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AIBU?

To feel like I’ve fucked my life up

69 replies

dandelion1038 · 08/10/2022 20:24

I’m 30 and feel like I’ve ruined my adult life. I did well academically and got straight A’s and A*’s, but got into an abusive relationship shortly after finishing school and ended up having two children, I feel like it has been an upward struggle since then.

I love DC so much but I feel really ashamed with how little I have accomplished in life. Once they were both in school I flitted between a few different low paid and low skilled jobs, then finally ended up in higher education and got a 2:1 in my degree.

I graduated June 2021 and I’ve done very little since then to make any sort of career progression, just worked in schools as a teaching assistant or lunchtime assistant so I don’t have to worry about holiday childcare for DC. I also struggle with a lack of confidence when it comes to work and applying for better jobs.

I feel constantly worried about money, what I am doing job wise, and carry around a lot of shame that I had potential to do well in life but I screwed it all up by getting with a really nasty man.

Has anyone got any words of wisdom or has been in a similar situation to me and managed to turn things around? I feel really lost and alone at the moment 😔

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Feelinglikeachange22 · 08/10/2022 22:26

Are you laying in tbe gutter drink? No. Have you killed someone? No. Then you have not fucked up your life.
Are you away from the abusive person? If not then that should be your first priority.

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AutumnalCosyness · 08/10/2022 22:28

You sound like an amazing woman op! Please don't be so down on yourself. There's so much time to figure out your next steps, you are still young. It will get easier as the kids get older. There are so many people who haven't achieved anything like what you have done, without being a single mum to kids. I wouldn't advise going into social work. Counselling or psychotherapy works well around kids.

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Wayk · 08/10/2022 22:30

You are only 30, you can achieve anything you want to achieve but firstly be proud of what you have achieved to date despite what you have been through. Best wishes.

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dandelion1038 · 08/10/2022 22:38

Feelinglikeachange22 · 08/10/2022 22:26

Are you laying in tbe gutter drink? No. Have you killed someone? No. Then you have not fucked up your life.
Are you away from the abusive person? If not then that should be your first priority.

Thank you - yes we have no contact at all with my abusive ex which I am grateful for at least

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RedPandaFluff · 08/10/2022 22:40

You managed a degree whilst also looking after two kids?! Hats off, @dandelion1038, that in itself is impressive!

Also, you're still young. You have over thirty years of career ahead of you. There's time. Lots of women I know only start coming into their own in their late thirties/early forties.

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amispeakingintongues · 08/10/2022 22:44

All the things you've mentioned are massive achievements. Especially in light of an abusive relationship. There is so much focus these days on career being the ultimate definition of self worth but its simply a lie... never mind the fact that you still have plenty of time; you are still young. Your children are a blessing and many people with high flying careers want, but can't have children. You could have it all, you just need to start looking at what you HAVE achieved and CAN still achieve. Not what you haven't yet done.

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paisley256 · 08/10/2022 22:46

If you're interested in psychology have you considered a career in counselling? You sound lovely and you're stronger than you give yourself credit for. I wish you all the best 💐

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dandelion1038 · 08/10/2022 22:49

RedPandaFluff · 08/10/2022 22:40

You managed a degree whilst also looking after two kids?! Hats off, @dandelion1038, that in itself is impressive!

Also, you're still young. You have over thirty years of career ahead of you. There's time. Lots of women I know only start coming into their own in their late thirties/early forties.

Thank you so much for this - my confidence has been rock bottom about anything work related, I had children before any of my friends (most still haven’t had children yet) so I feel like I went through a totally different life stage and missed the boat a bit to get a career established.

I really want to do something meaningful with work now and know I just need to give myself a push and find something which works for my circumstances. I’d love to go into teaching and might consider it when DC are a lot older and I can do the initial long days while settling into that role but just need to have a real think about what I can do for the next few years or what direction to take.

thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to post such reassuring and kind messages - I genuinely feel touched 💐

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BCBird · 08/10/2022 22:49

After reading your post I totally disagreed with ur summary of your life. I have respect for anyone who studies with children.
I.agree that a PGCE and then.the real fun of being in.the classroom is not conducive to family life unless you have support, it would be very difficult. I'm a teacher my5. Be kind to yourself. If you don't have to work full-time don't. You are right to.factor in child care demands. A job should work for you and for your children. What would you ideally.like to do?

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Beancounter1 · 08/10/2022 22:50

Where did the idea come from that you have to 'accomplish' stuff in life? Why is your life "ruined" just because you don't have a career yet?
Think about where these ideas and feelings come from - did your parents expect you to have a "good" job? Did your school put on a lot of pressure? Are your siblings or school friends all in high-paid jobs?

You don't have to believe these ideas. Some people go through life very happily without much of a "career" and without earning a lot - their lives are still happy and successful, if you don't just measure by money.

But if you do want a career and to earn a bit more - go for it! You have about 35-40 years until you reach retirement.

Try employment agencies - they should help you and will 'sell' you to a potential employer (that is how their business works). If you do temp work and short contracts it can give you lots of experience and help you make up your mind.
Or look at going back into studying.

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katmarie · 08/10/2022 23:05

I think you need to reframe your thinking. You have completed a degree, birthed and raised two children, and have set yourself up so that you can care for them and work where you can. Your kids alone are a phenomenal achievement. I bet you're bloody proud of them, and they will think the same of you when they look back at their lives.

You have enough on your plate right now, and plenty of time ahead of you to build your career. Believe me even I tell you its possible to start from scratch after 30, or 35, or even 40. I didn't even start my degree until I was 34. I graduated this year at 40, and have finally found a role where I have a 'career path' instead of just a 'job'. I'm 41 next week. I still have 25 years of my career in front of me. Realistically you have 35, or more years. Longer than you have been alive so far.

My advice to you is probably going to sound a bit cliche. But I think you need to own where you are now and be proud of it. You're not scrabbling around for low hours jobs, you are selecting roles that let you care for your family. When you and they are ready you will make your next move. In the meantime you are focusing on your family and their needs. Which is everything a child wants from a parent.

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User061022 · 08/10/2022 23:11

First of all, you have done great bringing up 2 tiny humans! Children are such a blessing, and they are the positives to come out of a negative situation with your ex (I hope he's your ex?).

Second of all, you are ONLY 30. You're still young and have a huge working life ahead of you. It's never too late to start over. I know plenty of people who career changed at 30, started at the bottom and now they're in their late 30s, early 40s and doing great.

Small steps. Set yourself a plan, you'll get there.

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nightfairy · 08/10/2022 23:11

You are doing really well. A lot of women never manage to get out of an abusive relationship, and some take 25 or more years to do it. It will take some time for your self-esteem and thinking about yourself to recover and it would be great if you could get some counselling, support, or help with this. Even reading some self-help books on the subject from the library would be a good start.

You have finished your degree! I really think you will see in times to come how well you have done, and also that you will find a way to use your degree and your experiences to help others. Get some guidance and don't judge yourself harshly based on how you feel at times about yourself and your life. You've done the right thing by your children in getting out of that bad situation, and things will improve I am sure.

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CherrySocks · 08/10/2022 23:11

You're managing to bring up two children as a single parent. This is a massive achievement in itself. I personally could not have managed to bring up my children by myself.

On top of this you have managed to study and get a degree with an extremely good grade. Very well done!

In addition you are managing to get jobs which fit in with childcare. Some people lack the confidence and motivation to get any kind of job at all. Teaching assistant is a convenient job for you at the moment, and is also worthwhile work in itself. Future employers will be reassured that you have been gaining work experience and if it is local authority you are probably already starting up a local authority pension.

Explain again how you've messed up your life?!?

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Hankunamatata · 08/10/2022 23:12

TA are so underpaid but so vital. My son wouldn't have made it through primary without his TA and wouldn't not be succeeding in mainstream high school without his TA. Be proud of being a TA

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Hankunamatata · 08/10/2022 23:15
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Soozikinzii · 08/10/2022 23:15

You've got your degree and got your children and no one can take that away from you. You've done brilliantly . You need to get a graduate level job now with progression. It depends completely where your interests lie but there's lots of fantastic firms that offer alot of progression . The world is your oyster !

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Winter2020 · 08/10/2022 23:22

I think you are on the right track. Working around your children when they are young. When they are older, maybe mid teens onwards it might be the right time to do something more "career" with longer hours. When they are able to get themselves to and from school for example and can manage with you not getting home until tea time.

For now I would just try to enjoy your work and enjoy your children. You are doing great.

If you are a TA your experience will be valuable if you decide to go into teaching later. If the school offer training and qualifications go for them.

One thing you could do is make sure you have the required English/Maths/Science grades for teaching so you aren't delayed later if you want to enrol.

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Eeksteek · 08/10/2022 23:22

I’m sure it doesn’t feel like it, but there is plenty of life left. It never feels like it will change when you’re in the thick of primary school, but secondary school is very different and your world can really open up. I feel your pain - I have no real idea how to get a career off the ground either, but it must be possible. I have a lot more time and headspace now, and I’m figuring things out as I go.

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Oblahdeeoblahdoe · 08/10/2022 23:26

If you want to do a PGCE there’s absolutely no requirement for you to be in a placement school at 7am. I managed a School Direct course for years and had many trainees who were parents changing careers. Every effort was made to accommodate their parental responsibilities. Go and have a chat with a local university. You should be very proud of your achievements so far.

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Gemstar2 · 08/10/2022 23:27

Wow, you absolutely have not messed up your life…in fact the exact opposite! You’ve already had 2 kids, left an abusive relationship AND got a degree and you’re only 30? That really is a long list of achievements OP!

Agree with others about reframing your thoughts a bit. Try starting with listing 3 things you’re grateful for in bed before you go to sleep. Could just be a good sandwich you had that day, something funny you got to hear your DC say, etc.

It’s ok to choose prioritising being around your children when they’re young. This is not failing - your worth is not in how much you earn. When they no longer need you so much, check out the career services at your university (they often let you use them for years after you’ve graduated - at mine it was 10 years). Use their resources to research your next step career wise. Is there anyone at work you trust and respect? If so, could you ask them to be your mentor? It can really help to take some dedicated time out to plan some very achievable objectives for yourself around career development. Could you shadow someone in a job you’re interested in, or take someone in such a role for a coffee in exchange for asking them questions about their career path? My friend did this to people she’d never met she found on LinkedIn! You’d be amazed how much people love to talk about themselves!

Good luck OP, you sound awesome 👏

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RightsHoarder · 08/10/2022 23:31

@dandelion1038 are you me?! My life has been almost identical. I got a new job this week in admin, part time. It feels more satisfying than the low skilled and low paid work I have done previously (although it is low paid but hopefully room for progression) The what ifs have been crippling at times. Worse in my 20s and early 30s.

The Minimalists helped me to stop clinging to the 'what ifs. Their philosophy is amazing and helped me so much.

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Idontlikecricketohno · 08/10/2022 23:37

bonzaitree · 08/10/2022 20:35

You have a degree and 2 kids AND got out of an abusive relationship.

You're an absolute hero my love! All 3 are a massive achievement! Take care!

I agree with this. You should be very proud of yourself OP.

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Oddbobbyboo · 08/10/2022 23:45

Hi there, I was in a similar situation to you a few years back. Look at jobs with your local authority x a good one to look at with a psychology degree and your experience in schools would be behaviour support. In my LEA these posts are term time only and can be flexible with the hours…. This type of department could lead you to the thrive approach training or ELSA training; all of which would support your degree and career progression as the children grow older. The LEA also have access to MA courses; social work etc leading you to more earning potential as the dynamics of your family change.

Good luck xx don’t feel sad about the things you cannot change x stand tall and be proud of all the wonderful things you have already achieved x those experiences will arm you with the most invaluable tools that you will be able to pass to others less fortunate than you xx

Youve got this 💗

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kookieboo · 09/10/2022 09:04

Have you thought about psychological wellbeing practitioner role? Have a look at your local NHS trust for role and maybe consider speaking to them directly. If you can't do full time commitment now maybe look at what part-time roles they have and that way you'll build up valuable experience for when you are ready.
www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/psychological-therapies/roles/psychological-wellbeing-practitioner

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