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d.i.y - had enough of trying to manage on my own!!! How to cope?

(14 Posts)
sleepylion Tue 30-Sep-08 19:48:14

Apart from the emotional aspect of being a single mum, which I somehow learn to swallow, I'm finding the practical stuff really hard to cope with, and I've pretty much reached the end of my tether. I'm by nature a real survivor, and I like to take on challenges. But lately I feel like I'm coming up against walls.

- i had to ask an ex to drive me to buy a second hand play pen
- I tried to lower my baby's cot but couldnt work out how to do it. Bought spanners and all. But the mechanism makes no sense. My girl is standing now, and at a danger being too high. Even sank low and asked a guy who loves me to help. The feelings not mutual...
- a friend gave me an old bugaboo. It needed a new wheel. Now I realise it needs internal tuning. The whole thing wobbles.
- bought some second hand baby gates. No clue how to fix them to the door.
- I go to food shops with my girl in the carrier. End up with backache carrying bags. Tried the shopping trolley, but when shes in the carrier I can't bend down to pick shopping out of trolley and put on the checkout as it's too low. Just wish I could go shopping without her! Or to have someone to share the load.

The list goes on. I've had enough! I constantly feel like a damsel in distess these days. Which is a role I've never been uncomfortable with, but lately I feel its out of proportion and getting embarrasing!

How do you all cope? Any tips or support? My little girl is now 7 and a half months. I just want solutions. I don't want to rant and rave. I've always been resourceful. But this just feels lonely and desperate!!!


MadOldAggie Tue 30-Sep-08 19:54:21

Could you order your shopping online and have it delivered?

The diy is your Dad/uncle able to help you out with it and maybe show you as they go along so you know what to do next time iyswim?


3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 19:54:36

Do you have a local single parents' group, like gingerbread? Maybe if you joined a group you could all pool your resources and skills and help each other out?

Would shopping online be an option for you?

Could you ask friends/neighbours if they know a local handyman? I know it can be expensive, but you might find a retired person who likes to do a few odd jobs?

Sorry you are feeling so isolated.

sleepylion Tue 30-Sep-08 20:04:58

I live in Amsterdam, Holland. All my family are in the uk. I've been here 9 years, But network has really changed since having a baby, and other friends have babies of their own. Or single friends have faded into distance.

Don't know any local retired handymen....

Online shopping puts me off as I hear food is not that fresh...

sleepylion Tue 30-Sep-08 20:08:49

I do know of a single parents group thats started up. Not one that's advertised. It's a small affair, via via someone I know.

Just feels like such a long haul....and so much time investment to seek out someone who I would click with. Dont just want to share the load with anyone. For me it's important there's a smooth feeling between the little ones, and that mums are a little bit on my wavelength when it comes to being a parent etc....

If I meet people it works with then great. But I feel that seeking out other mums in order to solve these problems isnt the answer. Its too much of an alterior motive!

3littlefrogs Tue 30-Sep-08 20:11:43

Would you consider moving back to the Uk to be near your family? Or are there reasons you don't want to do that?

sleepylion Tue 30-Sep-08 20:24:19

My parents did offer for me to live back with them, so that they could support me. But I'm 37!

Plus, I've been here so long, and have a big network here. Its home to me. If I moved back to London I'd end up in poor housing. Here I have a cute little flat which is affordable. And I'm in the benefit system. The pschological impact of starting over from scratch in the uk would be too much to bear....

alloutofcrazy Tue 30-Sep-08 20:33:30

Could you use a pushchair for shopping,I miss using one as they are so handy to put shopping underneath or on handles.

Blandmum Tue 30-Sep-08 20:37:23

Online shopping in the UK is a real lifesaver for me, It just cuts out a good two hours of hassle, and my kids are older than yours (and therefore easier to cope with)

sleepylion Tue 30-Sep-08 20:45:31

here in Amsterdam the only supermarket that does online shopping is the expensive one.

The place I go to shop doesn't do that service.

Its not like the uk. We don;t have very large supermarkets here. And the expensive one has the monopoly as they're the only one with those resources....

onlyjoking9329 Tue 30-Sep-08 21:18:50

it is hard when you have to take on jobs that someone else used to do but the satisfaction when you have done them is good.
i have done all sorts of things that i had never had to do before, including tiling boxing in pipework and yesterday cutting back the ivy that covers the front of the house. if you cant do any jobs can you do a skill swop with someone?

susia Tue 30-Sep-08 22:03:32

its crap isn't it. I know how you feel. I had to ask a friend to help me move my son's cot when he was younger as it had to be lifted over the stairwell and I couldn't do it on my own. I didn't want to dismantle it as I knew id never be able to put it together again. We couldnt do it together it needed someone stronger. Her husband was working up the road so I asked if we could ask him but for some reason she didn't want to. So I was stuck.

Cant remember what I did but I do remember being pissed off she wouldn't ask her husband.

There are loads of things. I have a desk that needs carrying upstairs but it is huge and needs two people. I don't know who to ask.

sleepylion Wed 01-Oct-08 09:13:34

exactly! It makes such a difference to know someone out there has the same expereince susia!

I did the same thing the other day. I stopped my neighbour whilst she was on the street with her husband and asked him if he would come over and fit the safety gates! Dont know if I did the wrong thing, but I was desperate. not seen them since, so dont know if I can still ask. So still no safety gates in the doorways!

My only other options seem to be to ask favours from men I know who are clearly interested in me and would do anything to get in with a chance! But I feel that's just using people, plus sinking low in myself. And it's not in my nature.

I am a reflexologist, although god knows what my career future is. At the moment Im on benefits and no chance or time to work. But I have already started asking if people would like to trade babysitting for having a treatment, and so far it looks promising. I could do the same with a d.i.y man, but then I don;t know anyone to ask, and I dont want to put a lonely ad in the paper, only to get some wierdo into my home! PLus, its hard always having to trade off. There are only so many hours I have the energy to constantly pay in the form of giving a treatment, plus its not easy as theres always the risk of my little one waking up halfway through!

There just seem to be no ways around things sometimes. I try to find solutions but often times it seems it just is the way it is. I wish there was some kind of support network for things like this so that there were people available who you know you can trust.

Anyone else having the same problems?

gillybean2 Thu 02-Oct-08 10:49:43

I'm afraid you just have to find solutions, and if the solution is to ask someone else and get help where you can then do so. As long as you are making it clear to these friends/people you are not interested in a relationship with them and not stringing them along then it should be ok.

Firstly the shopping problem - can you get a rear carrier? Or a buggy with a tray underneath for shopping to go in. Use a trolly that you don't have to bend down into, ie one of the shallower ones, or a basket rather than a trolley so you can judge if you are goign to be able to carry all that shopping and baby. And if you really can't manage at the checkout simply ask for help and hopefully they'll get someone at customer services to come help you.

Stairgates - these are important that they are done correctly. Look on the website of the brand and see if there are instructions on there. If not email them saying you are having trouble fitting them and could they give you instructions... Worth a try and you don't have to tell them you got them second hand! You could say they've been in the loft for a while and now you come to need them again you seem to have misplaced the instructions. Are they the kind that needs cups screwed to the wall or do they brace themselves? You may not have all teh bits you need.

Cot - Same applies. Email the company saying you've moved house and lost instructions or some such, could they send/email you a copy so you can adjust. May not need spanners, might need an alan (sp) key or something that was probably supplied with teh cot but you can get these at hardware shops.

Bugaloo - If it's not useable/dangerous and you can't fix it then go to a second hand shop and get another or find another free one that isn't in need of fixing. Life is too short and you really don't need to find yourself stuck somewhere with a broken buggy, baby and shopping to deal with.

Your not a damsel in distress, you're just a mum who doesn't have money to pay others to do it and doesn't have the skills/knowledge or time to sort these things. Ask when you need help, empower yourself with the means/knowledge to do the things you can manage. And if you can't manage then don't be afraid to ask. Worst they can say is no and then you're no worse off than you are now...

Don't use up all your favours on things you can fix yourself though! So if you can do, if you can't then find someone who can

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