Possible to have 2 under 2 as a single mum at uni?(13 Posts)
I'm going out of my mind with worry and stress. I have a 14 month old son and I'm 20 weeks pregnant and due in July. I am 21 and currently in my second year at university.
I find it manageable coping with my son and uni currently as he goes to a child minder 4 days a week and I had my ex partner to help me out. I relied on him a lot. I am 21 and he is 30. We lived together and he brought home a good income and was great in sharing night feeds with son. He would drop him off to the childminder before work and I would go to uni.
My son was planned but this baby was not however we decided to keep her and manage. 2 weeks ago I found out my ex partner had been cheating on me since the summer. Not only that but when I confronted him he admitted everything and said "I'm glad you found out by yourself as I've been wanting to break it to you for a while that I'm leaving you" he has now left me for this girl which is his ex partner. Obviously I'm devestated but I knew the relationship was on its way out for a few months and personally I hadn't been happy with it since our son was born anyway. I cried and asked him how I was supposed to cope now etc, he just told me it's not to late to get an abortion and manage the way I was before.
I left his house and me and my son moved in with my parents and plan to move out in to rented in April/May as we are short for space here. I haven't been back to uni since this happened but I am going back tomorrow and going to try and get my life back on track and be independent, I'm very determined to do so.
I'm just so scared that I won't be able to do this. I want more than anything to stay at uni. If I drop out now I will loose funding for my final year as I will have to repeat this year and I do not have £9000 to pay the tuition costs myself. This has been confirmed by student finance that if I was to drop out I would have to fund my final year myself. Not only that, I only have to try and cope for another year and I will be qualified and able to get a job that I can work hard in to support my children and give them the best life I can. I just want to do this as soon as possible. Financially also I will not be able to survive on income support. As a student I get considerably more (over double) what I would on income support. i have worked out all my finances and what I'm entitled too and with two kids I could manage if I stayed being a student. Plus my ex partner is giving me £100 a month for our son so I hope he will double that when this baby is born, so financially we will be ok.
It's not financially I'm worried about though. Will I be able to cope as a young single mum with two young children and a student? I get a childcare grant so I can afford to send them both to a childminder whilst I'm at uni but I'm worrying even with that I will still have no energy and won't be able to cope. My parents are great and my mums a stay at home house wife so she is willing and has assured me that she will help out as much as she can.
I am just so worried but it's not like I can abort at 20 weeks is it, I just couldn't do it. The only other option is too give the baby up which again isn't really a logical option.
OK, so baby is due in the summer, right? So you'll have the summer off at least. The its one more year of your course?
Its going to be tough. No getting away from that. But I think you're right. If you can possibly manage this, it is worth ploughing on with your degree. You need a watertight plan, though. Lots of things to consider:
You need to calculate all your entitlements, financially. Have a conversation asap with your ex about his financial contributions. You need to know what he will be giving you, how and when.
Get your childcare sorted. If you start back in Sept/Oct, you baby is still going to be very young for a childminder to take care of. How will that work? Could your mum have the baby or share care for a few months initially?
What involvement will your ex have with both chldren? Will he have your older child overnight, for example? Or take the DC out at weekends while you study?
How are you going to factor in time to study with a small baby - waking in the night etc? How much help will your ex and mum be able to offer?
I think if you make a list of all the worries and concerns and issues to factor in and start addressing them practically, you'll start to get a better idea of whether and if so, how, it is all do-able.
Can you possibly live with your parents another year and perhaps pay them rent? This will make your situation so much more easier.
If you have childcare and finances sorted, you CAN do this. Think if your brilliant career and how much more your kids would benefit from it - every time the going gets tough. Good luck.
It will be hard, but it is possible. For the price of a really difficult year, you will have a degree and a much brighter future for you and your children.
If your mum's willing to help, take her up on it as much as reasonable and then make it up to her in the future! I agree with pp that if it's at all possible, stay with your parents until you graduate.
You CAN do this. You're so close to the finish line!
I went through a similar situation and I managed it. Can your parents do some babysitting? How is your ex going to contribute? hae you let your uni know?
Big hugs for you, I know how you feel.
Thank you everyone for your advise and wishes. I am lucky enough to have a job contract already in place with a firm I was doing work experience with, it has a great starting salary that may enable me to get on the property lader in a few years after I start work. It's between gritting and baring a hard final year or living on 3000 a year income support with seemingly no way out.
I'm sure many have been in the same or similar positions and have done ok so I'm going to give it a go. My sons father is paying me £100 a month and I will ask for more when this baby has been born. As for seeing his children, he hasn't seen his son since I left and I've had to move about 30 miles away from him. He has no plans to see his son and keeps telling me he's too busy working but speaks to him on the phone. I don't see him helping much at all to be honest I doubt he will even be interested in this pregnancy anymore considering he told me to abort at 18 weeks.
I have 3 young brothers that live at home still with my parents which is why we haven't got much room at the moment. We are in a 4 bedroom house and all of my brothers had their own room and my parents too. Currently my two younger brothers are sharing and I am sleeping in my youngest brothers room with my son and sharing the bed. I could probably stay here if I had too but the room is tiny and I would have to share it with my son and daughter when she's born. I have finances in place which will pay a deposit fees etc on a private rent property and parents can be my guarantor, so that's the best option for me at the moment but I plan to live only a few minutes walk from my parents. My ex partner has given me the car which we shared as well which will make life a lot easier.
The only thing I'm worried about is the fact my son does not sleep throughout the night at all. He will go to sleep reluctantly at about 9pm. He will wake again at 12, I will spend another hour getting him to sleep and he will sleep till about 4-5 and then I will have to sit him in bed with me so he can watch tv then we get up at around 7. If he still acts this way when the new babies here it will make things very difficult as will have to juggle feeding changing and entertaining two babies throughout the night.
I have amazing grandparents who are retired so free during day and evening. They have said that they will have my son overnight a couple of nights a week and then my mum has said the same about my daughter so I'm sure if that worked out then it would help a lot.
A few thoughts in case they help, you sound very determined to make it all work, and it sounds like you have good family support.
- If you are really struggling with the uni work, either this year or next year, and think you might not pass, ask about suspending studies or taking maternity leave from your course. As far as I know this is not treated the same by student finance/universities as failing/dropping out and having to repeat. Or if it's a modular course, can you do some modules next year and some the year after in order to reduce your workload? Definitely talk to your tutors in advance to find out what your options are: even if you don't plan to use them, if you find things harder than you thought you will know what options you have. You also need to tell your tutors so they are aware, especially if there is any practical aspect to your course.
- If it was me I would do some sort of sleep training with the toddler - you would have some bad nights initially but then hopefully he would sleep better which will make your life easier. I can imagine it's tricky though with sharing a bed/room and with other people in the house. On the other hand, unless he's sleeping a lot during the day it sounds like he's not getting enough sleep himself (unless I've misunderstood what you said he's sleeping for 3 hours then another 3-4 hours) which isn't ideal for him never mind for you. So improving his sleep would be in his interest as well as yours. Unless it's just a temporary reaction to the upheaval of moving?
I wish you all the best.
I don't think many have been in your position but I definitely think you can do it. It looks like you have a great support network so please don't give up. Also make sure you tell your university tutors. In my case, they were very understanding and often extended the deadlines for essays and coursework.
It's going to be hard, especially with your children's night waking, that's why it's very important that you take it easy on yourself and don't beat yourself up if things aren't perfect. You're doing great and your children will be so proud of you
Well done you are doing great don't give up your degree is your ticket to a better life for you all, it sounds like you have great family support you can do this you will surprise yourself
I had 2 under 2. It's tough. When they were 3&2yrs I did a college course. My DC didn't sleep through until 4yrs old.
It was tough managing a house, washing, ironing clothes for us all etc plus studying & doing volunteer work.
It can be done. You will need your parents (I had no parental support and DH works away).
If you get your own house you will need a rigid housekeeping schedule. Say 10/ 20 min of jobs in the morning and a tidy up at night. Don't sacrifice too much sleep for studying. If you can get any study books/papers on audio get it. That way you can listen to texts on car journeys/when ironing/washing up etc.
Ask if it's possible to get next years reading/texts in advance and past essay papers/dissertations to read over the summer. Even a couple of hours a day, everyday, over the summer will put your notes at an advantage when juggling two DC.
Good luck. Remember, it's just a year and it passes quickly.
As you haven't went into your final year yet can you not defer? My understanding is once you start the year after a certain cut off it you leave you lose the funding but in essence you haven't entered into your final year yet
It's not going to be easy but with family support you can and will be able to do it , short term pain for very long term gain is the way to look at it .
It is doable. I had my DS in the summer holidays, and went back to University for my final year when he was 5 weeks old. I won't pretend it was easy. I didn't get as much sleep as would have been ideal, but I reckoned if I'd taken a year out I might not have gone back. If your mum is up for helping and close by, would she maybe be willing to help by taking over some of the housework/washing/cooking extra for you so you've got less things to worry about? That would have really helped me when I was in that situation. You can do it, just get your determined head on and keep your eye on the end goal.
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