For Single Mums juggling work, kids - everything!
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By Mama22

Just need a bit of inspiration right now. I'm looking for full-time work, and I have the sole care of both of my children.

Just wondering if anyone else is in this position and doing this, because I'm very nervous about it all. I am a bit afraid that I won't even get any work once they know I'm a sole parent, and then I'm afraid of how manageable this is? If I can hear other stories of women doing it, I will feel as though it is definitely something achievable.

Thank you.
By Mum22
I work full-time & have 2 kids. one is FT the other is mostly FT, but I pay for everything anyway & life is more stressful when he is away at the other parents.
IF you are fortunate enough to get FT work, you WILL manage your situation. It may be a bit tough at first, and the kids may grumble & be tired and the Child care fees ( if applicable) may want you to quit but you can do this.

Make sure that you weigh up the benefits & disadvantages - one time I was offered a job but it was not financially worth getting out of bed for!
These days, the balance is about right & that is life in general - trying to keep the balance right for your family.

I wish you well in your job search!
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By abitjaded
Hi Mums.
So weighing in on this age old topic.
Is it worth returning to the workforce after separation/divorce and how?
How do you juggle child/children around working with school, after school activities etc..
Before and after school care the cost with JET?

Here goes my predicament.
Sole parent, final orders in place, no respite as we have not seen him in 3 years (a blessing and a curse-takes no responsibility)
My child is 6 yrs old in a months time, so I will become a jobseeker as I receive the pension or return to study.
I have no family to help me in regards to my child as its just us.
So my question is and would love to direct to the right person in government or whatever and to the general public who say 'get a job', is HOW?
How are you going to find a job within schools allow time to drop your child off at school and pick them up and allow travel time?
Then the fees for before and after school care, how does this all way up when all we want to do is try to stay on top and have some what of a normal life like before.
I only want to do is better our life and to be able to move on from the past but when you have all the responsibility of trying to run a household and provide for your child and look after them how are we able to do this when its the single mothers just lingering on or just above the poverty line.
Its a known fact that as a child grows so does the expenses to raise them, yet child support does not take this into consideration.
I have previously had no problems finding a job in my field of work but after separating and moving states I found it difficult to find work or was unsuccessful due to my status.
I have had a string of bad luck well actually how long is a piece of string - recently we moved due to my health to be closer to a relative in case of a emergency, rent a fortnight increased by $200, my car was written off after a fortnight of moving, I have no male friends or family to help purchase a car, my settlement money is dwindling before my eyes even though I got done over, I need to return work or studies to better our situation - what do I do? Total catch 22.
We live off pittance, the DBD says he 'knows' allllllllllll the benefits that a single mothers receive ??????
And on top this I will need to return to court to file for change of orders to reflect no contact as there has been no contact so my thinking at the moment is to return to part-time study to try and accommodate that crap....again.
At the moment I have a loan of a relatives car as I have not been able to find a car in my price bracket or have a car wise person to look over a car for me but will need to return the relatives car to them soon just so it can just sit in their front yard or garage as they are a gambling alcoholic and catch the booze bus to the club.
This person has wasted $85k in 3 years on booze and gambling and expects everyone else to pick up the pieces and put up with their embarrassing outrageous behavior they have serious medical issues due to the alcohol.
So not having a car then that taps TAFE on the head.
Stuck what do I do?
Only person i can whinge to or try to discuss it with is my psychologist who I have to pay and drive to see a hour away.
Strange reaction to this is laugh and I cry.
By Leanne Sturzaker
Hi Mama22,

Just wanted to let you know that it can be done! I've been looking after my daughter and working full-time for the last 4 years, and although it's been no walk in the park, one of the consolations of doing it on your own is that most decisions are made by you quickly and easily (assuming you don't have a difficult co-parent). The main advice I can offer is to look after yourself first and foremost (and that's not being selfish). In other words, if I'm not happy and healthy, then I'm no good to anybody, so be kind to you (e.g. get a massage, do a gym workout, catch up with friends for a dinner, etc).

For me the key thing that made a difference to my quality of life was to outsource. If you don't have close friends, relatives, or a co-parent to give you a break every now and again, then outsource...outsource...outsource. I know some parents dread handing their child over to (cue scary horror music) a 'stranger', but if you're a sole parent like me, then seriously getting over that fear was the best thing I evvvvver did! I found a babysitter with a police check and references, and my daughter also started full-time child care from 9 months old. Being in that environment from such a young age means she has practically no separation anxiety, is a happy social little lady, and is more emotionally and educationally advanced. If I'd kept her at home to soothe any anxiety or guilt on my part then I doubt that would've been the case...there is only so much I can do.

Seriously...I drop my daughter off these days and run out the door screaming "mum loves you" without so much as a backwards glance. How? I know I'm doing an amazing job on my own, I've overcome an adverse situation (I have an incredibly difficult co-parent), and it feels fabulous that I'm kicking goals despite the obstacles that have been put up (so I have zero guilt). It takes some serious work to get there, but I promise you will get that feeling of a job well done too.

Final note, not sure what your co-parent is like, but if there is no genuine risk of abuse or similar such issue...then don't limit contact between him and kids. Why? Think of him as a free babysitting service, and your kids will thank you for it in the long run. My x moved overseas, stopped paying child support, and still owes me thousands and thousands of dollars, but no way would I stop him from seeing and spending time with our daughter (when he bothers to visit).

Similarly, if there is no genuine risk of abuse or similar such issue with family members on the co-parent's side, then let them babysit too! I'd even consider my x's new girlfriend as a potential free babysitter too (shame she lives overseas)!

Not sure if your co-parent situation is anything like mine, but here are some rules I've set for myself:
(1) Don't be spiteful or make a rod for your own back;
(2) Accept that free babysitting service; and
(3) Take satisfaction in the knowledge that he is in struggle town population one trying to care for a child he rarely sees.

Think how hard it must be to look after a child you hardly know...throw in a tantrum of two...and whallah mega stressed dad. I can't help having a quiet chuckle to myself when my 'co-parent' drops our daughter off, and I can tell he has had a hard time dealing with a meltdown or other minor issue.

Anyway, good luck and all the best.

(1) Don't feel obliged to discuss your sole parent situation at interviews. If you must, then wait till you've got the job, and then it's for them to accept.
(2) Also, nothing wrong with dropping back to part-time work temporarily, when you're feeling overwhelmed and need to get a handle on things.
By Boudicca
Hi Mama 22

I'm in a similar situation to you and I'm also at a loss what to do in terms of returning to employment. I have been on the Single Parent Pension for years and I would love to return to work but as the sole carer with little family support how can I manage it all without feeling overwhelmed. I have an 8 year old and an 3 year old with an absent father.
With the help of a mentor, I think I have worked out a plan. One day of week, work in an official employment capacity, (3 year old in childcare) One day of week, work on my self-employment idea as if I can create my own job with flexibility even better (3 year old in chilldcare), one day a week, self-care day, no appointments or housework (3 year old in childcare), catch up with friends, massage, one day a week, playgroup with my 3 year old, one day a week, another playgroup that helps single mothers. Weekend, not a time to rest but look after the two kids on my own. I am kind of easing into the workforce, certainly not full time for me yet. I'll see how it pans out for 2018. Once my 3 year old is in school, it will allow for more working days.