A single mom writes in looking for advice about her childcare provider and the influence it is having on her children. She doesn’t have any other help for childcare so she feels desperate and doesn’t know what to do.
A Community Member asks:
“I’m a single mom of 3 boys ages 15, 13, and 3. I do not live close to any family members and because I’m a mom 24/7 with no personal time except work, I have no “friends.” I have one co-worker who is a single mom of 4 boys that lives 45 minutes away. She and I have both agreed to watch each other’s children one night a week, so we can pick up an extra shift at work.
Her parenting style is a little different from mine. Meaning, she lets her four boys scream inside, jump on furniture, throw temper tantrums, fight each other, etc… I appreciate her helping me immensely, but I’m starting to see her children’s behavior influencing my youngest son’s choices and actions. I feel like raising my children on my own and having to counteract behavior issues that were never a concern before are even more exhausting. I have asked my youngest son’s dad several times for help with money for daycare and splitting the time to watch our child when he’s sick so I don’t miss numerous days of work to no avail.
He is homeless, lives in his car, has no bills, but can’t take off work and come to my house to watch our son because he needs the money. My two older boys help me here and there, but it’s more of a maturity thing that makes it difficult for them to watch my youngest son for hours at a time. I’m beyond frustrated and I don’t know what to do. I live in a small town with a large population of older people without many other single moms in the area. Should I ignore the unpleasant behavior my son is picking up and be grateful for the help? How do a build a support system with no family around?
When do I say that enough is enough with my youngest son’s father when he only wants to see our son when it’s convenient for him and doesn’t help financially or in emergency situations even though I try to support his involvement at all costs? I’m so lost, and I feel like I’m letting my children down every day. I work 60 hours a week, just to stay afloat and try my best to be present at home with my children. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.”
Community Advice for the Mom Struggling With Childcare and Who Worries About the Influence It Is Having on Her Son
To see what advice the Mamas Uncut Facebook community has for this mom in need, read the comments of the post embedded below.
The community gave some good advice to this single mom who is having childcare issues. You can read some of the responses below.
“Have you looked into child care vouchers? My state has a non-welfare voucher for children under 6 and not in kindergarten yet.“
“At the very least, bring up your feelings about the situation. Especially since that type of behavior could get one of your kids hurt. I babysat until my son was diagnosed with Autism and I stopped because I was afraid he would hurt one of the kids I was watching. If she cares, she will understand. If you are that uncomfortable it may be best to just find a new provider.“
“Talk to her about it. It’s literally the best thing you can do and tell her about how you do it with your boys. Don’t force her to change her children but explain to her that you do things differently.”
“Can you tap into a church or other religious institution to find sitters? How about those old people? Are there retirement villages where lonely old people or couples would watch your kids for the fun of it? Are your kids in scouts or other activities where you can make friends with other parents? Is there a “Big Brother/Sister” Program available?”
“I’m sorry, your life sounds so hectic. Where do you live? Maybe someone on this forum could help you out. Does Care.com have any listings in your area?“
“I don’t know what state you are in but NY has daycare assistance. All you have to do is go to social services and apply. If you are approved which is mainly based on your income, you can get help paying for daycare.“
“This is where you teach your kids not all households are the same and if they bring that behavior home with them, they’ll be grounded. Yes, it might be unfair to them but if you don’t let them then keep on stopping them. And if you need that lady for the shift, just let it slide. Worry about your kids and how to make money.“
I have experienced this situation before, and it wasn’t easy. If it is only one night a week that you are getting the extra work, is it possible that you just stop working that one night? Are you able to find something around you that you could do when you are children are at school? If not, I would continue with the childcare for now. Something may change in the future. Until then, just do your best to set your rules for the house and what you expect of your children. Eventually your 3-year-old will understand and be able to make better choices based on your expectations.
When it comes to the father and his availability to help with childcare and to pay child support, I think that there are many ways that you can try to get help in that area. If he refuses to pay and you are unable to get anything from him, I would try to set standards for his visit. But unless he is a danger to your son, I wouldn’t keep them from seeing each other.
It was also mentioned that you could look into programs the government offers for childcare. Most states have this provision. Usually, a single mom who works full time can get money towards childcare. I would recommend looking into that for your youngest.
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