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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).

IamBackUW's picture

I was discriminated against because I didn't have children, yet. O.o

I've also been discriminated against for being of European heritage when job hunting.

JRI's picture

I'm a WASP so to be discrimjnated against in the housing was a new, eye-opening experience.   Its funny, though, the reason I got my ultimate apartment was BECAUSE of the kids.  The manager had a daughter my girl's age so when she saw my kids, she probably thought, "Playmates!"   (Thanks, Bernice, wherever you are).

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.

IamBackUW's picture

Our societal ills are the "payoff" from the fatherless homes that became a thing with Boomers and their progeny, Gen X and Millennials. It shows imo. Children need fathers. 

Obviously your ex was unworthy and not a good father.

Even though I hate being in StepHell I stay for the benefit of my real children. My H is a good Dad. Thank God!

JRI's picture

My DH took on the father role to my kids easily.  With all his Disney faults, I'm lucky.  

IamBackUW's picture



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.

Iamwoman's picture

Yes, it's definitely better now in nearly every way.

I make more money than my DH does. Our landlords love us and we weren't married when we moved here long long ago. The police do involve themselves in domestic violence now - after my ex knocked me unconscious, I woke, grabbed DD and my phone and locked us in her bedroom until the police arrived. One of the policemen told me that I should not tolerate my husband putting his hands on me and he said that if I would like to divorce and move out, he would personally supervise the move so that I was not under any threat of harm. Nice fella.

Child care is still insanely expensive, but courts make the ex pay half of it on top of child support now. Anyone else can correct me here though, as my kid and skids are all teens and preteen.

I'm so sorry you had to endure all of that JRI. Women like you really paved the way for the rest of us. Thank you so much for being so strong in a time when strong women were beaten down by society. I'll never understand the hatred young adults have for the elderly these days, as I admire your generation and all you did to make this world a better place and an easier place for the rest of us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

GrudgingSM's picture

Yes, thank you! I think I've read every blog you've posted. I so appreciate your perspective and wisdom as I try and navigate this incredibly difficult set of relationships.

JRI's picture

Thanks for the kind words but I'm no womens rights pioneer, too busy making life mistakes!  Lol.

Iamwoman's picture

Anytime you treat yourself as a human being, respect your own body, thoughts, feelings, and mental health, instead of depreciating yourself to fit an agenda of a man or men that serves their best interests while negating yours, you are a women's rights pioneer.


The only women I wouldn't call women's rights pioneers are those who set aside their own feelings, hopes, dreams, well-being, self-esteem, or otherwise limit themselves and/or encourage (or worse demand) that other women do the same, in order to  please a man or men in general. Those types of women are just as bad as the cowardly misogynists that oppressed females in the first place.

secret's picture

For courts making the ex pay depends.

BM is on welfare...and receives student aid. She makes nearly 40k a year with her income, welfare, and student grants/loans.

She receives child care subsidy, which pays for half the cost of childcare since she's at 50% custody. The school tried to make dh pay the other half... except because he doesn't use the childcare, hes not required to pay half.

She gets 200 a month child support. Dh makes between 42-48k a year... she got legal aid to get a lawyer and they requested his finances....she wants more money because I told her she can use the student loan money she got for childcare to pay for the other half.

Silly BM..  that means the child support will be dropping from 200 a month to about 60 a month... and because we have alternate childcare, we don't have to pay for her other half.... she's out 240 for child care plus 140 from dh... how's that extra 380 a month you're responsible for, BM?

Done playing games yet?

But wait .. there's more! 

I outed her to our provincial health care for having ss on benefits he's not entitled to given he's covered under my plan... so his meds are now only 60% covered.... she has to pay the difference (100$ or so a month) and submit the claim through my insurance.... she's demanding the refund back except she screwed dh out of some retro child tax I told her that once that amount has been recovered in full, she'll get the refund.. but only after the overpayment of child support has been equalized... 

Did I mention she hates me? Lol


StepUltimate's picture

Where do I send my application, registration fee, and 1st month of Secret Fan Club dues, because You. Freakin. ROCK!! !!!!!


IamBackUW's picture

I think my mother would say the 70s is better than now. The 80s were even better. We had a nice apartment that was decently sized that she could afford on her (union) wages.

Now, we have looting, arson, murder, rumblings of a race war, N Korea threats, COVID, China dystopia crap; Iran etc.

Everything post 9/11 has been a dumpster fire.


JRI's picture

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

IamBackUW's picture

LOL! What a double-edged sword! Ugh!

I grew up hearing stories about the Great Depression from my Grandparents and Great Grandparents; my Great Grandmother in the early 20th century had to clean houses for rich people to look after her siblings; her mother died of TB.

People think it's hard to survive, now? Yikes. No school lunches. No stimulus checks. It was do or die.

That cussedness has been passed down. My mom worked her a$$ off. She was not a great mother in some aspects but she made sure we had a roof, food and clothes on our backs.

My kids got bags of candy recently (H bought them) I said "Wow, you guys are lucky! I never got bags of candy like that. Grandma said NO. I was lucky to get tic tacs or lifesavers and that was rare. I really appreciated it."

They seemed to really think about this. I've been discussing with them how I know things are hard now with no real school, no friends, no birthday parties and how it's hard to get some things. That they need to remember this time and remember the positive parts; to feel gratitude. Also, to prepare for emergencies by having sufficient food, toiletries, medicine etc stored. Also, water.

My husband finally listened to me lol. He's become obsessed with Prepping. My mother instilled in me to prepare; freeze and can food. Have water etc. Her parents and grandparents taught her.

It's almost a tradition at this point. Me and DH instill the same values upon our children.

JRI's picture

Whenever I hear people whining about current conditions, I think about my 97yo mom.  I tell her she has been in the middle of every American tragedy.  She was raised during the Depression and it marked her for life.  She married her high school sweetheart at the start of WW2 and followed him around the country as he went through flight training.  She got pregnant with me right before he shipped out.  He was killed 3 months later. She has never gotten over it.  She remarried 4 years later and had 3 more kids.  Now she is isolated in a long term facility in the middle of a pandemic, it's like being in solitary confinement.  The only tragedies she missed were Vietnam and 9/11.

I guess every generation has their own hard times.

tfsimmons's picture

And I can tell you have her hard earned traits well within you.  I believe our children of today are way to soft boiled for what's ahead of them.  If only to learn discipline, respect and common sense values, I wish every child had to give at least 2 years to their service branch of choice - even Peace Corps - and in turn, the Country help with higher education afterward.  Israel is an example.  If this were in place, it would be hard to find a knucklehead looting, assaulting and destroying our cities.  God Bless your Momma and God Bless you!

JRI's picture

Yes, she's been through it all.  Its inspiring to hear her trying to stay sensible and be useful as she sits in a room alone with oncoming dementia.  

IamBackUW's picture

God bless her. It's a miracle she is still alive. I would argue she did endure 9/11; she was alive for it. Probably a TV was on or she heard fighter jets overhead. Or, the radio. Or heard talk of it.

The way I was raised has made me very grateful to have clean water, a roof over my head. Clothes on my back. Decent walking shoes. A means of heating and cooling and a bathtub.

My far flung ancestors didn't have luxuries; they traveled in covered wagons and had cardboard in their shoes. One of my great grandmothers told me, "but we sure et good!"

I've digging into my genealogy and some of my Scottish ancestors were indentured servants and it was very, very bad. It was like grandfather - father - daughter were all indentured servants.

The daughter/granddaughter got out by marrying but she died far too young at like only 30. Sad she barely enjoyed the freedoms we take for granted. Her husband was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.


Zen mode's picture

I can certainly attest we were the exception back then. Mom on welfare 7 kids from five different dads.Didn't find that one out until my 30's and 50's, thanks 23 and me lol. Very conservative state and we were looked at like we were almost feral. Hell we probably were. I'd say things are much better Now. 

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.