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Changing from Married to Single Parenthood
I do not love and never have,the father of my child but we are living together (unmarried). We both hardly make any money but I've managed to work things out so I can be SAHM with my son for the 1st 20 months of his life. Father has lost 4 jobs in the last 12 months. He has a little bit of savings, so he still contributes 50%. But we have a terrible relationship and things have gotten worse between us. There is a lot of mutual resentment and defenses. I just don't even really like/respect him anymore. I don't want to live like this, nor do I want to expose my child to this as a model.I do not have any family nearby, nor a lot of support. I have been planning to go to school in 2009 so I can make a career change and be able to support my son on my own (now, I am pretty much at poverty-level income-wise). This will involve about 3 years and I don't think I can manage it w/o his help. As is I will be living on student loans to pay for my share.I don't think I can handle all of it on my own. He is low-skilled, an underachiever, and not good at earning $, so i doubt I will be able to get fair child-support out of him to help me with the additional costs. He doesn't have a car, so I don't think he won't be able to help as easily with childcare. But I am so tired of him. I don't know what to do. I can't decide what's more important...getting myself financially secure through schooling or being is a bad relationship for 3 more year and having my son grow up in this atmosphere. (Note: there is no physical abuse) My son has good relationships with both of us, and has not exhibited any emotional problems or unusual stress, but he does get fussy at times when we talk to eachother. (I can't tell if it's b/c he is afraid we will argue or if he just wants undivided attention b/c he will do this w/friend )I am seeing a counselor, he just started seeing a counselor. We did counseling in the past for a few months w/ not much improvement.One of my parents thinks I should stick it out while I go through school, the other doesn't. I would love to hear experiences from others who have been in my shoes. What did you priortize? Did you have creative alternatives that worked for you? If you stayed, do you hate it? If you left, did life improve? Thank you. needing encouragement/advice
Your problem? You have a choice. Given the burden of choice, you are struggling. You could decide that it's something you have to do for the sake of your peace and sanity. That's sort of like not having a choice, I suppose. However, you seem to want ''permission'' to leave your husband and go off on your own. I'm afraid that no one will be able to give you that permission except yourself. Good luck. anon
Have you thought about making a completely fresh start and re-examining your priorities?
First, it doesn't sound as if staying home for 20 months was the best thing for your baby, for your relationship, or for you. I don't have any co-workers who stayed home more than 6 months, and their children and relationships are all thriving.
Second, if you've read the book, ''Millionaire Next Door'', you know that many peoople without a college education make more money than people with a college education. Are you sure that there is actually a financial reason that you want to go to college right now instead of getting a job? Do you really prefer digging your family deeper and deeper into debt? I actually feel sorry for your husband after reading your self-centered letter.
Third, have you ever thought that maybe your husband would like to be the stay-at-home parent while you go out to work for awhile? He could even start a home-based daycare business to make some extra money.
The economy is actually worse than it appears right now, so now is not the time to get deeper into debt while hoping for a job that might not exist by the time you get your degree. Now is the time for common sense and hard work and doing what's best for your family. Common Sense
Husband of 15 years has decided to ''move on'' (translation: he wants to explore other women...not that he hasn't been already, it's just that I only recently discovered it).
So, here I am, a single mother to 3 baby girls under the age of 4. My family does not yet know any of this and my friends who do know have been supportive, but my friends with kids all have teenagers and have memories like how theirs were potty trained at 6 months and having complete dialogue with adults at 18 months...sigh.
I left a great career to stay home with the babies and thought that was a great idea until this bombshell. Now I find myself needing to look for a job after having been out of the corporate sector for 3+ years along with caring for and nurturing my girls.
On the good days, the dishes might actually get done. On a great day, the laundry gets folded too!! There are some really not so great days though and it is all I can do to not fall apart in front of them. I just started looking for a preschool of sorts for my oldest one, as I feel like she is being short- changed being here with me and her little sisters.
I guess I am just wondering if there are any other single parents who actually made it through raising babies so young and so close in age with NO help (recently moved here so friends and family are too far away). Having to PT 2 of them at the same time is no joke! Oldest has backslid and 23 month is just starting to take an interest.
PLEASE share your survival tips. I just want the best for them and try so hard to not show any of the hurt I am feeling, but most days I wonder if I am doing a good job just holding it together. Pen pals welcomed (for advice and e-friendship)!! Just trying to do my best...
Suggestions: Think about movig back to where you friends adn family live. Maybe your X would want you close so he can see his kids, but he was the selfish one in the first place. I have a single mother still and moved in with her. Even though she is older and cant watch Ramona alot, it is so helpful, she is a part-time co-parent. Maybe someone in your family is willing to move in with you? We also moved to Petaluma, which is a very wonderful place to raise children, is less expensive, and has an awesome mother's club.
Also, you migth have to suck in your pride, but CalWorks, the welfare program, will help you get retrained for the work force. You may qualifiy for some money that wont be enought to live on, but the major helpful thing they do is pay for things like CHILDCARE. Even after you get a job and are doing fine, they will help with childcare costs for 2 years and it can be the childcare of you choosing. They will also pursue the dad to pay up, so that stress will be off of you. I spent my first year of motherhood finishing grad school (part-time). It is hard, but I only had to go to class twice a week for 3 hours and I had flexibility of when to study. you can get financial aid. I personally think school is easier than ft work when children are small, and you are investing in the future.
You need people around you for support. Maybe look for single parent support groups. My mother, when I was 2, helped start a cooperative house. We lived with three other single mothers, and had two mothers that didnt live in the house that were involved. They would all have one day a week that they would watch the kids from 9am to 2pm and every other weekday they had free. write me if you want to talk more. Hang in there! Soni
1) Get a good lawyer. Ask friends for referrals.
2) Call everyone you've ever worked with and find out about the job market. I hadn't had paid work in five years when my crisis hit and the first job I got was terribly underpaid and 35 miles from home. Within a year I had a job at double the pay a mile and a half from home.
3) Tell your family. They may surprise you in their offers of support, particularly money.
4) Start looking for a nanny. With girls that little, you'll really need a good one.
If you need supportive friends, I volunteer to try out for the role. My sympathy for you could not be more whole hearted. I just got freed up from children and I've got some time to spare. My oldest just graduated from Berkeley and my daughter, who gave me the most trouble, is a freshman at CCA. I want to offer you hope for the future. Danelle
I'm not saying this as a ''screw him!'' thing -- but in a case like this, when he is making the decision to leave and you have been staying home with the kids, and he KNEW that, and acted this way anyway -- honey, YOU are the woman alimony and child support were invented for. His responsibilities don't end when the marriage does!
I would make out a couple trial budgets. How much would you need to return to work and have enough to pay for preschool and/or a caregiver? We had a wonderful caregiver for years and with three little ones, that might be the most cost effective way to go. Some of my mom friends have cobbled together part time jobs they can do mostly from home (travel advising/sales, accounting, organizing, etc.). That cuts cost on nice work clothes and child care and you get to be with your girls! If you go the preschool route, we were very happy with the one at the JCC (Jewish Community Center) at Rose and Walnut (you don't need to be Jewish to go).
Network with your friends on childcare and job leads. Maybe you could job share with someone. Be confident that you are resourceful and something will work out for you. I know many of us out in the BPN community will be rooting for you! single Berkeley mom
p.s. I hear ya about the friends w/now older kids. What happens to our memory?? Find some friends, or at least a mom's group, w/kids closer in age to yours. Much sympahy
Is there any chance you could move closer to your family? If not, do you have close friends who could be your ''team,'' at least during your transition back to work? It also helped that my ex-husband and I continued to get along and was close by and would drop everything to come to help if our daughter was, for example, throwing up in the middle of the night. It sounds nuts, but I would also save household projects for him to come over to do, and he would, but now I can do them myself. -- good luck
People asked me all the time how I did it and the truth is I focused on the short term- first- make it through breakfast, great! now make it to lunch time, etc. My other goals had to be put to the back burner for a few years.
Make the best decisions for what you need- if you are not working yet maybe a move is not a bad idea making it through the day
This kind of bombshell takes at least a year, at least, to adjust to - even if you had no kids. Then there will be ongoing new challenges even if he behaves responsibly (unlikely). There will be financial issues. There may well be new emotional issues that come up - him integrating a new girlfriend into your kids' lives, for example maybe. Definitely your kids will go through a difficult adjustment. They know inside you're hurt no matter how good a show you put on and they'll have their own new issues, you need help for them and you.
I don't mean to sound negative and I'm sorry whenever I hear about this kind of assault - that's what it is. I'm just saying, prepare for a long haul the best you can and take care of yourself financially and emotionally the very best you can, even if it means moving. Get everything you can from him in court because the max will fall far short. Remember what he has shown he is and be aggressive on your own and your kids' behalf. Shamelessly borrow if you have to, to get the legal help.
I loved the Bay area and did not move to be near family though I was floundering. Now I'd say it was maybe six of one, half a dozen of the other. Good luck. -been there
First - Your 4 year old should be in preschool. She is not a baby as you claim, she's a preschooler. You are making her spend her time with someone 1/2 her age and then expecting that she's not going to act like someone 1/2 her age. Unfair! Also, I hope you do not refer to her as a ''baby girl.'' It allows her no room to work toward becoming a kindergartener, which she will be next fall, or at the latest the fall after that.
Second - A nearly 2 year old is not quite a baby either. You will probably want to transition her to a preschool situation as well. Toddlers love other kids their age; it's how they learn to navigate the world.
Please allow you children to have lives outside of yours. Its how they build a support system they can count on when you are not able to provide what they need. As a single mom, oh hell, even as a married mom, you cannot provide everything they need. Get on a schedule and stick to it. Allow your kids to help. A 2 year old can fold wash cloths. A 4 year old can sort laundry. This can be fun or a drag, it's your choice, please choose wisely. I am speaking from the perspective of a single mom of a daughter who was doing these things from age 2 on, as well as a daughter with a sister of a divorced mother.
And, yes, there are many children who at 18 months have on-going dialogs if they were spoken to and respected as individuals rather than babies. You also need to think about getting a job. This is for your financial survival as well as a perspective on how people think, cope and work with what they have. It will also help your daughters see women and girls as strong and capable.
This is probably not the kind of support you may have been hoping to hear, but it will help you with your self-esteem, the self-esteem of your daughters and your life plan going forward. Been there, still there and doing that
2. Allow your ex-husband to have custody of the kids. This will give him the opportunity to learn how to PT three kids at once.
3. Start a day-care business so that you can stay home with the kids and earn extra money.
4. Ask your attorney and friends to brainstorm for more ideas. Plan B
No one should have to do what you have to do. But many many women have, so you will too. tamtar
It's looking very likely that the best thing for my husband and I now is for us to separate. We have had a long and complicated relationship and we are just not weathering having two small kids together well. We are seeing a therapist together but honestly I'm not very hopeful, since we've been fighting about the same things since long before ever having kids. Each time I conclude that it would be better for the kids to have us live apart than have to be around so much fighting, but what holds me back is being absolutely terrified of being single in the bay area. I'm a SAHM, have no income, no savings, have a 2 and 5 yr old, very little support, etxended family all thousands of miles away. We can barely afford our rent now without paying for two homes. I have a lot more support and potential for income in Europe but I can't move my kids so far away from their dad, and he can't leave his job. It's a real mess.
I'm wondering how other women deal with a situation like this? Do I stay in an unhealthy situation simply because I can't cope on my own? scared of the next step
I simply could not make the break before school age, so during that time I tried my best with the marriage, went to counseling, went to bed each night in a fantasy pretending I had things just the way I wanted them, I planned the divorce papers with an attorney, I planned a picture that could work. In my case, that meant starting a totally unimaginative business, frustrating for me because no creativity is involved but lucrative enough to pretty much support us. I did all the school and home stuff, worked the candle at both ends, had moral and sometimes financial support from friends, endured rent raises and unethical landlord issues while my friends bought their rental and vacation homes, as a result felt like a loser compared to them (some single parents move a lot and it would have been cheaper, but I wanted to keep a stable home), got therapy as needed, dated without mixing that with my home life (better than nothing, marriage material hasn't quite shown up yet), and I've done it. It was the far lesser of two evils, but I always say I will never be a single parent again in any of my future lives!
Something has to give in your scenario. Maybe there would be a way to move near family. Or subsidized housing and some flexible, well-paying job. Maybe an alliance with another single mother. Don't panic and don't rush. Don't underestimate what you can create. Spend time imagining it working and shifting the puzzle pieces around in your head. Put it all on paper, talk to friends. In the meantime give the marriage one honest last try if you think you can. If you have to wait, know you'll be out someday and play games in your head where you let go of the power struggles, pretend your husband is some house guest and be extremely polite and joking and as complimentary as possible while you're all there together. Why not? Something will work out
My boyfriend and I have a beautiful, healthy and perfect 18 month old baby. The problem is that our relationship is a total mess. There are issues of infidelity (on his part), constant bickering, a lack of sex drive for me. We've been through counseling, but that didn't last long when our therapist ''fired'' us, because she said our problems were too deep and beyond her expertise.
I am a stay at home mom, and depend on him to support us financially. Unfortunateley, we have no family closeby to help with childcare and the thought of getting a nanny to raise my child absolutely breaks my heart. I haven't been away from my child for more than a few hours at a time.
My main goals are to somehow start Nursing school once our child starts preschool and remain in the Bay Area. I should also note that I have significant debt from student loans and credit cards. I'd like to see if any of you creative BPN readers have any ideas for me - Assuming my relationship is over, how can I support myself and my child on my own in the Bay Area? Some ideas I have are finding a live-in nanny exchange to pay for rent, getting a night job so that my boyfriend can babysit while I am at work, finding roomates with kids, etc. Of course, another main concern is how this separation will effect my baby?
If anyone has similar experiences or any ideas at all, I'd love to hear from you. I am very confused and emotional at the moment, so it's hard to think straight. I sit here and wonder how things got so bad and how my life turned out this way because it is definitely not the life I imagined for my precious child Anonymous
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