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The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Single Mom

JRI's picture

I'm a mature BM & SM of 5.  Every time we StepTalkers advise a poster to leave, I get an anxious feeling due to my own experiences in the '70s.  I wonder if conditions have improved since then.

Security:  My ex stalked, threatened & harassed me.  He stole my car.  He kidnapped my 6yo BS from school.  The police didn't seem to focus on domestic violence then.  Anticipating trouble, I called them before going back to retrieve possessions.  They said, " We don't like to get involved".  The school wasn't yet vigilant about who had permission to pick up children.  Do the police & schools do better now?

Housing:  After 9 months with my family, I rented the second floor of a residence.  It had its own private, outside entrance.  I was evicted after 2 months when the homeowner saw their son-in-law come to my door repeatedly.  He wanted to "fix things" but I had neither requested nor encouraged him & never let him in.  While apartment hunting again, I was told on different occasions, " We dont want any divorcees" & "We dont want any children".  Is it easier to get housing now?

Childcare:  I had a good, professional nursery school when I lived at home but once I moved out, I couldnt afford it.  I made do with a succession of babysitters.  Is affordable childcare more available now?

Money:  Wage disparity was worse then than now with women routinely paid less than men for the same work.  Although I was awarded child support, my ex worked cash jobs, when he worked, so I rarely received child support.  Is child support enforcement better now?

As difficult as it was, I'd still leave me ex.  I was lucky:  I had my youth, health, brains, looks and family.  If a poster wants to leave, I hope they are lucky, too.  

Tell me how it is nowadays, StepTalkers.  Lay it on me.


tog redux's picture

I'd say yes, all of those things are better now, with the exception of child care, which is still crazy expensive. But we've come a long way in terms of domestic violence, schools are very vigilant, landlords aren't allowed to (openly) refuse tenants with children, and women still make less than men, but it's better, depending on the field.  I'm the manager in a woman-dominated field and men don't make one red cent more than women (but no one makes much at all).

Kes's picture

I think things are mostly better now - here in the UK, the police most certainly would get involved with domestic abuse and stalking cases.  Housing is still not easy - rents are high here, although there is housing benefit available if you qualify.  My daughter who is a single parent, gets some welfare benefits because she is in a relatively low paid albeit full time, job. There is 30 hours a week free childcare available for families with a child or 3 or 4 yrs of age.  However, divorcing couples with children do not often go to court to settle CS and custody etc. which is usually done through lawyers. This is not always to the mother's advantage.  My daughter got taken to the cleaners by her ex's family hiring him an expensive lawyer. 

tog redux's picture

Believe it or not, only about 10% of American divorces end up in court as well. Most people settle it with a lawyer, sometimes sharing a lawyer. Those 10% are the wonderful high-conflict divorces described on this site.

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Good Lord, no wonder people rushed to get remarried back then! Single mom for 10 years here in the US. Literally everything is better now, from what you describe. I live in a small town and my ex's family is connected, so the police thing, for me, is about the same. But generally, it's worlds better now! 

JRI's picture

Thank God things are better now.  Yes, it was tough being a single mom in 1970.  It was still kind of unusual. By the end of the 70s, much more common.  And, you are right. I saw getting married again as a solution.  Lol, little did I know.

GrudgingSM's picture

EVERYTHING about my life is better since divorce! And, wildly, I'm way more financially stable (even without receiving any child support; ex was just a financial black hole), my physical health improved, my mental health improved, and now the biodad HAS to parent 50% of the time, so I have more hobbies and friends. Also found the most sane and stable DH to partner with, so despite the skids that I'm unenthusiastic about, it's a far, far better life than before. 

I like to say quitting is for winners, but a kind friend told me (and my guilt) that there's no such thing as jumping ship too early if you're on the wrong boat. Happy to have found a seaworthy partner, and even before him, everything was so much better.

JRI's picture

Even with all my travails and before I remarried, my life was better, too.  Mainly because I only had 3 people to support, me and the kids, not 4 with his sporadic work and blowing money on drugs and other insane things.  Also, I only had 3 people to clean up after.

JRI's picture

Well, I think it's the Chinese who say, "May you live in interesting times".

JRI's picture

Im so glad conditions have improved.  You must be the age of my kids.  At the time, I cried 1,000 tears for putting them thru all my moves and the turmoil.  Result:  after attending 5 schools, my DS55 can make friends anywhere and navigates a very tumultuous life without blinking an eye.  My SD55 has dealt with all kinds of family trauma with little disruption.  So I guess you kids of the 70s divorces learned to deal with stress!  Lol.