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    • #11548
      mixed-up mum
      Participant

      I’ve been in tears all morning – and it’s a long time now since I have actually shed tears – but today I can’t stop they keep stinging my eyes, and I can’t stop – feeling so low and really miserable – no energy to do anything.

      A customer came to my door to make an appointment – and I had to go to the door with red puffy eyes – I must have looked such a sight.

      It’s the time of year when I have to apply for my housing benefit, and council tax reduction – and it all depends on how much my daughter makes – she is studying, but has a part-time job as a waitress( she doesn’t make much, just a little over £5 an hr and its only weekends or evenings when she is not studying) but her pay has to be taken in to account as “household income”, as she is over 18. (even though she pays nothing towards the household bills)
      Well she hasn’t worked since December as the restaurant closes for the winter – but the council have to know all of this before they will say if I can get help again.

      Every 6mths I have to reapply – and the stress and strain on me is too much – the pressure is getting on top of me – now that I’m on my own its only me paying the bills and trying to keep the house together.

      Every time I reapply I have to fill in pages and pages of details as I am ‘self-employed’ and they need to know what I take in, my expenses, any benefits, any maintenance, etc and I don’t make near enough to pay an accountant – so have to do it all by myself. I’m not a very clever person, and I dread this every time, as it’s such a struggle for me.

      I need these benefits in order to survive – I couldn’t manage without it, and I worry so much until i know I WILL get it for another 6mths – its such a weight off of my mind to know I HAVE got it again.

      Even when I do get the letter telling me what I’ve got – I find it so hard to understand – its pages and pages long – full of figures and figures and more figures.
      I just want to know in plain and simple words if I’m getting help again, and if I am, just how much rent and council tax DO I need to pay.

      Why is it so hard to get a bit of help – I’m not trying to con them – I don’t want anything I’m not due – but I’m not clever and I will never ever have a good job and its so hard to make ends on my ownmeet now my teenagers are growing up and left school.

      It wasn’t in my ‘lifes plan’ to end up alone in my mid 40s with two kids to support – but I’ve found myself in this position and I’m just trying to survive as best I can…….but its not easy…….

    • #11553
      nayuki
      Participant

      I guess I know how you feel. I’m applying for all the benefits now and I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for me to pay rent and nursery without it. I feel unsafe when it comes to these things. I lost all my savings. I was so dumb that I did not end the relationship a year before, I had some savings back then. It was the time when abuse started to be dangerous. I should have left him back then. Now he does help me a lot and it feels embarrassing. He sometimes tells me that I’m sort of ungrateful and if I left him it was my decision and it’s my fault I struggle now. It wasn’t easy to find a part time job with a small child under school age ..
      That fear about money can be overhelming.

      • #11559
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hi Nayuki – nice to hear from you, and thanks for taking the time to reply to me.

        I’m just so tired today, tired of the daily struggle……

        What I take in per week does not even cover the cost of my rent…..without benefits I just could not afford to live – to feed my kids, to pay the rent, the electric, the TV licence, phone bill, house insurance, car insurance, road tax, council tax etc……..

        If only I had the brains to be able to get a decent job and support me and the kids …… I never imagined at my time of life I’d be having to support myself……when we were together we had enough to get by….but on my own its impossible……

        Its your exes duty as a father to pay towards the cost of his child – don’t let him make you feel guilty – he has no right to tell you you should be ‘grateful’ to him for giving you money – he is responsible for his child.

        You left him because you HAD TO – its not like it was a sudden whim we all do it cos there is no other way – we can no longer live with that man…….

        Thanks,

        Sorry for short reply, going to sleep.

        x*x

    • #11554
      nayuki
      Participant

      It’s never too late to start a new life tough. I think time will change you look at it now.

    • #11557
      Eve1
      Participant

      Hi M.u.M sorry you’re having s bad day. It’s so hard managing on our own. My ex’s punishment for me leaving him was to make things as difficult as possible financially and he was so controlling in that way during the marriage I felt useless with money and didn’t want any restrictions after herd gone so was probably carecareless with it. Can you get any help with your forms? Citizens Advice do debt advice, they might help you with it. I really feel for you, but will day again as we mkeep saying, you really are not stupid. Hope you’re giving yourself a break. Go at the forms bit by bit.
      Take care
      Eve
      xx

      • #11558
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hi Eve – good to hear from you.

        It really IS SO HARD managing on you own – not only do you actually physically have to DO everything by yourself – but you carry all the pressure, stress and worry on your shoulders too.

        There is no one there to share the burden or lighten your load – it all falls on you as mum to keep it together, and keep things going.

        The thing was when we married and had kids I had no idea what lay ahead for me – and through no fault of my own I have ended up alone, starting over again, and oh boy its not easy some days…..

        My ex does give me maintenance, but now my kids are older I’m not getting so much benefits, and no prospect of me suddenly getting a fantastic job that will solve all our worries…..

        I’ve done my forms (though it was a struggle for me) I’m now having to wait on see what (if any) difference my daughters wages will make to my claim.

        I’m back in bed, think I’m just going to sleep.

        Thank you for your kind words and for replying to me.

        x*x

    • #11562
      Serenity
      Participant

      Hi Mixed Up Mum,

      I sympathise. My ex ‘dumbed me down’ regarding money. I was independent when I met him, but he gradually took over all financial decisions so I didn’t understand anything. It’s been a bit of a baptism by fire- retraining your brain.

      Plus, he’s left me to pay everything, paying me the equivalent of £1 per child per day, as he’s lying about his income.

      I have had sleepless nights and felt sick because of money.

      I am a bit healthier financially than a few months ago, because I have made up my mind to rid myself of the deny the divorce left me in.

      How I’ve done this is not to try to increase income by a single means, but trying a number of different methods together. So for example:

      -I have sold a number of things on eBay and gumtree
      – I’ve done a car boot sale
      – I’ve contacted the utilities companies and explained my situation, and asked to pay a decreased amount for now, whilst I get back on my feet
      – I’ve begun to not use my cards for shopping etc- just taken a certain amount of cash out for the week, and kept to it
      -begun to be ultra careful about paying for carp arks, and other little things that add up every day
      – Made double the amount of dinner and frozen half for another day
      – Gone mad in reading Frugal Living websites, to get tips!

      In my area, the local churches and other places offer free budgeting advice / budget buddies to visit you and give you advice. Maybe you could Google your area, and see if there’s anything similar? They might explain a few forms to you, too.

      Small changes might not seem a lot- but it all has a mass effect.

      X*x

      • #11635
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hi Serenity – Thank you for your reply – only just getting time to get back to you now.

        When I was with my ex – it was me who dealt with everything moneywise and forms – as he is Dyslexic and so he had no idea about any of that – but it never seemed quite so bad doing all that myself when there was two of us (even though he was no help what so ever to me!!!!!)

        What my ex gives me is not quite £2 per child per day – so not a huge amount – but add it together with my housing benefit, child benefit and tax credits and I can ALMOST get by.

        Unfortunately I have nothing left to sell – when I left him I left him with everything just walked out the house – and so all I have now is everything I need, and use everyday – we had nothing when I moved in here as Id been in a furnished house before this one – so people very kindly gave me things too – and I bought second hand – Facebook here has a second-hand page where people can buy and sell anything – and so that’s where I got most of my furniture.

        I didn’t know you could ask to be on reduced bills – but the thing is I cant honestly see my situation get an awful lot better – so things are not going to improve – and so I just have to pay up what Im due and that’s that – no point dragging out the debt.
        I was catching up on my electric (though no fault of my own) I never got a bill for my last house and so it mounted up and then I had arrears to pay – so in the last year I put everything I made in to paying that back and now I can finally say I AM in credit with the electric people.

        I do use my cards for shopping usually – but my main shop in the biggest supermarket is usually £40-£50 ( don’t know if that’s good or extravagant for 3 adults??) and then maybe a £5-£6 in each of the two smaller ones – I buy the reduced stuff and the things that are on offer and make something of that for our teas that week.

        Unfortunately I only have a small 3 drawer freezer and it really doesn’t hold that much.
        But I do try and stock up on reduced meat and things when its on a deal.

        I have never ever heard of the church helping people budget – must be a thing in your area?? Do you have to be a member of the church or attend the church to get help or is it for anyone??

        Thanks again for your support and your ideas.

        x*x

    • #11563
      godschild
      Participant

      Sorry to hear yo have so much hassle with forms MUM, it must be a nightmare, glad you have got them done now.
      It must be so hard having to cope alone with everything x

    • #11569
      Falling Skys
      Participant

      Hi and hugs MUM

      I hate forms, but a lot of the information that you use on one can be asked for on another. So I make copies of everything I send off and then it helps with the next one.

      FS xx

      • #11637
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hiya Gods Child and Falling Skys thank you both for your replies – yes it is very hard coping alone with everything – but when I think about it – I did almost everything when I was with him anyway – cos I worked from home he felt I “didn’t go out to work” – and so I did the bulk of the housework too – did all the cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing – did all the form filling in etc. – so really its no different to how I am now – but you DO just feel SO ALONE when there is no-one else beside you…….

        Yeah Falling Skys – you are right I have stared to do that now too, this last twice Ive filled in my forms Ive kept note of figures and so it does help to look back on what I had written down last time.

        x*x

    • #11584
      Starmoon
      Participant

      Seems allot of us are in the same boat. I also hate the paper work, I find it so confusing and just want to bury my head in the sand over it all.
      When I met him, I was also self employed and independent… Slowly that’s been sucked away. He convinced me to have a second child and to take time out of work (I had to go back to work when my eldest was (detail removed by moderator)weeks old to keep by business going) and have quality time with our baby. He promised to support us all. Then he left when she was weeks old and now I’m in the dilemma of having to go back to work before I’m ready because I can’t afford to do it without a wage. I’m also not very bright and can’t get a well paid job so will have to rely on benifits regardless.
      These men know how to screw us over don’t they!!

      • #11641
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hiya Starmoon – don’t know if we have spoken before? Thank you for you reply too – good to hear from you anyway – it so nice when ladies take the time and the trouble to care enough to reply – its lovely.

        Paperwork – paperwork – paperwork – it is my Achilles Heel – I just hate it all so much – I lay it by and forget about it – as you say bury my head in the sand, and TRY and pretend its not there – but it doesn’t help – it only mounts up – I have boxes and boxes of the stuff stashed away in my bedroom – I just don’t know what to do with it all – HATE IT WITH A PASSION!!!!! 🙁 🙁 🙁

        Ive asked me mam to come over 2 or 3 times and help me sort out what I have to keep and what I can get rid of – and she has never done it – she is quick enough to pass comments on every aspect of my life and tell me where IM going wrong – but the ONE THNG I do ask her for help with, and she never does it!!!!

        OH my I feel for you – having to cope with two small ones, and one only weeks old at that – how could he leave you like that – IM SO, SO SORRY for your situation…..wish I could offer you help and advice but Im not very good at that Im afraid.

        Its hard enough coping with two little ones on your own besides having to go back to work so soon – too soon – you are up doing night feeds and then having to work all day and then come home and spend time with them and get them to bed, as well as having to fit in cooking, cleaning washing etc – you must be completely shattered – poor soul – do you have ANY support – your mam/sister/brother/granny/ even a close friend or neighbour?? You NEED help and you MUST ask for it – you just CANT do EVERYTHING on your own – you will have a breakdown if you carry on like this – you cant carry the full load of everything by yourself – PLEASE PLEASE ask for help….. Im worried about you…..

        Im not very bright either and I just cant see any improvement in my situation – Im always going to struggle to make ends meet – Im never ever going to have a job that pays decent money, so we don’t have to struggle……. 🙁

        I feel such a failure not being bright enough to get a decent job and support my kids – I feel like Im letting them down – if only I had some brains……. 🙁

        Anyway thank you so much for your message Starmoon – you are so much worse than me (having two small ones) and yet you found it in your heart to think of me – and message me – so kind of you. x*x

    • #11592
      nayuki
      Participant

      Thank you mixed up Mum, you are right, I should really stop blaming myself and listening to any if his talking as he doesn’t seem to understand how much child can cost ,besides my working ability is limited because of childcare. I can’t go and work full time and I can’t really find a decent job myself. I only have some part time job and it’s not a job of my dreams.
      I wish I’d have money to continue education. To be able to carry on with my dreams. I fell stronger on one hand, on the other I look at all the mess at home and think that I don’t even have enough time (or energy) to tidy everything up all the time, I want to spend more time with my daughter. She is very cheerful and energetic, she wants attention all the time. . Being single with a child, being both mum and dad at the same time and adding all this anxiety and trauma makes life completely different 🙁

      • #11599
        mixed-up mum
        Participant

        Hi again Nayuki – good to hear from you again.

        The thing is NONE of us took our kids in to this world knowing we were going to be single parents – it was not a choice we WANTED to make, but a choice we HAD TO make – we were forced in to it by our exes behaviour.

        Yes I quite agree with you – dads have no idea what it takes to look after kids – I know he has to live himself, but what he gives me isn’t enough. (but it IS what he legally has to give me)
        It just annoys me when I see him spending money on stupid needless things – but then he was always like that – it was ME who stopped him frittering away our money when we were together (or we would have had none) – now Im not there of course so he can spend it on whatever he likes – and he does!!!! He keeps buying coats – he has so many, and could easily wear a different one every day for at least a fortnight!!!

        Went my kids were tiny I made the choice to work from home – so I could be with them all the time – I didn’t want to miss a precious moment with them – and I’m so glad I did it for time goes by so quickly, and before you know it they are at school.
        My not going back OUT to work meant we had less to live on – but we just made do with less and I was good at budgeting.
        It was SO worth it though – and it also saved me having to look for child care before and after school, and in school holidays.

        But we managed back then, because there was TWO of us bringing money in to the house – I thought we didn’t have much then, but we were well off in comparison to what we have to live on now…….

        To be honest – I wouldn’t worry about the mess – looking after your little one is what matters – they do grow up SO FAST and are not little for long – enjoy this time together – a special time for mum and baby – make memories to treasure – read to them, play with them, cuddle them, for the years fly past in a flash – and before you know it they are like mine are – leaving school…..

        You will be exhausted – looking after a little one is a full time job – make sure that YOU get your rest when they are sleeping – you need your time to rest for the next day too.

        If you have the time and the energy to do a little tidy while they sleep, then do it, but don’t worry too much about it – I always say it will still be there waiting another day – the cleaning fairy won’t come in the night and do it all for you!!!! 😉

        Do you have any support near by? Your parents, sister/brother, do his parents have any contact?

        Good for you wanting to further your education, that is beyond me now I’m affraid – I never was an ambitious person – I’m happy with little and I don’t ask for much from life – which is just as good as we don’t have much!!!

        It is indeed very stressful being mum and dad – you make all the choices and decisions on your own, do all the childcare, and cooking, cleaning, washing etc all by yourself – there’s no one there to share the load when you are tired or stressed – it is hard – but we do it for our kids because we love them, they are our world and the reason we keep going,…

        You are doing great Nayuki – give yourself little treats a big bubble bath with nice smelly candles, or a good book and a big bar of your favourite chocolate – little treats for you – simple treats that don’t cost much.

        Keep chatting on here – all the ladies here are very supportive.

        x*x

    • #11615
      Confused123
      Participant

      HI HUn

      I think you have had wonderful tips here so wont rant on, but yeah best thing to do is keep copies so u can go back to them each time u fill the forms evry 6 months , the forms are very daunting and just looking at the no of pages stresses u out , see if u can get citizen advice bureau to help you complete them , if u was close to me would of offered to help you complete them , stay strong and never lose hope. im too going through the stage where all i want to do is sleep, its the stress of money like u said

    • #11631
      nayuki
      Participant

      Thank you for all these words, you made me feel a lot better 🙂 we need to treat ourselves well, for our children and for us as well.. it’s great to know we are not alone in this.
      Staying strong all the time is stressful, but you’re right – all the moments I have with her are most precious 🙂
      My ex would spend money on silly things as well. But shopping for groceries with him used to be nightmare. He learned to be a bit less selfish now but it’s probably because he also feels a bit guilty? I don’t know.

    • #11685
      Serenity
      Participant

      Mixed-Up-Mum,

      I think a few charities and local churches might offer help with budgeting advice and debt relief.

      For example, in my area there is a local council-run outreach service that offers this, plus the Salvation Army offers such help too. It’s worth calling your local information service / council to find out.

      Also, apart from utilities providers often being very helpful in allowing you to pay small amounts of your arrears, if they know you are in a difficult situation, I have also recently found out that utilities providers often have a Trust fund for customers facing hardship / who have been left unpaid bills by a partner who can’t be chased etc, whereby part of your debt might even be wiped off. I am going through this process myself at the moment.

      The customer services person at the other end of the phone won’t tell everyone this: it’s only when you get to the complaints department or say you wish to speak to the Ombudsman that they divulge this information, it seems!

      See, they wouldn’t chase my ex for his part : but then why and how on earth could I pay it?

      There are ways that you can lift yourself up again, M.U.M.

      X*x

    • #11706
      mixed-up mum
      Participant

      Hi Serenity – thanks for you help and advice once again – how do you know all this stuff – you are so clever – I know nothing.

      I just feel like I’m constantly ‘struggling to keep my head above the water’ and cope with things – you always seem so calm and in control and you always know what to say and what to do.

      Im just a person who doest like admitting she can’t cope (except on here) I just dont feel able to go places and ask for help – I feel like at my age I SHOULD be able to cope, and I’d rather struggle on alone.
      I feel like I don’t want everyone (charities etc) to know my background – ie how I came to be in this position.
      I frustrate myself I’m so pathetic sometimes…….

      I am feeling a bit better today, im just slightly happier and feeling grateful for what I DO have – I love my little house, and I love my little bed, I snuggle in and I feel protected and safe.

      I value every little thing I own – its mine and he can’t take it away – but most of all I value my FREEDOM – I’m free and will one day be a strong, independent woman …..one day….. (I hope)

      Thanks

      x*x

    • #11708
      Serenity
      Participant

      Hi M.U.M,

      I’m not clever- I just know a bit of this through the type of work I do, plus someone I know told me about the Trust funds thing!

      X*x

    • #11709
      Serenity
      Participant

      PS and I wasn’t calm and in control when I had a meltdown after he left! 😐

    • #11710
      godschild
      Participant

      MUM There is a charity called Christians against poverty, known as CAP, they are very very good, non judgemantal , you don’t have ot go to any churches to get their help, they help anyone in need.and will look at your finances with you and support you in anyway they can to keep a budget , help with debts etc, they are very caring people , google them and see if you have a local one in your area, they will come to your home to see if and how how they can support you.

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