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Feeling overwhelmed as the only parent

(11 Posts)
cakedup Thu 27-Oct-16 01:00:22

I'm feeling a bit down so posting here and wondering if other lone parents might understand, or feel like this from time to time?

I just feel a bit overwhelmed.

After a long break as a SAHM, I completed a degree in the hope that I could find fulfilling work. I've just spent a year filling out application forms and getting no-where. I am so skint, no contact with DS' dad and no child maintenance.

DS is 11 and just started secondary school. He is severely dyslexic, few years behind his peers and he absolutely hates school. I've spent years getting the right support for him at primary school and now I feel like I've got to start all over again at this school. As any mother of an SEN child knows, it's a constant battle. DS has become so anxious about school he has lost his appetite.

I got offered some work as a Teaching Assistant and had to turn it down as there is no way I could leave the house before DS in the mornings, as DS feels sick and anxious about school every morning. Last week he had a panic attack before going into school. I can't not be there for him in the mornings.

A TA role would be very practical, and roles are always available through agencies. My degree was based in Education and I have worked in schools/with children. As a lone parent, childcare during holidays is always an issue and the one job that works around this I can't even do because of the early start.

That's it really. Sometimes I feel really strong and I'm able to feel positive about my situation.

Other times, the responsibility of being the only parent, the sole earner, the only person who DS turns to, the only one having to continually contact school about DS' needs...can just be overwhelming.

cakedup Thu 27-Oct-16 14:15:33

Anyone know any good helplines for support?

Haunter Thu 27-Oct-16 15:14:55

Hi OP, didn't want to leave your post unanswered. I'm not sure I can really offer any advice but I understand where your coming from. I'm a LP too (no paternal involvement) and like yourself mostly just get on with it. However every so often I too feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of doing absolutely everything. But the hardest part for me is how restricted I am work wise. My profession is a 24 hour one and I could earn so much more if I could do early starts or nights but of course I can't and I'm starting to get incredibly frustrated with it all despite generally enjoying single parenthood. Apologies if you already have but could you speak to your GP and the school about your son's anxiety and see if they can offer any help? Does his school offer any kind of breakfast/morning sports clubs you could make use of? Sorry I don't know what else to suggest, hopefully someone wise will be along soon with more helpful advice.

KarmaNoMore Thu 27-Oct-16 21:05:48

Same situation here, professionally speaking, I am mega frustrated and feel trapped.

I have a family friendly job now which is way below my capabilities and education. But, it pays the bills and lets me be there when DS leaves the house and be back shortly before he finishes school. So, when I feel down, I just keep going until I feel better.

I know you might be feeling very deflated, but being off work at this time gives you the time to fight for better support for your child. Once he feels more supported you will feel better.

As for the job, don't shy away of simple things, you don't need to put that experience in your CV. I used to have a very well paid job, but last year I took a job stocking shelves in a shop. It didn't pay much but it took me out of the house, allowed me to get tax credits, it didn't allow me to delve into negative thoughts and I was walking 7-9 miles a day around the shop, so I lost quite a bit of weight, felt much better and I left as soon as I found another job.

The Christmas season is upon us, during this time big shops are desperate to find people to hire so they may be more willing to accept different shifts (like 9-2).

cakedup Thu 27-Oct-16 22:38:06

Thanks Haunter you're post is helpful actually. I don't know any other lone parents and it's just nice to know someone else understands where you're coming from. I have spoken to the school about DS' anxiety and they a few weeks ago told me they have referred him to the school psychotherapist. Next week I will chase that up and if it takes too long then I will go to the GP to see if I can get a referral to CAMHS. He can't stomach breakfast and then will go without lunch at school as well. I feel it's serious enough to warrant immediate intervention. The school don't have breakfast club, only football which DS hates. I am so worried about him. And somehow feel as though I've failed him.

KarmaNoMore I have been applying for xmas work. Yesterday I passed an interview for Toys R Us, but when I tried to negotiate working hours was told I absolutely had to be available for at least one 6 hour weekend shift and evenings. I applied for a job in Smiggles (a stationary shop), but even though I have over 14 years customer service experience I apparently am not good enough to sell novelty rubbers.Trying to find work to fit in with being a lone parent and my current situation is one thing, to then be rejected for practically every job I've applied for over the course of a year is just soul destroying.

Thank goodness for family. When my mum heard I only had £10 to last me 10 days, she went out and did a mega grocery shop for me.

wonderstuff100 Fri 28-Oct-16 00:09:20

I feel for you, I really do. My son has no contact with ex and he doesn't pay child support either. I moved to the city I live in a few years ago and haven't made any real friends. I'm a supply teacher so work at different schools every day so can't make friends there either. My son and I are together 24/7 pretty much apart from maybe once/twice a month when my mum or sister looks after him.

It's so easy to feel like you've failed them, because it all falls to us. When things go wrong, we don't have anyone in the immediate area (like a partner, or an amicable ex) to tell us we're doing a great job, it's bloody hard and lonely and isolating. But you are doing what you can and the support you give your son will come good in the end and he will appreciate it. I have one very good friend who understands where I'm coming from and despite the fact we only see each other 3/4 times a year, she always knows the right things to say when I call, do you have anyone like that?

I do think you need to get intervention immediately for your child, it's not good he feels that anxious, the school have a responsibility to do something. What about some CBT exercises or anxiety exercises for him?

Also, what about some work at your son's school? Then he could come in with you to work? Or even a few days volunteering there? Might help ease his anxiety if he knows you're there 2 days a week and you could get another job, even just cleaning, the other days? Or what about work at an after school club?

Don't feel bad, you're doing a GREAT job and have NOT let your son down, he knows this xxx

wonderstuff100 Fri 28-Oct-16 00:12:29

Also, just realised you may be near me, as I googled your stationary shop you mentioned! There's only 3 in the the UK and one is in my city (Leicester) and the other 2 are very close. If you'd ever feel like swapping numbers and meeting up, I'd love to get to know some other single parents!

wonderstuff100 Fri 28-Oct-16 00:13:48

Ah, no, made a mistake, there's more that 3! But if you do live near Leicester, the offer stands!

Haunter Fri 28-Oct-16 07:09:21

Sympathies with the job hunting OP. I always think 9/10 job ads might as well say 'single parents need not apply'. I was looking to change jobs earlier in the year and every one I looked at required 'flexibility/weekend work/holiday cover etc'
Glad you've got your family around, invaluable support. My mum helps me out with shopping at the end of the month when I am inevitably skint! Good luck with school/GP, you haven't let your son down at all, it sounds like your fighting his corner and doing your best to get him the help he needs.

pineappleeyes Fri 28-Oct-16 22:16:07

You're not on your own OP. I'm a LP with 2 dcs. Minimal paternal input. I get completely overwhelmed with the responsibility and get really low about it. Other days i love my life & feel very strong. Its a hard job raising children solo. You sound lovely and like you are doing your best for your DS. flowers

cakedup Sat 29-Oct-16 21:05:13

Sorry, only just come back to this thread.

Ah wonderstuff100 that's a lovely thought, but I'm in London, no-where near you I'm afraid! Thank you for your wise words though. Yes, my best friend for 25 years came to see us yesterday which certainly was a tonic. She is a single parent and her DS' father is an irresponsible idiot so she does understand. She is in a relationship though and has always said that her partner caring for her makes all the difference. Whereas we care for our DS' every day but we don't have someone regularly asking us how we are, texting to make sure we're ok, making us a cup of tea, treating us, letting us offload etc.

I do try to encourage DS with CBT but he is so stubborn in his way of thinking, it's difficult. He doesn't quite have the maturity to realise how unhelpful his negative thinking can be, and therefore not motivated enough to change. Also I don't want him to ever feel that his feelings are not acknowledged or that I'm dismissing them by trying to encourage another perspective. I have emailed a charity called Young Minds to see what support they could offer and waiting to hear back.

I did think about working at DS' school wonderstuff100 but as I am an involved parent, and do sometimes have to complain or 'nag' them for support, I don't feel comfortable taking on a different role there iyswim. However, I've been thinking about volunteering at his primary school which is very close by, which may improve my chances of securing a paid TA role when it arises.

Thanks so much for your helpful comments. I guess I just hit a rough patch and was feeling overwhelmed and 'weak', and this alarms me because I don't feel I can afford to be as all the responsibility falls on me.

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