysitting as a single parent is, you can't reciprocate. Either of you. So the child has to be brought to the other parent's house. In fact, that's the problem with reciprocal anything, as OP has said. I have parented a baby/toddler alone, and with OH, and it is so much easier to offer - and therefore receive - support as part of a two person unit. One of life's may unpleasant ironies.
Can you say more about what in your life doesn't work, OP? being specific might help with ideas.
I make celebration cakes in return for DIY. I had a double glazed window replaced yesterday
Have you looked to see if there's a time bank local to you, Wicker? that's an interesting community organisation.
Rootypig in which way can single parents not reciprocate babysitting I don't know what you mean.
The only snag is the other child/children have to be in our home and there may not be a spare bed so if the other friend is out until 10 or 1030 (which is still quite early to return home by) the child may be sleep deprived or have their sleep disturbed.
I wouldn't babysit babies and toddlers I mean once the children are school age plus. Preschool is too stressful for me!
For example I had ds's best friend over for a sleepover which has happened in the past (not reciprocal babysitting just for ds to socialise at home) and it was great fun. I shall be doing more of these as I virtually get as much out of it as the two boys themselves do!!
As a single parent, I wanted evening babysitting (very young child) and I found other parents were looking for the same. I could hardly leave my child at home alone, nor would they wish for their child/ren to sleep at my house and be disrupted when they returned. So people could easily babysit for me, as a favour - but a reciprocal arrangement was not possible. Now I live with another adult, it is so much easier to reciprocate, because there are many evenings I can leave my (still very young!) child at home in his care.
Are you American, Flower, out of interest? in the UK babysitting tends to mean in the evenings, often while children are asleep, in the family's home.
I was just talking to a mother yesterday at a birthday party and she was telling me that she had moved three doors down from another single mother. Her youngest dd is in the same class as our dds too.
So although they have not moved in together, they are doing things together as a big family and they like each other so they are enjoying it all.
What's in your life that you need support with?
What have you to swap? What do you do?
There's a big labor exchange thing in my local area and I wonder if there's one in yours?
something about you saying preschool and the way you described babysitting reminded me of the US (where I live).
join helpful peeps (google it) they are just starting up but the idea is a skill swap economy. You ask for help with anything you need, and give help with anything you can. No money required, with a view to building communities. I've signed up!
Rootypig - actually fairly common to leave child at a friends over night in my neck of the woods.. Helps if children of sitter are similar age to the other parent( so the arrangement is fair when reversed).
I did it myself from when my son was toddler. I was given a travelcot/ playpen which I could set up at friends houses. I also did a fair bit of normal babysitting too and we would just pack up and go home at midnight. Was fine. I had a good sleeper! He would just go back off when we got back.
I like the idea of a handyman once a month!
I have just decided to bite the bullet and get a cleaner for 2hrs a week - £8 per hour. It's made a huge difference to how much time I feel I need to be 'doing' rather than being, more play time for dd and the pressure is halved. A lot of my friends have parents who clean/cook and even do laundry and ironing for them and their husbands! I thought I'd like some of that, and it has been great.
I also see if friends want to club together for holidays - a villa with 10 people usually has a pool for example, and the kids can play with each other for entertainment while you actually get a chance to relax. Works for all parents, not just single ones!
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