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how have others handled logistical transition to single momhood?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I'm currently considering whether seperation is even an option, as I have 2 nursing babies (and 3 olders) and no work experience to speak of. I've been a SAHM for 20 years, aside from my midwifery apprenticeship. How have others done it (financially) and survived? School loans? Foodstamps? Welfare? I just don't see a way to make it work, but it's obviously possible. What have others done?

post #2 of 11

I'm in a similar boat. SAHM and HS mama to 3, ages 11, 7 and 3. I just moved into a different house with the kids after separating almost 2 months ago. Kids are going to have to go to school so I can work, no more homeschooling. I am so scared and feel so alone. Husband is paying the bills now, but looking to get out of any alimony (which he can't) because he is so angry. It was my choice to leave, not his. The guilt of not staying in it for the kids is consuming me. I would also like to hear from others about how they made this incredibly life changing transition. Thanks for posting this.

post #3 of 11

I've got a 6 m/o ds; we're on $300 worth of food stamps and applying for income restricted housing. There are actually some nice cheap places around here. I've been living at my parents' place for the last two months and I started a business writing resumes. I advertise on craigslist and work when ds naps. It's turned out really well so far, no overhead and I just work over email and phone. Is there a skill or talent that you can turn into a business from home? When I needed to figure something out, I wrote down my skills, what I wanted to do, my limitations, and just tried advertising for a few things (business plan writing, book editing) before discovering what worked. I also work on websites and just learn as I go.


It's not necessarily that easy but there may be something you're good at or enjoy that you can turn into a business from home? 


As far as baby goes, it's really hard! Especially on the days after a rough night. My parents help out when they can but the pressure is overwhelming a lot of the time. I have a couple friends from church that volunteer to watch him while I take a nap or do some extra work. 


My ex has given us $200 since April so it's not much help. We make our own baby food and use cloth wipes, etc. just to keep the cost down. *hugs* mama, you'll get through this. It's hard work but it's worth it! PM me if you want any more info on the business side of things.

post #4 of 11

I left my husband in Dec. and am still trying to figure this stuff out! I left him and he didn't want it either so has been very hard to get child support from. I am just filing for divorce now and then he will be forced to pay but I am very much living paycheck to paycheck. He does pay for my car/ insurance which is just under 300 a month so it is something. I have a fulltime job as a landscaper/gardener and have the option to not take a break during the day so usually get 5 hours overtime a week. My 2 kids are 3 and 4 1/2 and go to an inhome daycare and the oldest goes 3 times a week to an allday/year round preK program. I get daycare scholarships for them through the state program (I am in New Hampshire) and that has been a big help for me! they just opened up some more money for it too so they could take in more in need families and I get about 50$ off a week on both the inhome daycare for my son and the preschool for my daughter. I dont get food stamps although I might qualify for them just WIC but that has helped some too. We live in a smaller 2 bedroom apt. but I like living in small spaces and it is enough for the 3 of us and our kitten :)

It has been a challange finacially for sure but somehow I make it work each week and the kids, although would prefer to stay with me all day I know, enjoy the daycare/school they go to and have made lots of little friends. I make sure to take advantage of after work playtimes even when I am tired from a hard day I do things like take them to the state beach down the road or a trip to the library before we go home for the night. We also have most weekends together (their dad has them everyother weekend but doesnt take them everytime) and we go on little adventures to the farmers markets and the beach! things that dont cost much are available and fun for kids :)



post #5 of 11

No advice except I'm living it.  My XH/DH left two weeks ago (at my request, though he initiated the divorce).  We homeschool but I WAH and I have a lot of flexibility in how many hours I can add if I need to.  Still in the house with the kids.  I have to do a serious look at financials this week; it's going to be crazy tight.  XH just got word that he has no work, so no income, and that means we are up a creek unless something comes through for him or I can make a bridge with more work hours and any aid we qualify for.


We also UCed our youngest.  Seems so strange that (in our case) a couple that can successfully UC can't make marriage work.  I would have stayed and worked things through, but he was not on board.  Now I am relieved that he is gone.  Funny how it works out.


Good luck.  Without plenty of money, I don't think there is any easy way, and even with money it's surely no picnic.

post #6 of 11

The first year was def the hardest for me  - just past a year now and things are settling in!


I did some part time work, borrowed money from a family member, used the child support money, took in roommates and returned to school ASAP. Living off of undergrad loans was brutal b/c they are low but I'm taking grad school classes now which offers better financial aid and will be beginning a doctorate this fall - which gives fairly generous financial aid.


What I learned:


  • If you get roommates, even if you think they are good friends, write up a detailed lease agreement. It was a disaster and stressful w/o one. Also put a lockbox on your heat b4 they move in!
  • You don't need to be legally separated to qualify for social services or financial aid - at least not in my state. If I'd learned this sooner things would have been better! You will likely just need a letter from an atty saying you have no income and are pursuing separation.
  • Apply right away in the fall for HEAP (or whatever the heating assistance program in your area is). It was ez to qualify for even though I couldn't get federal social services.
  • Most states have health insurance for kids for free.
  • You are better off going back to school if you personally have NO income.
  • If you've been a stay at home mom for x # of years with no recent employment history and have no credit card, you will not be able to get one even if you have good credit.
  • If you are eligible and receiving student loans, you can't get any social services that are federally derived (since you are getting federal loans).
  • You must have a job to get food stamps (dumbest thing EVER) but a job can greatly lower your eligibility for student loans.
  • Local organic farmers that you meet at markets may let you bring kiddos and barter time for food.
  • Two yrs ago the gov't instituted an "income based payback" system for student loans. In other words, if I borrow $200,000 over 5 yrs for my doctorate and make $60,000 per yr after graduation, my payment is based on a % of the 60k (about $300 mo w one kid) and not on the fact that I owe 200k. After 25 yrs on a payment plan the gov't forgives your loan - even if you've come no where near paying back that 200k. If you work in certain not for profit sectors, the gov't forgives after only 10 yrs.
  • Find a local place that buys gold and see what you have. I sold the odd gold earing back, a few broken gold hoops, a necklace, etc. Also see what else you can sell on craigslist (furniture, paintings etc) and in consignment shops.


Most importantly Stay true to what you believe in during this transition even when everyone tells you otherwise. I was amazed at the negative stereotypes of family and friends and how people would actually discourage me when I was down!!!! Nothing like being kicked in the teeth....


After a year from HELL in which I've lost most family and friends (literally wouldn't know who to call if I needed to talk) I am proud to say I've found a nice place to live in the same town, kept my dog and gotten a 2nd one (they make me happy and I finally found a dog friendly apt), and gotten into a doctorate program. I've also continued to homeschool and this fall my dd will be attending 2 days per wk a private school that takes homeschoolers part time - using child support money.


Hope those ideas are helpful!

post #7 of 11

It's just 3yo DD and I, so I manage however I can. I did have to find a job before actually leaving. We rely on food stamps. Rent is nearly half of my monthly income, and the price for three days a week at a good daycare comes close to that. It's way tight. I think that's just how this phase is, I'm working on making it better for us all the time.

post #8 of 11

I have found it hard to find a job. I did work at home the 9 years we were married and 12 years all together but now I am having a hard time finding a job. I've heard it looks bad to employers to see work at home on a resume, especially if done for many years, they figure you will have a hard time adjusting to getting up, getting to work on time, sticking with the job and add kids on there and it really makes an employer doubt you. :(   I am currently looking for other at home work to do like customer service through some of these agencies that sign you up to take incoming calls at home but that's a looong process. I am also in school, going to try and get my child care credentials in the fall and try to find a job at a child care center. At least that way my youngest can go to work with me. I do get some support from the gov't although not everything. My ex pays our bills and mortgage thank goodness.

post #9 of 11

I also second selling items online. I sell books (tons of them in our house) on Half.com and sell clothing and such on Ebay.com, although not as much anymore. I also took on a part-time job for a while that I had to quit because it hurt my arm, but I was delivering supplemental coupons/papers for the local newspaper to unsubscribed people. I loved that job and it gave me quite a bit of extra $$ each week for just 7 hours of work (2 part-time days each week) but again I had to quit it because of my arm. I hated that.

post #10 of 11

Re work at home: I think it really depends on how you phrase it on your resume. It shouldn't be phrased that you were a work at home mom, but emphasize that you owned and ran your own business. Use key resume buzz words like "administrated, oversaw, managed etc; emphasize that you were in charge and made things work; emphasize that it demanded excellent customer service etc. If it's all worded right they will be thinking "wow! this lady has the initiative to make things happen and is well organized and great with people" rather than thinking you can't hold down a corporate job. You could even find customers (or whomever you interfaced with) to give you good recommendations for that at home job.


Also, it's illegal for interviewers to ask about marital status and children. Just dont' mention them :)  


Your post also reminded me that newspaper delivery could be a good source of supplemental income depending on if you are an early bird and childcare logistics etc. I looked into it but they wanted me to pick up papers around 2-3 AM!! NO thanks!

post #11 of 11

FYI: daycares dont pay worth crap!  They are expesive to send your kid, but the teachers dont make much.  I have 2 bachelors in Early childhood ed and child psych.  I currently work at a preivate preschool - there is no universal preschool in TX and then I nanny for twins after school.  That is my advice - try to nanny.  I take my daughter to work with me - aka no daycare and I make cash.  Cash!  It is harder to find and keep jobs that allow me to take her and pay enough to help make ends meet after the preschool job, but it is so worth it.  Depending on were you live it is a great option.  Look up local nanny agencies and start there.  Oh and the courts can seem to take forever to get cs going, but once it starts coming is is such a relief.


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