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About to become a single parent

(15 Posts)
LouiseFromLondon Sun 02-Mar-14 13:03:34

I'm having my first baby in September and am delighted. The father is a great guy and a very old friend with whom I've had a sexual relationship on and off for years but for various reasons neither of us ever wanted to make it a formal relationship, but we are good friends and I expect him to be supportive of his child.

I'm fully prepared to live as a single parent but my worries are about the logistics. The father lives halfway across the UK so won't be around to help out daily and I have very little family. There are no doting grandparents waiting in the wings. I have a good office job but often work long hours. I currently live an hour from work so I commute two hours a day by tube.

I am thinking that I will have to move much nearer to work to reduce the hours my baby will be in childcare when I go back to work and also so that I can spend every minute I can with the baby. But the baby would still be in childcare from at least 8.30am - 5.30pm. Is this sort of care easy to find? Will some carers be flexible if you work late (can you pay by the hour?)

Also I am looking at flats to buy near work but this will take all my savings, so I don't see how I will be able to stay off work once my six weeks of maternity pay ends (the statutory pay wouldn't cover the mortgage) so I may have to go back to work after six weeks. Is that dreadful? I want to be the one looking after my baby in those early months but I'm not sure what choice I have. Or with some financial planning I could perhaps increase the time at home by another month or two - would this make a big difference?

Has anyone had similar experiences? Any advice would be great!
Thank you.

weebigmamma Sun 02-Mar-14 19:03:34

I haven't had similar experience I'm afraid but I wanted to wish you well. It might be worth sussing out how flexible your work can be because going back after 6 weeks will be hard- not just from an emotional standpoint, but thinking of your body and mind recovery. I know there's no way I could have been ready for work as early as that, so yes, do check out the financial planning if you can. Could the baby's dad even help a bit extra in the first few months financially? I expect he'll be contributing financially in general but the first few months can be hard to adjust to. If you have a mortgage then you could ask your lender about having a mortgage break or a different plan which might reduce your payments for a while.

Have you got friends and neighbours who could help out and give you an hour's break sometimes? It makes a lot of difference. If not then look up some groups in your area for single parents- ask in the doctor's surgery, hospital and local library. You've got a few months to make some contacts. Could anyone from your family stay with you for a while to help out? Don't underestimate how much support you will need. I don't want to be a scaremonger and loads of women do just fine as single parents, including my own mum who was great, but it's not easy having a new baby so do accept any offers of support and if you don't get any then seek some out.

With childcare I don't know what it's like in your area. Where I live there are nurserys where people certainly can leave their baby mon-fri all day and I'm assuming there are childminders who will do that too. Why not go along to a local mums and toddlers group and ask the parents there for recommendations. When my last one was a baby all the childminders brought the kids they were looking after to mums and toddlers so it was a good way of seeing how they were with the kids.

Best of luck to you!

Lucky3878 Sun 02-Mar-14 20:23:13

I would definitely agree with the post above and ask if your morgage lender will give you a break. I think you'll be heartbroken at having to go back to work after 6 weeks although good for you for actually going back. How I wish I could win the lottery so I didn't have to work...... I'm due back in 3 weeks after 10 months off and I still don't want to leave my boys although its a neccesity for financial reasons. l also agree that the father should be paying child costs too. Not sure how much this would equate too but could be enough for you to reduce your hours slightly???. Have a look at the working tax credits website too as depending on how much you earn you may receive some help. Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy and hope you get to enjoy spending some time with your little one once he or she is born. smile smile

alicebear Sun 02-Mar-14 20:39:03

Like the others have said most nurseries offer 8am-6pm as standard and some may have longer hours.

It may not be a big deal to you but if you want to breastfeed the longer you can be off the easier that will be. You can express at work & legally should be given a private room & place to store your milk but if baby is only 6 wks you'll be expressing an awful lot. It may be tricky. Obviously this isn't an issue with formula.

Are you planning to work up until you go into labour? I'm not sure but think you have to start smp on your edd and if you are a wk or 2 late (not unusual with a first) you could be back at work when baby is just 4 or 5 wks. Not sure how young a nursery or childminder would take a little one.

Definitely agree the father should be contributing financially. I think in the very early months even just a few extra weeks off would be preferable for you both emotionally & also gives you a bit longer to try & get baby sleeping better at nt. Important if you've got to go to work.

Can you have a chat with the father & your employer & see what you can come up with & also your mortgage provider? Good luck with it all you sound like you're going to make a great job of it.

PolyesterBride Sun 02-Mar-14 20:44:43

Nursery open usually 8-6 and often 7.30 till 6 so that bit would be doable. I think it would be a good idea to move closer to work because it would be very stressful doing a long commute with the possibility of tube delays etc if it's only you. But a short commute and a good nursery would make it ok.

Agree with others who say try to stay off work a bit longer. You will find it very hard going back after six weeks, physically and emotionally, especially without support. I think you should take the advice to ask the baby's father for a contribution to your living costs while you are taking time off to care for the baby. Also ask for mortgage holiday.

Good luck!

Artandco Sun 02-Mar-14 20:49:29

Can you get a nanny? If you have space a live in nanny would be cheaper and more flexible. And they can also travel with baby some days into the city so you can see at lunchtime for example

MyNameIsKenAdams Sun 02-Mar-14 20:52:07

Have a look for daycare next to your work - then you at least get travel time with your dc.

Also have a look online about childcare cost help - lone parents can, in some instances, have up to 70 percebt of their childcare costs paid for them.

Is it possible to work from home with your job? If so, I would really recommend that in the very early period of babyhood - not all, but a lot, of young babies sleep and eat all day and night and it would be relatively easy to do some work from home while they are next to you (or even slinged to you)

Agree about a mortgage break. Also, could you take in a lodger? If you rented a room for six months starting very very soon, you could save most if not all of the income to tide you over a bit in the time when ssp would kick in. Have you asked work if they pay enhanced maternity pay?

How much will the father be contributing?

Also, youve no real need to reside in your home during your mat leave if you dont wish to. Could you go stay witb your parents or the father for six months post birth and again, rent out your flat?

prettywhiteguitar Sun 02-Mar-14 20:57:54

From experience as I have been in a very similar situation I would try to find a way of delaying going back to work, if that is staying where you are and getting all the benefits you are allowed and help from the father, before you get a mortgage and need to be full time at work.

Being on your own is doubly exhausting and rewarding ! So you really have to give yourself time for rest after the birth or you could be going back to work exhausted and also feeling a bit hard done by.

You also have no contingency plan if you have a difficult birth or it takes longer (I went overdue 2weeks)

I think you sound very grounded and have a great attitude ! Congratulations on your pregnancy smile

pickletalk14 Sun 02-Mar-14 22:31:51

Check out if your work has a work place nursery- as previous poster said this will give you travel tim together and reduce the stress of delays. Also normally done through salary sacrifice so might work out cheaper.

Also I have saved money being pregnant (too tired to go out and less booze!), you may be able to put some away to mean you can stay off longer than 6 weeks?

pickletalk14 Sun 02-Mar-14 22:32:52

*time

And congratulations!

Solo Sun 02-Mar-14 22:48:08

Congratulations! and welcome to the life of single parentdom. There are many of us! smile

I saved as much as possible, cut out all unnecessary treats, clothes, outings etc that I could in order to save up as much money as I possibly could. In fact, I saved enough money to cover the mortgage for a year and did not miss a payment; this was and is important to me. I do have a small mortgage. I also did something I'd never done before that time and I spoke to the benefits people who are very helpful with this kind of situation. Give them a call, arrange an appointment and tell them your worst case scenario, not your best.

I would encourage every new Mum to take as much time as possible to be with their newborn and also to recover from the shock of becoming a parent; let alone the birth itself.
You can't get back all those firsts either. I returned to work when my first child was 17 weeks old and I missed out on almost everything except the first time he stood up in his cot and the first time he walked across the room unaided. I did miss the first words...
I had a long time off with Dd and it was nice to do so.

I think planning is needed for you. Just make sure you try to do what you'd like to do for you and your little one. Good luck

aufaniae Sun 02-Mar-14 22:56:28

I would have found 6 weeks unspeakably early, a real wrench. I would try to think laterally about this.

Firstly, babies don't need their own room. In fact the SIDS guidance is that the baby should be in the same room as you for 6 months. When DS was born we lived in a one bed flat in London, and we were there till he was 18mo old.

Then once we moved to a bigger place, he was still in our bed till he was 2 years old. That doesn't suit everyone, but just to mention it.

In fact, especially if you're a single mum and if you plan to breastfeed, it could be worth giving co-sleeping a go. When babies are little, they just want to be near you, as well as wanting milk. That's what a lot of night waking is about,( in my limited experience!). The bottom line is that you may get more sleep if you can just roll over to comfort your baby, and the baby can get comfort and milk instantly, rather than having to wake him/herself up, enough to wake you up down the baby monitor. Often there is a merry dance about who gets to sleep in the bed, with sometimes the DP being kicked out while the baby is young, or the baby in the next room and the mum dragging herself around in the middle of the night. If no DP, great, as far as that argument is concerned! You and the baby can get on with it without having to take anyone else's needs into account.

Your HVs will warn you against co-sleeping, and it's a judgement call whether you want to do it or not. There are stats to show that co-sleeping is riskier, but they generally include things like people sleeping on sofas with babies (very risky), drunk people sharing their bed etc etc.

If you don't fancy bed sharingm, you can co-sleep by getting a three sided cot (there's a good one, about £110 incl postage from Germsn Amazon). This will keep the HV happy while giving your baby and you easy access to each other.

Sorry a bit of a ramble! But my basic point is you need to look at ways to change things so you can fit a baby into your life without sacrificing things you may not want to (e.g. Time with your baby).

So a 1 bed place for now would be doable, if that helps? Or a two bed and getting a lodger in, as suggested above.

Also, any chance of movng nearer to family and friends, or the father? Having a bit of support could be a great help.

TinyDiamond Sun 02-Mar-14 23:03:29

Many congratulations. Just one thing to mention. I was still bleeding at 6 weeks post birth and had also had lots of stitches. I found it hard to walk to local shops and sit down let alone work. Also bear in mind if you ended up with a c section you would not be back to your normal self so quickly.

I doubt the nursery hours would be an issue but doing any london transport with a baby/buggy everyday is unpleasant. So choose the childcare closest to your home so you can do the travelling bit alone.

aufaniae Sun 02-Mar-14 23:30:55

"So choose the childcare closest to your home so you can do the travelling bit alone."

That depends on the journey IMO. Baby DS and I travelled 40 minutes across London twice a day, and it worked for us (bus not tube though!)

Mortgage break a great idea too. We had a mortgage holiday, so we simply didn't pay ours for 6 months, it made things so much easier!

I only found out they did it by accident too, worth ringing and asking if yours does them for mat leave.

aufaniae Sun 02-Mar-14 23:34:48

"Could you go stay witb your parents or the father for six months post birth and again, rent out your flat?"

That's a great idea too.

FWIW, DP and I got together in similar circumstances. When DS was conceived he was a happy accident; we lived in different countries with no plans to be a couple - till the news! DP moved to my town, and we're going strong 6 years later, with a second baby too (planned this time!)

Any reason you and the father wouldn't consider giving it a go? (Not saying there's anything wrong with going it alone, but wondering if you've given this consideration?)

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