Frolo Financials: Full-Time Working, Parallel Parenting Mum of OneBy Jo Middleton
In the latest post in our Frolo Financials series we talk to a single mum working full-time, not qualifying for any additional financial support. She has an 11 month old son and keeps a tight rein on her spending.
I’m 29 years old and I live with my 11 month old son. I work 40 hours a week as a scientific sales rep and I parallel parent with my son’s father.
My son’s father and I had a very turbulent start to co–parenting. He was emotionally abusive and controlling as a partner and so we now parallel parent. We do not discuss our son’s time with the other parent, to the extent that he will not even tell me where he lives. It’s incredibly hard but the best thing for everybody. He also pays the minimum amount of maintenance he can and doesn’t help me financially in any other way.
I invest my maintenance payments for my son’s future. I don’t use this money for day to day expenses because I doubt he will always willingly pay it. I can’t be reliant on any financial help from him.
I have a very strict budget that I keep on my phone. When I buy anything I add it to a list and take that amount out of the budget. I know apps can do something similar but I use a few different accounts and transfer money between them and the apps I’ve tried get confused.
I tend to spend disposable income on takeaways and wine or eating out. I also like to buy nice things for my house and redecorate way too often! I have also recently started sewing and may have a bit of a fabric addiction.
My ex left when my baby was 6 weeks old. I was lucky because we were living in my house and he was not on the mortgage. This meant he could just leave, although I then had to start to pay all of the bills on maternity pay of £600 per month. I was lucky that I had savings to use else I would undoubtedly have failed to pay my mortgage and possibly lost my home.
I finished maternity leave in January after spending nine months living off savings. I spent more than £10,000 on maternity leave so I am now trying to build some of that back, although this will take a long time.
I’d like to earn more in the future. I want to be more comfortable, with more disposable income. I worry that I can’t afford nursery or childcare currently and qualify for no assistance. I am very lucky that my sister is a qualified early years teacher who is currently a stay at home mum and will do my childcare for a very reduced fee. I don’t know how long this will be the situation though.
I have had friends use terms like ‘I know it is hard right now’ and ‘you can get such good second hand baby stuff’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive fan of second hand baby stuff, but I do find that people assume I can’t afford new toys and clothes. This just isn’t true, I could if I wanted too, but why would I when they are bored of it or grow so quickly?
I was so scared to be a single mum. I grew up in a single parent family, (my dad passed away when I was young), and my mum used benefits to keep me and my sisters clothed and fed, while working part-time. We struggled financially and I was determined that my kids would be comfortable and I would take them on holidays, do sports, eat out etc etc.
Since becoming a single parent though and having my own boy I’ve realised that those things aren’t as important as I once thought – my boy just needs love and time and he will be great!
If you enjoyed this post, read more of the Frolo Financials series now.
If you would like more information on benefits or support with debt, we suggest Entitledto or Turn2Us for easy to use benefit calculators, Citizens Advice for general benefit and debt advice, National Debtline, or Business Debtline if you have your own business that it’s debt.