Q. I am a single mother of two daughters, one of whom has a disability. My family has helped me financially, which enabled me to move closer to them, and my sister was very glad of this as my mum is also disabled, so she now has help in caring for her.
After nearly two years of struggling financially, not able to find work that fits in with my daughter’s daycare, I’m contemplating moving to a bigger city, but it feels like a big risk. My mum is unhappy about it and my sister is avoiding the subject. I feel like I’m all alone making these decisions and coping with the day-to-day stuff. I feel torn – I need to make a change but feel as if I’m being disloyal and leaving them in the lurch. Name supplied
A. My heart goes out to you – any one of your issues would warrant a letter on its own. You could slice it as being a single parent, having a child with a disability, having financial challenges as a result of those two factors, then having a disabled mum, and no partner to share that burden by the sound of it.
One in four households with children is headed by a single mum or dad, but feeling alone is still very real for us. It sounds as if it would be helpful to bounce your ideas off someone who does not have their own agenda for you.
My inclination is to put people at the heart of your decision – it doesn’t initially sound like a good move to be in a bigger city if you don’t know anyone. Is there any chance of connecting with other single parents locally, perhaps through a charity such as Gingerbread? Another alternative might be to access a carer’s network, which could be through your GP, or a discussion about the support needs of both your daughter and mother (taking the personal element of you out of the equation).
I believe that one good conversation where you feel emotionally supported would give you a lot more confidence and clarity about your ideas.
Mary Fenwick is a business coach, journalist, fundraiser, mother, divorcée and widow. Follow Mary on Twitter @MJFenwick. Got a question for Mary? Email firstname.lastname@example.org, with ‘MARY’ in the subject line.