Reality Bites

Today I face the demoralising task of going to school to beg them not to kick my kids out even though I owe a considerable amount of money in school fees and have no idea how I’m going to pay for it. My ex-husband has removed his name from the school enrolment contract therefore legally wiping his hands of any financial responsibility. He will be the first person to strut into the school at Open Day, Parent/Teacher interviews or Father’s day morning acting like the father of the year collecting accolades even though he has not contributed anything financially to the boys’ education for almost 12 months.

For the past 3 days, my bank account has been overdrawn by hundreds of dollars. When I get paid, I’ll already be a couple of hundred of dollars behind. I have more expenses than income. Some of these are joint expenses from my now-defunct marriage. Property settlement would resolve some of this, but it is continuously stalled by a man who only communicates when he sees fit and subsequently the division of our property will be decided in a Court of Law.

Last week I had a grand total of $50 to buy groceries for the entire week for 5 people. That includes nappies for 2 of the children. Aside from some canned Tuna, we didn’t eat meat. 2-minute noodles, and frozen vegetables made an appearance a couple of times. Actually, we ate a lot of pasta and vegetables, and I tried to hide eggs in everything so that the children were at least getting a little bit of protein and I would not feel like I’ve failed at providing them basic necessities.

Sometimes I go without meals or eat the leftovers off the kids’ plates because there’s simply not enough for 3 kids and an adult. The kids never go without, the kids never notice that I do.

The boys were supposed to spend Monday with a member of my ex’s family. This person didn’t show up, so I had to explain to 3 heartbroken children why this person wasn’t coming and then try and make it up to them. They think it’s my fault and I must try and deal with the borderline abusive comments from them without taking anything personally.

I used to be a neat freak, but I have given up. Sometimes I use all of my energy just to get out of bed. There’s very little left for 4 children, let alone housework. I have never lived in such a messy house before. Sometimes it gets to me, so I find the cleanest room and spend my time there.

My children used to be immaculately dressed in the latest designer gear. I struggle to keep up with the mountains of laundry, and I can no longer afford the designer clothes. Recently I took the kids out, I looked at the clothes they were wearing some had stains and nothing matched and couldn’t believe my poor kids were standing there looking like hobos. I promised myself that I would make more of an effort with the laundry.  I haven’t washed anything for a week.

The two-year-old is continuously hurting the baby. I’m at my wits end. I don’t know how to handle this. The baby’s arm is full of cuts and bruises from where the 2-year-old has been pinching his arm in the car.

I bought furniture for the boys last week using voucher supplied to me by a charity.

And my lowest moment, having to put the boys’ school shoes on an interest-free purchase as I simply couldn’t afford them.

I’m not as fun as I used to be. The weight of my world gets to me. Sometimes I retreat into myself because it’s easier than facing the world.

I am so hard on myself. I hate myself. The things I say in my head are terrible. Most days I can’t even look in the mirror because I get angry at the failure standing in front of me. Relationships fail all the time, and everyone else seems to handle things so much better than me. I never feel good enough for anyone. I feel like a burden to everyone.

I have never told anyone that my ex-husband never said he loved me.  Not once.

I have piles and piles of paperwork that must be dealt with for the divorce and children, but to face this paperwork is too much. I know if I tie up some of these loose ends it might help things a little and may even give me some extra financial assistance, but to action some of this is just too much to deal with.

This is the shit I deal with every day on top of everything else. EVERY SINGLE DAY.  This is the shit I don’t tell anyone because sometimes it’s too hard to face and too hard to talk about.

Talking about it, even writing about it, makes it real, and I don’t want to face reality.

This wasn’t the life I chose, I was forced into this life, and sometimes I am so damn angry that one person can destroy everything for so many people and seemingly not care.

I’m tired.

PS: it gets better – here is a post a few years later 🙂 Back to me!

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  • Oh Kirsty, I am so sorry to hear this. I’m not quite sure what to say but I wanted to say something. What you are going through is more common than you know. So many people have financial struggles that they never talk about openly or admit to. It is not just you. I know you are a very proud person and so you must be at wits end. Finalise those papers and make that person accountable for his responsibilities. You should not have to carry this weight on your own. Try to stay positive. Things can only get better xx

  • Oh my god, I am so sad reading this. You are an amazing mom and you are doing everything you possibly can for your kids.

  • I know it may not feel like it, but things will get better. My mom was a single parent, and looking back I see how hard it was on her. I know how much she sacrificed for me, and how much she loved me. It is not the material things that matter, though they seem so important. Sometimes we have to make the hard choices on where money gets cut and where we can save. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You are strong, and you will persevere.

    • Thank you. I know that the children don’t care what clothes they wear or what school they go to. I think it’s more me setting such high expectations to keep things normal for them 🙂

  • Sorry to hear you are going through this. Things will get better. Think about all of the amazing things you do as a mum and try to think outside the box. Make some new changes in your life, perhaps changes you have never thought of. Perhaps new ways to save money or make money, a new hobby etc. Now that you are single, you don’t have to answer to anyone. Big hugs. 🙂

    • Funny, I keep forgetting I’m single and can do what I like (in theory and within reason). i know I have so much to look forward to, sometimes the bad days overwhelm me and I forget. Thank you for your comment.

  • Oh gosh, sending you all my love. You’ve got to believe that people get what’s coming to them. Maybe not right away. Maybe not any time in the near future. But, you’ve gotta know that karma’s a bitch and he will get what he deserves. You are a strong lady and your kids are so lucky to have you.

  • I’m so sorry to hear this…It breaks my heart and I just want to hug you.
    As a child of divorce here’s what I’ll say
    My mom got nothing from the divorce but child support…but my mom blew it. She never tried to better herself and constantly dropped guilt on us for needing things.
    I can tell just from reading this your babies are number 1 for you and I promise they will remember. They’ll know how hard you worked and that you made them dinner…they’ll remember how hard it was for you but that you didn’t give up.
    They love you and you have a whole group of mommas here to listen ❤

  • I was once a single mom to 1 child and I grew up in a single parent household too so I can relate. It is ok not to have the latest clothes, in fact what is in style right now is old clothes that you buy at 2nd hand stores. I’d suggest if you are struggling financially, find out if their is a program near you that can offer assistance to help you out. I’m not sure where you live but in the USA there are programs that help assistance with food, housing and childcare. Sometimes even churches or other non profits offer this assistance too. Please take care of yourself, because if you aren’t there your kids would surely miss you!

    • Thank you for your words and advice. I am not normally one to ask for help but I am learning there is a lot of support and agencies to help people in my circumstances.

  • I love the title of your blog, and I see you are staying true to it. This is raw, edgy and life as you know it. However, I don’t want you stuck there. Look at all you need to do. All of it. Make a list if you want. Then choose ONE thing to do today. Just one. Then, email me and tell me about it. Ok? Even if it is dishes, or picking up the floor, I want to hear from you. Hugs.

    • Thank you so much Terri. Your comment brought tears to my eyes. You know what, I’m going to do that! It also makes me accountable xx

  • I would suggest finding a local church for food donations. There are wonderful groups out there for single parents or families in need! Go to your home church if you have one and ask for help. Your community is there to assist you.

  • Oh girl I really don’t know what to say. But I’ll just comment that as a child of divorce the kids won’t remember fancy schools, or clothes. Sure they might play up in the interim but they’ll realize your sacrifice. I appreciate everything my Mom did for me during that time.

  • What you are going through is not fair! I know how it feels to be a single mom with kids, and no father around to provide. You have so much on your plate, I know. I hope you can find a way to see how much of an amazing mom you really are. I’ll tell you one thing. My kids, now 18 and 20, do not remember the times when they were wearing stained, old, hand me downs. They tell me that having me around to raise them, read them stories, and taking them to the park is what they remember.

    They had no idea we were poor. Oh.. I did. I felt awful making KD island with brocoli for trees 3 times a week… They loved it!

    It is not easy, and I want to tell you it will get easier, but there are some tough days ahead, and some better days ahead. The older they get the better it is. If there is a way you can delegate with your community.. maybe a family community center can help you find ways to take some time just for you to recharge. The more you have a “village” around you.. the more you will feel the support.

    Wishing you the best.

    • Thank you so much for your comment. I take comfort in knowing that this is not forever, even though it feels like it sometimes it feels like it is. Since writing this I have had such fantastic support from strangers but also from my friends and family – I’ve found my village 🙂

  • whoa. reading your post today is very reminiscent for me… I tried to make grilled cheese sandwiches one time using cheddar cheese soup because it was only $.49 and a pound of cheese was $4 – it’s thick when you open the can and I thought… well, don’t try it. The only thing there is to say is “hang in there” – “one day at a time” even though it sucks to hear those things because they don’t really help. Keep reaching out – keep writing – and accept all the help there is to be had. I made it. My kids are adults now and they are OK – good people actually. Yours will be too. Blessings.

  • I’m so sorry that life is so crappy at the moment – it will get better though! Every time someone’s upset I tell them this story of a friend of a friend of a friend because when I tell you what happened to him you’ll know that it could be worse. Not that long ago he was sacked from work as a radio ad creator. Because he played with his willy. At work. In one of the recording booths. And it got accidentally recorded. And when they asked him to come to the HR office he denied everything so they had to play the recording to him. Yup. Hahahaha I know this is really bad but it always makes me feel like life could be worse. I hope it made you smile!:) (and I promise you it IS a real story – happened in fact very recently!) I hope everything will get better soon – you’re very brave & just need to take it one day at a time! xxxxxxxx

  • Wow. How hard it must have been to write this. It’s so open and raw and honest. I feel for you. The Court system can be so so hard and of course on top of all the legalities you’re dealing with the emotional turmoil and that of your children too. Please don’t see yourself as a failure. I’ve seen your name pop up lots of times in our blogging groups and I’ve always thought you seem like such a lovely person. It sounds like you’ve got your priorities right and you’re doing the best you can. I really hope things improve for you soon. Sending love xxxxx

  • I’m so so sorry to read that you’re in such a difficult, challenging place in your life right now. I’ve been in similar places, wondering if things would ever look positive again. I despaired. I cried. But I stuck with it. I took the high road whenever I could. I got up every morning, did what I had to do, and clung to hope. And what I’ve learned in all my 48 years on this planet is that, thing will improve. Highs don’t say, lows don’t stay. Things will improve. You’ll be able to look back on this one day and feel good that you made it through the rough spots. So hang in there. You’re not alone.

  • Wow! I’m so sorry to hear what’s going on in your life. Reading about what’s going on for you makes my life’s problems seem so insignificant even though it feels so much bigger. You sound like one amazing woman that no matter you’ll rise above. I wish you and your family the best of luck in these coming months.

  • I’m not sure what area you’re in but there are often churches who not only can provide discreet financial assistance, but they can also provide childcare, friendships, and all kinds of other support. My husband and I felt so alone for a while before we joined a small group in our church and have been cared for so many different time by the friends we’ve made!

  • I’m so sorry. I hate this for you. I hate that this is a reality for too many of us. I hate that we had no choice and certainly weren’t planning for this as our future when we were newly married or new parents. I hate that our independence is being challenged and our wakeup call includes asking for and accepting help from friends or strangers. I hate all this. But I also want to encourage you to take it day by day or even hour by hour and just breathe and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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