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Single Parent- Benefits/Work

(19 Posts)
Jess234 Sun 09-Nov-03 22:34:46

I am a single parent and due to go back to work in about three months. I am dreading leaving my child. I had decided to go back part-time, but after roughly working it out it doesn’t seem worth it. I would be giving up a job that I have worked hard for and also my car as I couldn’t afford the insurance. Would it be so bad to give up work and go on benefits? Has anybody else been in this situation. I don’t know what to do for the best and it’s driving me mad.

Comments and advice welcomed.

sickbucket Sun 09-Nov-03 22:46:02

you need to look and pro and cons of both -

the big plus is you'll be bringing your child up yourself which for alot of mothers is rewarding enough but some feel they need that bit of indepence.

- maybe when your childs in nursery? you could go back as you wouldn't have the child care cost.

if you do decide to stay home make sure you get out and meet other mums how ever much enjoyment you get from bringing a child up we all need adult conversation

Have you been to yuor local job centre (there on line to they might be able to give you more advice.

Hope this helps a little

anais Sun 09-Nov-03 23:15:36

I'm a single mum and I've been on benefits since ds was born 5 years ago - I'm now HEing my kids.

It's quite tough - the worst bit being people's attitudes to you. But I would say, *don't let that influence you* If you choose to be with your child through the first years of his/her life then I see nothing wrong with that, personally. You decide what you want to do and then go for it, don't be forced into work if that's not what you want to do.

I am now planning to train as a childminder - as soon as I have moved - would that be an option for you?

If you want to email me offlist, theres a contact another talker link above Good luck

wobblyknicks Mon 10-Nov-03 00:21:07

I'm planning to stay with dd and live on benefits but not for the rest of my life. Ok, right now someone else is paying me to bring up dd but I'll be doing an OU degree at the same time and when dd is much older, I'll be paying someone else to do the same (hopefully out of my HUGE salary!!!)

Jess234 Mon 10-Nov-03 22:05:07


Thanks for the advice. It has helped me to put things into perspective.

I am more towards leaving work for a while.

I hadn’t considered childminding, but will be looking into it now.

I assumed that I would get a few negative comments, as I have done when I have spoken to others.

I have a few things to sort out and look into, but hopefully it will all work out.

Thanks again


sykes Mon 10-Nov-03 22:13:40

Good luck, Jess. Have you found out about flexi-time/do you have child-friendly employers? They may be more helpful than you think.

Jess234 Mon 10-Nov-03 22:29:11

Thanks sykes,

I could apply to go part-time, but after working it out it doesnt seem worth it. It's still an option that i am going to look into. I know about the tax credits, which are helpful.

sykes Mon 10-Nov-03 22:31:14

Maybe not part-time but different working hours? Therefore same salary but logistically a different day. I think and may be wrong that employers have to consider this option nowadays, consider and may reject but maybe talk to HR about it?

Jess234 Mon 10-Nov-03 22:41:16

There are a few good websites i have looked at regarding flexiable working. After much thought before i had my baby, i had decided that when i did go back to work it would be part-time Like i said im dreading going back part-time. Still have a lot of thinking and sorting out to do.


codswallop Mon 10-Nov-03 22:42:14

yOu may Love it! Its only part time and you may find it gives you the best of both worlds...

Jess234 Mon 10-Nov-03 22:46:22

True, but that's another problem. If i apply and they agree that i go back part-time, and I dont like it i still have to work a months notice.

Alot to think about.

sykes Mon 10-Nov-03 22:51:44

I work f/time and think I have missed out on a lot, long commute, little time with dds and it's tiring etc, I do enjoy working - well sometimes - but I went back after three months (twice) same as you may do - you can legally extend it, I think, but reduced mat benefits. But your employers, as I'm sure you know, have to keep your job open for quite a while. Lots of luck, it's hard I'm now a single mum so do understand - don't have any support locally, hope you do.

Jess234 Mon 10-Nov-03 23:08:40

Thanks sykes.

It is a difficult decision to make and I have heard so many different point of views. My mat leave is 6 months but my wages have gone down alot. I suppose every mother has to make a decision simular to mine, its just whatever suits the individual best.

Norma Tue 11-Nov-03 00:49:02

Jess, think very long and very hard before you give up a job that you enjoy and that you have worked hard for. When you are on mat. leave the world of work seems a big step away from your life with your baby and it is normal to dread the day when you have to leave her/him. The thought of going back to work is always a lot worse than the reality, and you are only looking at part time hours so it could work out really well for you. Why not take the attitude that you'll try it out and see how it goes.

salt Tue 11-Nov-03 09:00:42

Jess, I'm a single mum and I work full time. I miss bringing up dd myself dreadfully and occasionally have a 'bad mother' moment which only last about 5 mins.

It's hard working full time, dd is 17months and I feel I'm missing out on those precious moments. However there is an upside... We do loads at the weekends, perhaps I over compensate or spoil her but the extra money I have from working allows us to go places... open farms, swimming, visiting friends with toddlers, out for lunch/dinner with them, soft play and activity centres etc.

Childcare takes a huge portion of my salary and this is something you really need to consider too. There are pros and cons but the other thing I find is that I NEVER lose my temper with dd, I never get cross with her and even when she's really playing up it doesn't get to me because I'm not around her all the time (it's not day, day out) IYKWIM. I don't mean that to sound cold (btw).

I treasure our time so much more than I did when I was on Mat Leave. There are pros and cons as with everything but you have to do what you feel most comfortable with. It' doesn't matter what anyone else thinks at the end of the day.

You can mail me, if you want to talk more. There's also a group called Gingerbread - they are a single parent organisation and might be able to give you some advice about what benefits, support etc you might be entitled to - I have to admit though, I've never contacted them, just heard of them. Hope this helps.

aloha Tue 11-Nov-03 10:37:05

I love working part time. I also find I have more patience with my ds and probably enjoy him more for it. I think it's worth giving it a try. Get a benefit assessment to look at your position again. You will be better off financially in work even if it is only a little bit, but you will also be in a better position to carry on your career in future. And if you hate it, you can still give up work. Being a SAHM mum, especially a single one, is, I think, incredibly hard work. I am sure it is rewarding and enjoyable if it suits you, but it can be lonely and tough if it doesn't. I think if you have the option of p/t work then I would suggest giving it a try - also try to extend your maternity leave a little first maybe? The idea of going back to work is often worse than the reality IMO.

Bumblelion Tue 11-Nov-03 11:35:26

I am a single mum to 3 children after husband left last September. It is very, very hard working and I would love not to have to work but I can't see how I could live if I didn't work - how would help me, the benefits people? Not sure how beenfits work as I have never been on them. Have always work and now work 3 days in office and 1 day at home so I am at home on Mondays, Fridays and obviously weekends.

I find it is very, very stressful the days I work compared to the days that I don't work (and on Monday and Friday I look after my nephew and my friend's son as well as sometimes having my children's friends home for tea - the most children I have had in my house at one time is 8). I don't get paid for helping look after the other children on a Monday or Friday - I do it out of the kindness of my heart. My ex-sister in law (whose son I look after) has my youngest all day on a Thursday and the other two after school but I do pay her £20 for this. This is not a payment for childcare but a payment (in my eyes) for any disbursements she has to pay out for. Rather than send my DD round with an apple, banana, packet of crisps, yoghurt, sandwich, etc. I would rather give her that money and know that my DD can have anything she wants at her auntie's house.

I now (have to) work from 9 to 4:20 (supposed to be 5:30) but have to leave early to collect youngest from nursery as it shuts at 5:45 and I don't have anyone else who can collect her for me and it is an hours journey home from work. I only take 1/2 hour lunch (have to have minimum 1/2 break as I work more than 6 hours) but make up the extra hour that I owe my company by doing a bit of work at the weekends.

I WOULD LOVE TO BE A STAY AT HOME MUM with my three children but I can't see how it is possible.

The only mums I know that stay at home have well-paid husbands who give them an income - they don't claim benefits.

I don't see how it is possible to claim benefits.

I work part-time and get children's tax allowance including part of my childcare costs. I have a mortgage and bills to pay. If I was on benefits, how would the mortgage, bills, etc. get paid.

Sorry, not been of much help - just wish you luck in whatever you decide.

salt Tue 11-Nov-03 11:44:11

I can't recommend enough talking to Citizens Advice if you want info about benefits, help with bills, mortgage etc. They are much more use than the benefits agency(?? -don't know what it's called sorry).

The thing about the CAB is that they will point you in the direction of all relevant people that might be able to help and not just restrict the info to the exact benefit you ask about or ones that relate to their office - If that makes sense.

I just wanted to add that in case it helps anyone.

Jess234 Tue 11-Nov-03 21:08:06

Thanks to everyone for the advice and comments.

Still not 100% sure what I am going to do. I am due to go back to work in three months so I need to hurry up and decide, what with x-mas comming up.

I think its very difficult for mothers to decided what to do for the best, also the decision of childcare can be differcult.

Anyway thanks again for all the advice, it has really helped to hear from both sides.


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