struggling to work ft - is it unrealistic / stupid to hand notice in?

(20 Posts)
twolittlemice Mon 17-Mar-14 21:06:17

I'm a lone parent of 1yo dd - I don't have any help. I can't quite afford the childcare, am hopelessly exhausted, and have no back-up if she is ill, and a job where this matters. I hate leaving dd in childcare for long hours and wasn't going to until XP left - I feel like I'm really letting her down (no judgement at all for parents that make this choice, it just isn't for me) and don't like my job. But it is a career type job that took me ages to work for, ok but not fantastic pay, career breaks don't happen, and I'm not trained for anything else. PT not an option. It is a job with quite long hours, but flexibility. At the moment I am so tempted to hand my notice in and be a sahm and survive on benefits until she is at school. But what would I do then?
Has anyone else done this? If I hand my notice in will I even be eligible for benefits? I would like to move nearer family, but sounds like it is hard to find somewhere to rent on HB. I'm not materialistic at all and am resourceful, but fear living in total poverty.
I feel like I've made some terrible life choices - not dd though, she is fab!
Please help me decide what to do.

MissPricklePants Mon 17-Mar-14 21:10:42

I have been where you have been, I pushed through and now dd is at school it is easier with regards to childcare. I would be wary of quitting a job expecting to remain on benefits as I think the government may be making changes to the income support criteria. It is so tough to know what to do.

outtheothersidefinally Mon 17-Mar-14 21:20:56

I understand - I'm in a very similar position!
One thing that helps me is DD is with a childminder in our own home (same price as a crèche). Or do you have space to squeeze in an au pair - by far the cheapest childcare and great for DD to be in own home.
I've thought about living on benefits but it's a hard decision. After rent and childcare I've not much left but on benefits not sure what id have.
It's bloody hard! Give yourself credit, and keep
Go

outtheothersidefinally Mon 17-Mar-14 21:21:21

*Going!

thornrose Mon 17-Mar-14 21:31:07

I've been there too. My dd is now 14 and I split with her dad when she was 1yo. I had a stressful full time job with dd in full time nursery. My priorities changed once I had her and I did resign from my job.

I was able to support myself with bonuses and savings for a year then I claimed benefits for a while. I then qualified as a childminder, this meant I could earn money and still be a SAHM. Once dd started school I got a job as a TA, which meant I worked school hours.

I think MissP is right, leaving voluntarily to go onto benefits might not be an option.

I don't regret what I did as I have spent years with dd with no stress about childcare. However, I am earning way less than I was 10 years ago and I have no chance of career progression. I have become used to tax credits and top ups which will end once dd is 18 so I will need to find a job which pays better which worries me!

It's a tough call!

twolittlemice Mon 17-Mar-14 21:41:20

Thanks so much for replying. I feel like XP has taken away so much from me an dd - all my hopes for our future, all our security, and all my choices. An over statement I know, but it is how it feels. At first I was incredulous and angry, but I can't stop crying today.
I don't have savings, and have some debts - although not massive, I can't really leave work, can I?
I have dd though, which is everything really.
I think I need to get out pen and paper and properly work out what we can survive on, what jobs I could do around school if I really can't stand it.

Nomodrama52 Mon 17-Mar-14 22:05:19

Hi, I'm in a similar situation to you, although I had to leave my job which I loved a few months ago. I'm now having to leave 'd'h and move out with two small dcs. I have some savings, although I kept these aside for a rainy day. I guess the rainy day is here now...

I know I could very easily find a job in the field I practise in, but I think I would find it near impossible to fit this around two small dcs, the child care costs alone would be so ridiculous.

I'm looking at private let houses supported by HB, but I would still have to pay the extra on top which would be around £250 pm, plus council tax and bills, car expenses, food, clothing etc etc....

I'm sorry I can't give you any advice, but is it not possible to reduce your hours maybe? I personally would not leave my job if I could work around the dc, I have two so more tough, but with one, I would try to struggle and get through it, it will get easier as dc gets older and eventually she will be in school?

I hope you can work it out, it's tough being a single parent but I'm looking forward to being free of the constant tension, stress and awkward atmosphere in the house. Every cloud right? Xx

STIDW Mon 17-Mar-14 22:26:19

I know it's hard work hard work and childcare costs a fortune but in the long term I found it's worth sticking with the job if you possibly can. Otherwise taking a gap or working in lower paid part jobs has lifelong implications - falling behind on any potential promotions, pay rises and ultimately saving for retirement.

cestlavielife Tue 18-Mar-14 14:04:20

utilise the flexibility,
apply for a compressed working week or part time eg 80 %.
remember that giving up work means giving up pensions as well and paid holiday.

it s a long game...your child will grow and child care costs will go down.

yummystepford Tue 18-Mar-14 14:17:17

I was working long hours as a single parent to 2, 1 at school and 1 with 15 hours funded. I struggled to pay the £1300 a month childcare even with tax credits (I also worked Saturdays and evenings every other week as part of the job) it wasn't an option at that job and was quite pressured (sales department head office of a large estate agents) I made myself so unwell and ended up surviving on copious amounts of caffeine and rarely ate meals. I didn't think I could cope on benefits as my ex left me in a lot of debt. Being on benefits was very difficult at times but I decided to wait until my youngest was at school full time, which was only a year away at the time. Thankful to this day that I left my job ( which I only did accidentally when my manager asked how I was enjoying the job, coping with the hours etc and after spending all day trying to fake being really up beat bright and happy on the phones I didn't have the energy to lie anymore) I had another job with much better hours to start before my weeks notice I didn't have to work was up! I'd like to say it ended well but after a week there I turned up to work on a Monday, after the first week being fishy and odd, to find the building empty and a for sale sign up!

yummystepford Tue 18-Mar-14 14:23:05

You need to make sure you are currently getting tax credits if you are entitled as that may help you out. And do a check to see your income if you stopped working. You do not need a reason to stop and claim income support if you have a child under 5 and are a lone parent, they will ask but just say you can no longer afford the childcare or find suitable childcare so will wait until your child starts school.

But if you are able to get extra help now while working, you like your job, or manage to work a way around it, I would recommend that because it can be difficult to get back into work, but it really depends what you do. When I started looking for work as September approached I found myself applying for supermarket jobs and office admin and knew I was much more qualified for those roles! Good luck either way, just remember to work out a good balance that works for you and your child x

Russianfudge Tue 18-Mar-14 16:45:19

Twolittlemice, I'm so sorry you are going through this. I was in the same position. I spent the first two years of dd's life as a single mum making £50 more per month working full time in a career role than I would have if I'd worked 16 hours in Asda.

However, when dd was six, I had had several promotions and was able to negotiate a part time role on the same salary. I can also work from home often now and can pick one day a week to collect my dd from school.

Those years are very very short, you and your dd have a whole lifetime ahead of you. Don't under estimate how hard it is to get a career job with a five year gap on your Cv. I'm my personal opinion school age is when it gets harder anyway! You'll still need childcare for four hours a day, and then there are 13 weeks holiday. They also need you on an emotional level much more.

It's incredibly hard, I know. But you can do it thanks

MeMySonAndI Tue 18-Mar-14 19:10:57

I would be wary of doing that, IME it is far easier to deal with the tiredness and stress of work than dealing with the financial worries and restrictions of being short of money.

If you are working at least 16 hrs you get tax credits, if you aren't you may ask for income support which pays considerably less than tax credits.

But the main damage is not the immediate financial drop, but trying to get a decent job after being a SAHM for a while. I was a SAHM for a few years of my marriage and I can say that despite almost a decade since I went back to work I'm still far from having a salary similar to what I had before DS w as born. So nowadays I'm working long hours as I used to, I'm always tired as I used to, the only difference is that my salary is absolutely rubbish compared to the one I had, which obviously is crippling when you are trying to provide for your child on your own.

MeMySonAndI Tue 18-Mar-14 19:15:07

So my advice would be hang in there, but keep applying for other jobs until you find the one you need.

And do not forget that the government is introducing better controls against benefit fraud, so if you make yourself unemployed in purpose, chances are you may get no support at all.

twolittlemice Wed 19-Mar-14 10:12:17

Thanks everyone for the advice. I think I'm going to stick with it, because I kind of have to. God, I resent it, though.

cestlavielife Wed 19-Mar-14 10:55:29

agree strongly with russian fudge - school age is when it gets harder ...need you on an emotional level much more.

so keep up with childcare now swallow the costs. young children can manage very well in secure childcare. the older child seven eight nine is much more demanding.

build your career so that when dd is seven or eight you can get more flexibility while keeping same salary you have now.

Russianfudge Wed 19-Mar-14 11:13:27

You're bound to resent it. It's so hard. But better resent this now for a little while than resent having to take a crap job with no prospects when you're at an age where you want a little luxury and your DD does too.

As cestlavie says, children do very well in good childcare.

doublethedifference Thu 20-Mar-14 22:07:52

I had to stop working f/t when I became a single parent and I relied on benefits for a while. For me it wasn't worth the stress of long hours/commute and dealing with childcare. I think my disposable income probably worked out similar, if I took into account the cost of a less demanding lifestyle and being able to economise more by not being at work all day. I didn't have to worry about benefits sanctions etc as you don't have to make yourself available for work on income support, only JSA. I took up a degree course once my dd was at school which fit in well with school hours and meant that I could re-enter the workforce pretty easily afterwards at a decent wage and good prospects.

MeMySonAndI Sat 22-Mar-14 16:14:58

Double, the benefits system is changing, although I know many people have done that, there will come a time that won't he possible. If the changes introduced by the tories go ahead as expected sad

dolphinsandwhales Sat 22-Mar-14 18:47:04

I feel for you. I've been a single parent for six months, dd is 2.5. I work three compressed days. I'm permanently exhausted but earn more by working than I would if I stopped. Flexibility in a job is good. I also try to take a day's holiday every couple of months but still put dd at the childminder (she loves her) and spend the day sleeping, doing admin and occasionally have a massage. It is hard but you'll get there thanks

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