how to get out and have a life again with 100% custody?

(26 Posts)
snugglybear Tue 05-Apr-16 20:17:54

I really want to get out and have a social life of some sort but don't know where to start.

I have 100% custody of my DD who is 2 (her dad lives a long way away), I work 4 long days a week in a city but have to leave straight after work to get home to look after DD. I'm not in touch with any family. I know some other mums but they are all in couples and already have social lives, and they're not really people I would hang out with if we didn't have kids - we just have nothing in common and I already get left out of all the conversations about houses, holidays and things that couples/families do as I have nothing to contribute. I haven't been out, anywhere, in about 3 years, not even to a social gathering, bar or the cinema or anywhere grown up, whereyou can't take a baby/toddler. I would go on a date just to go somewhere, but I feel like I I have no interests outside the house (so, netflix and the internet), so I feel boring and like my conversation skills are limited. Have never had a babysitter, don't even know where I would go if I had one. And it would have to be worth the expense in a way, to pay for a babysitter plus going out. Have looked for meetup groups because when I was in the South East those were great, but where I am now (rural east midlands) they don't seem to have much of a following. Ideally I want to do something fun, like drinking dancing. I know I can't just be spontaneous, it has to be planned, but.. where do I go?

I'm in my early 30s but it's making me feel old, and sad, and lonely. All I do is work, clean the house, look after DD. Any ideas on how I can revive my life?

Twistedheartache Tue 05-Apr-16 22:24:15

No real suggestions as I'm in a similar boat & even if I could afford a babysitter not sure how to meet new people & build a life for myself.
Is your dd at nursery? My Dd1's key worker is my babysitter on the very rare occasion I go out. She knows both children well, is totally comfortable feeding them/bathing them/putting them to bed etc & I trust her with them all day so it's not like having a random in the house.

Flowerpower41 Wed 06-Apr-16 11:41:33

Snugglybear I wrote you a private message.

Pisssssedofff Sun 10-Apr-16 14:42:37

All I can say to you both is that it gets easier. Don't make the mistake I made and rush into a relationship with anyone that'll have you - big mistake - I had no confidence at all I would meet the one and so married an idiot who was never good enough for me or my daughter.
It is a long road but you will have a life again and I was just about to post about not being sure what to do with all the spare time I'm about to have enforced on me I suspect.

Flowerpower41 Sun 10-Apr-16 17:30:48

I used to feel alone and isolated when my boy was younger but now he is 11 I really don't feel like that at all.

I recall hankering for a bloke etc when ds was much younger. I now do not wish for a relationship at all.

It appears we get less and less needy the longer we are a single parent!

If you do find a group to hook up with via meet up or anything then there is always sitters.co.uk for police checked babysitters for evenings out think they do most ages and are apparently handy daytimes should little one get sick etc. although I haven't got round to using them myself. As I work for myself at home I can get out in the daytime weekdays and that does me just fine.

Hope this helps!

snugglybear Sun 10-Apr-16 21:48:30

So sorry Flower I've tried to reply to your private messages a few times but the MN system won't let me send, it's very frustrating, I have to go sort some things out for work tomorrow but will try to figure it out asap!

ImperialBlether Sun 10-Apr-16 21:51:16

Whereabouts are you, snugglybear?

Flowerpower41 Mon 11-Apr-16 07:02:46

Snugglybear I sent you another message with an alternative contact.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Mon 11-Apr-16 07:13:11

"All I can say to you both is that it gets easier. Don't make the mistake I made and rush into a relationship with anyone that'll have you - big mistake"

Having spent 4 years with the wrong person simply because he was the only one prepared to accept a single mum, I would agree!

Take it easy on yourself because they do grow up and you'll have more time as DD gets older.

thelittleredhen Tue 12-Apr-16 13:32:03

It definitely gets easier as children get older. I've created my own Gingerbread friendship group and arrange daytime meets every weekend but other groups do evening meets too. If there's not a Gingerbread group near you, you could always start one and have a look at groups on Meetup.com too. You say you're in East Mids, if you're in Derbyshire, let me know, you'd be welcome to join us!

snugglybear Tue 12-Apr-16 19:19:39

Trying to type now while DD tries to engage me in jumping up and down before bed time...

Thanks Flower

Imperial without giving too much away on here, somewhere in the middle of the country (thelittle whereabouts in Derbyshire? If South then I might be close enough to get to groups)

Pisssssed and Theydont I get what you're saying. I spent the last half of my 20s with the wrong person (completely, totally the wrong person), then had DD with the rebound relationship.. it's all so obvious now and I want to yell at my 25/26 year old self - don't do it! Easy to end up kicking yourself, repeatedly...

It's not game over at 34, or at least I really, really hope it's not, I can't bear the thought of sitting at home for the rest of my 30s/life, I need some hope

Got to go, DD is getting really hyper

thelittle do you get many coming to gingerbread/meetup groups, when you organise them?

thelittleredhen Wed 13-Apr-16 09:30:01

Hi Snuggly - Yep, it covers south! Can you email me and I'll send you the info of the upcoming meets, it would be lovely to have you join us! There's usually 5-6 of us (excluding children) which is nice. derbyshiregingerbread@outlook.com

TrickyTreeLou Sat 16-Apr-16 14:19:03

Hi snuggly I'm a single Mum in the same location (S Derbyshire) as you to a 3 your old little boy. His father (my exH) has no involvement at all (his choice) so I have 100% custody, plus I also work. My only real adult time is at work and I do often get lonely, but feel so knackered most of the time that I don't do anything about it. I keep thinking 'Wait till he gets to School and it'll be easier' but I think that might also be a way of putting it off,..........

I haven't been to one of the Gingerbread meet ups yet, perhaps it's something we could do together at some point?

I'll try to PM you. smile

Sumsnet Sat 16-Apr-16 14:27:42

Name changed for this.

I just wanted to reiterate what some other posters had said about not rushing into a relationship.

After two years of being a lone parent I was desperately lonely. Ex had settled down with someone else and I spent my days working, looking after DC and cleaning. Facebook seemed to be full of couples dinner parties, weekends away, nights out etc. I had no babysitter or money to pay for one.

I ended up meeting someone completely wrong for me. Lovely man but we're not suited at all. In some ways I feel lonelier now that I did then. DC adore him and we have a child ourselves now.

I can see now that I was depressed, lonely and never thought I would find someone who would be interested.

Good luck I know how hard it is watching your life pass by.

Pisssssedofff Sat 16-Apr-16 15:36:20

I was told by my mother I would never do any better .... How wrong she was .... I have in the end but gee I could have saved myself so much heartache and pain not to mention money. Have confidence in yourself I beg of you.

Poikjhvcx Sat 16-Apr-16 15:41:57

A bit random but what about...

Badminton? Its my go-to answer wink grin. It a fun game that's easy to play even if you are not sporty and a lot of leisure Centres have mixed ability drop in sessions. I think it's an casual way to socialize without having to talk too much IYSWIM - some groups might be a bit old but lots of younger people play too.

I'm sure there are other sports that would fit the bill too.

snugglybear Fri 22-Apr-16 21:01:59

Hi everyone I just want to say thanks for all the replies on here, and sorry I went a bit silent on this thread after your replies!

Poikjhvcx thanks for the tip. Badminton, I wouldn't mind playing but I'd need a babysitter in order to do it and same goes for any hobby/interest I'd like to do (other than things online while she's sleeping). It makes each class expensive, say £15 for me versus £15 for anyone else, and it has to be worth it.

Sumsnet and Pisssssedofff chance would be a fine thing.. no, I don't want to rush in and would rather be single than in the wrong relationship. I wouldn't mind meeting someone in the meantime 'just for fun', friend with benefits etc as long as we both understood that (and there would have to be some attraction there), but still don't see how I would find that person except through loads of dates, or how I would realistically spend any time with them on a regular basis (due to the cost of a babysitter). Is Tinder the way to go here? - have never really used any dating sites before so that seems like a whole ketle of fish (and judging by the dating threads on MN, not entirely straightforward).

TrickyTreeLou thanks, that would be great, I'm not the best at keeping up with messages as you can see but will p/m now.

Those who have actually got past the nursery years to school age, do you actually get more time for yourself (and more money, because your childcare cost goes down massively?) - or are we kidding ourselves to think that?

lookluv Sat 23-Apr-16 06:55:19

4 yrs and 2months and youngest DC 6yrs old before my brain decided it might be able to!

That was last October and with my child minder, neighbour, we aim for me to either stay late after work for a drink or go out to the gym, go for a meal once every two weeks.

Joined dating web site- disaster, everyone very needy and wanting full on relationships straight away. I am so far removed on the trust issue to consider that right now. However, met two lovely blokes, local, there is no great romance and there never will be but we are in the same boat and I now have a pub drinking buddy, someone to go out for a meal with. Slow and steady .

I resented and still resent my Ex, who goes out whenever and has a social life. Like you i was up, nursery, work, nursery, home, poo, piss food, internet, bed - it was soulless and v depressing.

Flowerpower41 Sun 24-Apr-16 09:11:37

Not noticed the'more money' bit no not at all children cost more as they get older! Gadgets for birthdays and Xmas and childcare 6 weeks over the summers ...... Sorry. sad

BrandNewAndImproved Sun 24-Apr-16 09:31:57

My local council leisure centres have a (free I think) creche if you wanted to go to swimming/gym/exercise class.

I luckily have always had my nan and my mum who will babysit anytime. I used to go out all the time when they were little as I needed to let go and not be a mum all the time. Now they're older I don't even want to go out anymore. Christmas works party and a friends birthday is all I managed last year.

What me and my mum friends did a few years ago was have drinks and party food in one of our houses once every couple of weeks or so. We all lived walking distance and whoever hosted had all the dc sleep over and we'd collect in the morning or all go out for breakfast. But again our dc were slightly older and they loved having the living room to themselves with munchies and friends whilst we got pissed in the kitchen.

We're not all friends anymore, the group split into two and it was never the same. It ended up being so bitchy and cliquey. It was great while others lasted though so maybe try inviting your mum friends round for wine in the evening and films for the dc to get more friendly. Nights getting pissed and laughing at the world cement friendships a lot more then toddler groups.

Dungandbother Sun 24-Apr-16 09:33:53

No more money when they get to school, if they are still in childcare, it's cheaper term time but horrifically expensive in school hols. My CM evens my bill over 11 months so I get a month off for December and 6 weeks summer hols is no longer a £1000 bill.

School may give you a wider social circle though with other mums. And you can make yourself social secretary (unofficial) but class mums all went out for pizza on Friday for example (with children).

I'm lucky I have a couple of neighbours who are single mums so whilst they don't babysit for me I have friends to drink wine with in early evening, help in emergencies type thing.

And agree with everyone up thread about online dating (bleurgh) and wrong relationships. I'm growing into being single, it ain't half bad.

snugglybear Wed 27-Apr-16 20:32:39

Wow, I had just assumed once I stopped paying £1000 per month for nursery I would get that back (except the summer of course).. maybe it's not to be

BrandNew - Leisure Centre charges £4/hour for the creche, plus driving to/from it would be a few pounds, plus parking £3, plus gym entry or class another £5-10 (£10 for non gym members, per session). Maybe I should come to live near yours grin ..

I don't have anyone to babysit. I haven't been out of the house after tea time since 2013. I would invite other mums round, but the ones I know (all married) have 4-bed houses. I can only fit 1 other adult in the tiny space I have before it starts to feel a little claustrophobic. It's also DD's play room whereas they have actual 'play rooms' and their 'living room' is a grown up space, or they have an actual kitchen, with a table you can sit and talk at. I don't seem them getting on with my place tbh. It works for me and DD, but it's different to what they have. Plus, they get to go out anyway because they all have OH, and really don't seem that bothered - they just see me part of a social circle where our kids hang out, they're not looking for new friends for themselves.

Dungan £1000/6 weeks for the summer would be a bit cheaper, as I'd be paying about £1,500 for that now. I guess it depends what they charge the rest of the year. Really don't like the thought of using a childminder, which is why I chose a nursery for DD as a baby - there's just more accountability for the staff. But might not have a choice after a certain age.

Doubt I'll get to see other mums at school, I drop DD off at 7am and pick her up at 6pm, so a CM (or whoever) would be doing that bit, unless my job situation changes.

My neighbours aren't the social, drinking type.. you can barely get a hello out of them.

Maybe dating is the way to go just to get a conversation (I mean, with zero expectation of actually starting a relationship even if you don't tell them that grin).. it's just going to work out so expensive isn't it.. £20 for a babysitter? £20 for a meal/drinks? Another 10-20 possibly on transport (taxi) if drinking.. I could probably manage that once a month with a sacrifice somewhere else.

There has to be a way, I know I'm in a bit of a negative mindset. If I could go back to my single, childless self now.. I'd be going out every night of the week and then some...

Flowerpower41 Thu 28-Apr-16 14:05:00

Snugglybear I wouldn't disregard the option of childminders there is nothing wrong with them especially if they mix a lot and then that way your little one is surrounded by children. My boy started at a childminder when he was 9 months but when he was 2 he did enjoy nursery up until school age then I found school club cheaper and childminder alongside.....

My childminder has the house full of kids and my boy is a year younger than her own son so is as happy as larry going and he will go there without complaining.

Perhaps enjoy a mix of childminder and nursery combined as nursery fees tend to be rather exorbitant. That way freeing up some dough for trips out etc.

Flowerpower41 Thu 28-Apr-16 14:09:56

Snugglybear you could see if you can find a fellow single parent to do babysitting swaps with for nights out. However I haven't found that successful at all as everybody else had exes to rely on mums on hand and sisters etc.

I tried teenagers at £5 an hour but they go flighty and proved most unreliable. i tried them from childcare.co.uk. I think sitters.co.uk is the way to go as the women on there are police checked and mature adults and wont' go flaky and have reviews etc. They do expect 3 hours minimum so approx £20 for the childcare and then like you say the social funds on top it would be odds on a minimum of £40.

Luckily it would appear I have done my time on the nights in situation and once ds is 12 I shall be out two evenings a month no questions asked. Nobody can make a fuss as I have checked the NSPCC guidelines on it! Only 11 more months to go lol ...... Oddly enough ds doesn't object to me going out at his age now he even claims to be capable to look after himself at age 11 but I wouldn't do that yet. He says he is too old for a sitter! Only a few years ago he was telling me I shouldn't go out and i should stay home with him ....!

snugglybear Fri 29-Apr-16 12:46:50

Thanks Flower haven't tried Sitters yet that's good to know.

When DD is 12.. that's 10 years away!

Where are you going to go with your new found freedom? grin

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