So the time has finally come. In two weeks time the boys and I are moving out of my parents house and into a 2 bed rental back in our home town after six months. It feels like I am about to go through a break-up all over again, only this time the partner I am leaving (in essence, my Mum) is a caring, considerate, wonderful human being who has given me endless help, encouragement, breaks, done my cooking and washing, helped me with the kids’ story time and bath time and entertaining two very demanding little boys. She’s provided ad hoc childcare and helped me out financially (well, Dad too to be fair to him).
The children have been happy and well-balanced and provided with the stability of a family unit(ed). The adults have outnumbered the children.
I have had no money worries while I have lived with my parents and that is one of the most concerning parts about moving out to be independent. Once all the necessities are covered on a limited budget will there be anything left over to actually enjoy life with? I’ve become very accustomed to being able to just pop out and pick up little luxuries, take the kids to paid attractions over the summer, treat them to ice creams at the park, days out – we’ve had a pretty good summer all round.
I spoke to the husband to let him know we were moving in on our own and he was very aggressive with me. He realises that he can no longer shirk all his financial responsibilities and assume that I will be supported by my parents instead of him. I told him that I won’t be able to contribute to our mortgage and other household bills any more (which I have continued to pay for the past six months despite not living there any more). I also told him that he would need to start paying me some child maintenance (he hasn’t given me a penny towards them since February).
I commented on the situation on Facebook and had a stream of supportive responses although it was a bit overwhelming to read some very passionately argued pieces of advice that simply aren’t quite right for my situation as it stands right now. I would love to live near my family (as many have suggested) but this is one of the most expensive boroughs of London and I simply can’t afford it. Plus I think it is highly unlikely that the over-subscribed local schools would be able to find a place for my two.
I don’t want my husband to allow me and the children to live in the old house now – I want as much of a clean break as possible and a fresh start.
I’m not ready to go to the Child Maintenance Service to pursue him and his contribution on my behalf – I’ve been waiting since the beginning of May to get him pinned down to a second appointment at Mediation – the one where we get serious about financial settlements and agreements – and I want to give him that one last chance to make a reasonable arrangement with me without the involvement of an outside agency.
Because the thing is, he’s not a waster or a slacker – he’s got a responsible job within the community. He’s never missed a single maintenance payment to his ex for their daughter (to my knowledge) in the 11 years that they’ve been apart.
And I think he knows now. I think this move is going to be more than physical – it is a metaphorical move forwards too because he knows his children are now financially vulnerable – outside of the cocoon of extended family support – I’m about to leap headlong into the reality of single motherhood, without a crashmat.