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struggling single mum. don't know who to turn to :(

(43 Posts)
justsomebody Tue 26-Feb-13 03:14:08

I've been reading these boards for a while and have finally plucked up the courage to post. 
Anyway I'm not too sure what type of advice I'm after but I feel as though I'm not coping very well at all sad
So.. I'm a single mum in my mid 20s. 
I live with my elderly mother who is quite poorly so i'm looking after her constantly and I have lived with her for a lot of my life. 
I have a DD who is 2.5 years old and she is a very demanding child and always has been. 
I was with my ex for 4 years and he was very , very violent and abusive.  
I didn't initially want a child, he did and he pressured me into it and took steps to try to get me pregnant, destroying condoms, throwing pills etc. 
I look back now and of course I should have walked away but it's like looking back at a different person. I was completely in love and blind to all this. 
I love my DD to pieces now and of course, wouldn't change her for the world. 
I had a horrendous birth and had a third degree tear, haemorrhaged and lost a LOT of blood. 
To cut things short.. my ex didn't look after me and treated me like dirt. He was very violent and controlling and tried to make out I was going mad. 
the final straw came when he started beating me up while I was holding DD and that was it. I left him and told him he needs help and I would not be returning.  
I have not heard a single word from him since DD was 6 months old, which is around 2 years. 
To say I have struggled is a massive understatement. 
I look after my elderly mother everyday, my DD, run the house.. and I have no friends at all, also no family to turn to. 
I feel as though I am just keeping my head above water which is so difficult because I have a long  history of depression and abuse and self harm. 
I am currently prescribed antidepressants by my doctor but they just lift my mood slightly. nothing can help me with all I have to cope with on a daily basis. 
I'm not sure what advice I'm asking for but I'm struggling so much to cope and I don't know who to turn to. 
I've been reading these boards for a while now and all you ladies (and gents) seem to give some very good advice. 
I have DD 24/7. 
I have not had a break since she was born and I am so shattered. 
I'm hoping to get her into some kind of nursery soon but there is a waiting list. 
My DD is perfectly happy, healthy and well looked after. it's me that's struggling but I love her dearly, she is all I have. 
thank you for reading and thank you to anyone who may have some advice.  or maybe I just needed someone to listen. 
sorry it was long. 

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Tue 26-Feb-13 03:39:25

Hello, didn't want to read and run. Where are you op, is there a sure start/home start in your area?

detoxlatte Tue 26-Feb-13 03:51:49

OP, I'm afraid that I have no advice that I think might help you, but for the first time ever I did just want to say to you (a complete stranger) that going by what you say, you are doing a phenomenal job. If your daughter is well looked after, as you say, that is all down to you - despite your circumstances. Sounds to me like you are a tremendously strong woman.

I hope you receive some helpful input soon. Good luck, you are doing incredibly.

tadjennyp Tue 26-Feb-13 04:06:08

I agree with the others that you are doing a wonderful job, especially given the circumstances and what you have had to deal with in the past. Well done for walking away from that man!

I don't know what is available in your area, but can you enquire if there is a local day centre for the elderly that your Mum could attend once a week? My nan used to get picked up and taken there for bingo and lunch and she seemed to really enjoy it. Then hopefully you could coincide that with daycare for your dd and get a couple of hours at least to yourself a week. Failing that, can you put dd in the stroller and get out for an invigorating walk regularly? That always lifts my mood. Get in touch with the health visitor and ask if there is Homestart and/or Surestart that could help you.

You are doing really well and I hope you get the support that you truly deserve!

notnagging Tue 26-Feb-13 05:14:50

Op pnd can manifest itself a while after birth. I suffered badly & anti depressants just masked the problem. If I were you I would tell my gp that you need to get to the route of the problem & get counselling. You can get 6 weeks on the nhs. Op it changed my life. Made me think differently about issues I had for years . Good luck op.

4amInsomniac Tue 26-Feb-13 05:26:01

I agree that you could perhaps ask for some counselling, but also want to say something about antidepressants. Please keep taking them. You are right that they won't and can't sort out your life for you, all they can do is lift your mood. BUT, that lift may be necessary to enable you to do material things to change.

Counselling for you is one thing to investigate. Have you looked into extra care for your mother? Respite care may be available, a day centre, someone to come to the house to give you a hand, chat about life. There may be charities who can offer 'befriending' for you or your mother. You have looked at nurseries for your daughter, might there be things that she can go to with you while you are waiting? I don't know the full range of what may be available, maybe others can advise, but I advise you to keep taking the ADs while you look.

It sounds like you are doing a great job; you are going to need a lot of strength, but guess what? You will find it for your daughter!

Contradictionincarnate Tue 26-Feb-13 05:28:22

I can offer no advice either but am listening ... there will be mn ers along shortly who can point you in the right direction for support... find groups in your area and start chatting!

Einsty Tue 26-Feb-13 06:05:37

Can I simply hold your hand, all the way from Australia? Your relationship sounds hugely traumatic, and now you have the double responsibility of caring for your mum and DD. You can and should be so proud of the strength you have shown. And remember, you are never alone with Mumsnet

niceupthedance Tue 26-Feb-13 06:22:31

Have you got a sympathetic health visitor? They will know what help is available in your area eg homestart or nursery places with funding for 2yos.

Do you have friends who live close? Might be time to ask for some favours, perhaps someone would watch your DD for a couple of hours while you do something for yourself.

You are doing a fantastic job, even if it feels like you're not. You should be proud.

weegiemum Tue 26-Feb-13 06:33:19

Where are you (roughly) justsomebody?

Have you tried your MN local site. Or check up the "meetings" thread on here.

My mother got day centre and respite care for my Gran in the sort of situation you describe, which made her life so much easier. Just a few hours once a week can give you a bit of a break.

I know you say you don't have many friends but even as an acquaintance I'd help out with your dd, and I'm sure there's others out there who would too. I've been very unwell this year and I paid a local (very responsible, I knew her mother) 16 year old to take my 3 off to the park for a couple of hours and she was very happy with £10 and a go on the swings I might also have bribed them all with icecream. It was weekly through the summer hols and a great arrangement.

You are in such a hard place and need to look after yourself. Could you go to the GP? They might be able to refer for appropriate respite care.

weegiemum Tue 26-Feb-13 06:36:39

Sorry, just remembered.

I've a friend who's husband had stomach cancer (amazingly, he's ok now!). But my friend spoke to her HV (she was really struggling) and HV arranged for her ds to get his free nursery hours early - age 2. Can you ask and see if it's possible?

WeAreEternal Tue 26-Feb-13 06:48:55


To me it sounds like you have four problems to tackle.

1, You need some kind of a regular break from your DD,
That's quite a simple one really, you should contact all of your local nurseries/pre schools/childminders and ask about places for her for a morning or two each week.
It doesn't seem like much but one free morning a week will give you a huge break.

2, You need to get some help caring for your mum.
There are quite a few different options for what kind of help you can get, but the first thing you need to do if find out exactly what help is available.
Go and talk you your GP, explain the situation, he will be able to offer some advice.
You could also try social services, they can offer great support for carers.

3, Your depression.
While you are at your gp's tell him how you are feeling, it could be that your ADs need adjusting or he may suggest counselling.
With everything you have been through I think you would really benefit from having someone that you can really talk things through with.

4, You need to get out and make some friends.
Part of the reason you are struggling so much is that you have nobody to support you, you need to change that by going out and making some new friends. Kids are great for this, sign up for a couple of local mother and toddler groups, chat with other mums at the park, start frequenting child friendly places and just chat to people.
It is a lot easier than you would think to make friends.

Where are you? Maybe you have some MNers local who would like to meet up, if you are near me I will be your friend. smile.

Possiblyoutedled Tue 26-Feb-13 06:50:29

Are you linked to a children's centre?
I'd say that is your best start. A good worker can give you advice about all sorts and help you to start getting the most out of life.
Does your mum get any outside help? Can you ask about that.
How free are you to get out? Do you have to be with her 24/7?
Your dd needs a life as well as you do.

justsomebody Tue 26-Feb-13 09:20:03

I'm absolutely astounded by your responses, thank you so much.
My mother and I don't have the best relationship, to say the least. she's a very proud woman and would absolutely refuse any outside help.
She grew up in a time where depression and struggles were just brushed under the carpet and expects me to do the same.
She wanted me to go to Uni and everything and she makes clear her disappointment in me every single day.
Despite all this, we do have a close bond. My father passed away very suddenly when I was 13 and I have been with her most of the time since.
I am in Manchester and I do have a local sure start and I have asked about nursery and they told me there's a long waiting list.
I don't actually have any friends and I never really have.
My confidence has been on the floor for a long time now and I struggle to even talk to anyone.
I don't see any kind of health visitor and I haven't since DD was a few months old.
I find it hard speaking about problems to my GP. I'm terrified of them thinking I'm doing something wrong or I'm not able to cope with my daughter when I do my absolute best and I can honestly say, I put my DD first with absolutely everything and she wants for nothing.
I hope I've answered any questions and I'm so thankful for all your replies.
I forgot to mention that I don't speak to any of my family as relationships there are strained.
My parents had me when they were 46 and my siblings were always massively "jealous " of me and I rarely see any of them.
I have a brother (in his 40s) that has end stage liver cirrhosis from alcoholism and that's something also that plays constantly on my mind.
I begged him to stop but he wouldn't listen and now it's far too late, sadly.
Sorry for all the random snippets of information, I'm currently on my phone and I have the flu, feeling rotten.
And yes I do have DD with me 24.7.
she's never been away from me except with mum for a short period of time every few months.
Thank you so much

aufaniae Tue 26-Feb-13 09:50:46

Have you considered a childminder?

DS has had two lovely CMs. CMs are OFSTED registered these days and you can use your free hours there (once she turns 3) exactly the same as a nursery.

Have a look at to find CMs in your area, there will be some there with vacancies.

If you do this, do ask to see their OFSTED report before choosing one, a good CM will be happy to share it with you.

HeathRobinson Tue 26-Feb-13 09:59:25

Do you have a sports centre locally with a creche? You could maybe go swimming and leave dd in the creche for an hour or just sit in the cafe with a coffee and the paper?

Sounds like you're doing a great job with your dd! flowers

meiisme Tue 26-Feb-13 10:12:37

Justsomebody, your situation sounds very hard and it's no wonder you're struggling. It seems to me that you take on a lot of responsibility in taking care of and worrying about other people and not allow yourself time or energy to take care of yourself. But you should, because you matter just as much as your daughter, mum or brother.

My situation was not too different from yours until quite recently and one thing that helped me find a way out was the 15 hours free childcare program for 2 yos that Manchester Council runs for parents on a low income. You can get these free hours with certain nurseries and childminders if you are on Income Support, get more than £ 545 per year Child Tax Credit or Jobseeker's Allowance. For whatever reason nurseries and SureStart staff often don't know about it, so see for more information or ask your health visitor to look into it.

If you want, I can send you a PM with my contact details, in case you want more info or share experiences. I'm not too comfortable sharing it all on here, cause this is your thread, but knowing where I was a year ago and where I (and my children!) are now, I think I know very well how stuck you feel but also that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Tue 26-Feb-13 11:07:26

You are never alone, there's always someone (whatever time of day or night) here for you.
CM sounds like a great option, one I hadn't considered, you need time just for you.
You are doing a great job.

Skyebluesapphire Tue 26-Feb-13 13:37:31

Big hug for ((you)). Please get some outside help. Contact the Children's Centre and explain what you are going through. They are there to support you and get you help in all areas. They usually run courses with creches where you would be able to meet other mums and they all run toddler groups etc.

you have made a big step and the right one in getting away from that man. It must be difficult having to look after your mum, but please see what extra help you can get for her. Don't feel like you can't ask for help. Nobody is going to criticise you for not being able to cope, you have a massive amount to deal with.

I agree that you should speak to your doctor, and health visitor. Does your mum have other carers? Are there other people who could come in for a day a week and give you a break?

Please make sure that you and your mum are getting all the benefits that you are entitled to, carers allowance, attendance allowance etc. The Childrens Centre should be able to help you with that too.

Isabeller Tue 26-Feb-13 13:47:03

I wonder if manchester carer's centre would be a good place to start to get some support. Even if your Mum doesn't want help from anyone else you can get support for yourself as a carer. If there were any relevant activities you could join in with you might meet people who had more of an understanding of your situation.

forcookssake Tue 26-Feb-13 18:48:23

I couldn't read and not post. You have dealt with several things which would be tough in isolation let alone stacked up. There's lots of well informed and clue up posters here for you on this thread, I hope you can begin to see some improvements.

eccentrica Tue 26-Feb-13 20:07:46

I echo the others, I think you are doing a fantastic job. Your daughter is lucky to have you.

While you're waiting for a nursery place, have you thought about taking DD to events at your local library? I started taking my daughter there when she was a few months old (baby rhyme time) and met a lot of other mums there. Have stayed friends with some of them for a couple of years now.

For 2 year olds I think they have story time sessions, stay and play, and that sort of thing. They are generally free or no more than £1, and there are usually at least a couple of mums who hang around afterwards and have a chat while the kids play.

I realise it's a small thing and is not going to be a magic wand, but it might brighten up some of your days a bit.

All the best smile

FaceLikeAPickledOnion Tue 26-Feb-13 21:03:19

How are you OP?

Einsty Wed 27-Feb-13 23:26:06

Just checking in, OP. Thinking of you

justsomebody Wed 27-Feb-13 23:39:10

thank you for the responses everybody.
To the lady who wanted to PM me, yes please do. I'd love to hear your experiences and any advice.
I've been really ill with the flu for the last few days but I still have to continue and look after everybody,, which isn't easy.
I'm thinking of looking into maybe going to a play group of some sorts, starting with small steps.
I find it very hard taking first steps as my confidence is none existent at the moment but coming on here and hearing everyone's wonderful responses may have given me the nudge I need.
I need to do it for my DD more than anything but also for my own sanity.
Thanks everybody and if anybody wants to PM me then please do x

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