January 25, 2009,
L.M. asks from Snohomish, WA on January 23, 2009
Advise on Impending Divorce with 2 Very Young Children and No Job and No Money
I am a SAHM and have been for the last 6 years. Before that I was waitressing and a manicurists. I met my husband and we agreed to put my schooling off until the kids were in school themselves. My DH made enough money for us to live comfortably and still put aside for a rainy day.
Things were good for the first 3 years and then we moved and he turned into another person entirely. I felt left high and dry. He was never home, always working, always finding excuses to work and when he wasn't there he was hanging out with rotten friends... you know the kind that undermine your marriage because they aren't married or have children themselves. I have no support here because we left the family when we moved. I made friends but could never seem to get real help with the kids.
He began to spend all of our money on pointless things that he just HAD to have, like sports cars and the newest electronics. He is a very keep up with Jones' kind of guy. I didn't realize how bad it was it was in the 2 years we were together before we married. He said I was boring now and that I never wanted to have fun. That wasn't true, I just couldn't drop the kids off with someone at the drop of a dime to go out bar hopping at 10 o'clock at night or find someone to watch 2 babies for 9 hours on the weekend for free to go snowboarding like he did. He changed and became very unsupportive. I am with the kids 24/7 while he goes out and leads a fun filled life. I suppose I gave him too much room in response to him complaining that he couldn't have fun with me and the kids. He just drifted away. I started to fight back but by then it was too late. Habits were formed.
I had thought about going to school many times so that I could get out of the situation but he had run through our money and invested in a few too many business deals and stretched himself so thin that he couldn't become a family even if he tried. He always said it was investing in the future so we could have more later, but I know the truth is that he just likes the thrill of opening a new business. He gets bored and loses interest in them after a while. I had no daycare, no money, no marketable skills. I don't qualify for any financial aid because we make too much money. They don't take into account how much he spends. I have finally after all of this time been able to wrestle the responsibilty of the bookkeeping away from him (it frees up more time for him to have fun this way) and realized just HOW bad off we are. I have talked to a lawyer and what I could get in child and spousal support is not enough to live on. The housing market has taken a dump so selling off our house and other property has been a bust. I think we will go bankrupt within the year.
We finally agreed that we are not happy. I was able to save up a little money to start a 1 year certification program. It will be very tight and I also run a small daycare out my home that I will have to give up because the classes are only offered on campus during my daycare hours. No online or morning courses.
I feel like I am drowning! He wants us to work on our marriage but he says that he will not change. Now he is acting like nothing even happened and is complaining that I need to get a job to pay the mortgage. I can't leave any sooner than before I finish schooling because I have no where to live and no means of support, no real job skills. Yes he would have to pay but like I said , he is a spend-a-holic and I can't count on him to have the money. I start school in April and it is a 1 year program. This will be the door for a real career that I can raise a family on. But I am scared to death that I wont be able to do it myself in the meantime. My kids are not in school full time and so I will have to pay through the nose for daycare. The average I have found is $10-14 an hour for the 2 of them. So even if I found a job right now for $16 an hour I would be bringing home less than min. wage. after paying daycare.
I need help!
I know I am strong enough to do this but I don't really know how I let it get this far. Now I need advise on what to expect next. How to cope. Does anyone know of programs that can help. I can get help with schooling only if DH and I are separated, but we can't afford to move out right now. We can't support 1 household, let alone 2. I need to make my own money before I move. How do I tell the kids when they are so young?
M.J. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
I've been in your situation and I made him move out and stay with the "friends" who he was partying with. After a few weeks he realized that he was really too old for htat and it seems like he grew up a little. he was able to get his own apt. because he wanted to be closer to the kids. The government will help you! you have children and you can get assistance of ALL kinds. there is WIC, and food stamps and insurance for free. hell, they'll even pay for your school and daycare. You just have to find the resources because trust me they are out there. you don't need to live with this man for another year to make it. we pay taxes for a reason and you deserve to get help to get on your feet. somesay, you'll be working in a high paying job and pay more taxes so that you can help someone like yourself!
Please remember that you are not alone. My family is all in Ohio, so i know how it feels. call DSHS, and the WIC office and they'll help you get started.
good luck and hang in there. It's worth it to go without for a little while so that you can get free:)
1 mom found this helpful
M.S. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
First of all I'm sorry to hear about your divorce. I am also going through a divorce, have a 2.5 year old and have been a stay at home mom so I know how scary this whole thing is.
Depending on how much money he makes, you may qualify for free legal advice. Since you do not work you have the 'need' and since he makes good money (or at least it sounds like he does) he has the 'ability' to pay for a lawyer for you. A lawyer could really help you sort out some of the questions you may have about who pays for what and how to get court orders to make sure you get paid BEFORE he goes out to the clubs. If you're serious about divorcing, this is the first step I would take. I'm sure other people can give you better lawyer referrals but if you're in the Seattle area, Amanda DuBois is super nice. Her website is duboislaw.net I think.
As far as the emotional part goes with your kids, just hang in there. They WILL adjust given time and lots of love. Just make sure to reassure them that no matter what happens, they will always have a mommy and a daddy who love them. Make sure you don't talk about their dad in front of them, even on the phone. Kids pick up on all those little things and the five year old will be especially vulnerable. I do know of a good family therapist in Bellevue who works with young children and people going through divorce.
If you're not sure you want a divorce, then I highly recommend the two of you get into marriage counseling ASAP. I know your husband is saying he's not going to change, but it's worth having him say that in front of a therapist who can help both of you sort out what that means. Sometimes when we've fallen into patterns, it's hard to hear what the other person really means and having a third party to help 'translate' can make a difference.
No matter which you choose, it is obvious that you love your family and in the end that will be enough to help you make the right decisions.
Take care and hang in there.
1 mom found this helpful
V.G. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
Wow, L.! It sounds like you have a very difficult situation.
I have a few ideas - you may have already thought of but in case you haven't....
You mentioned that you were a manicurist - can you earn some extra money by giving manicures in your home? - Do you have any crafts that you make that you can sell? If so, you could do that no matter where you are living and wouldn't need daycare for your children. It may not be enough to make a living but might help add to your income through some lean months.
If the training school you want to attend is a private one - beware! They are often very expensive, not that great and don't always live up to their promises of placement in high paying jobs when you are done. You might want to take a look at what the community colleges have to offer instead. It takes longer, but it is less expensive and they often have more affordable daycare on campus. Their financial aid office may be able to help you find grants or state programs that may provide you with some assistance. They also offer many programs online or in the evenings so that you could continue earning from your daycare during the day for as long as possible and not require as much daycare for your own children to go to classes.
You might also consider looking around for a job that offers on the job training and the potential for advancement. I know the job market is tight right now but you still may able to find some things available.
If it interests you at all, I would recommend a company or organization in the medical industry like a doctor or dentist's office, hospital, clinic, etc. You can often find entry level positions that provide on the job training and they are usually fairly supportive of people who want to go to school to get further training to become certified in some area. As the population ages, more people need medical and dental care so it is a more recession proof industry than most.
Best of luck to you.
L.J. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
Originally posted to the public but switching to private.
N.B. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
I help moms create income while they are home with their kids. I also love to help moms to be self reliant rather than putting themselves at risk by being dependent on someone else. I would love to help you create an income from home, If you are open I'd love to invite you to take a look and see if what I do is a fit for you--I live in the Redmond Wa area.
D.D. answers from Seattle on January 25, 2009
In the court hearing, insist on having enough Alimony so that you can afford to go to school. Make sure that you document everything as far as the agreement that he was eventually going to put you through school, because he got his schooling.
Schooling costs need to include the cost of daycare during that time.
J.C. answers from Seattle on January 24, 2009
I am so sorry, L.--- don't beat yourself up-- life has handed you a real problem-. Is there any chance you could move back home and get some help w/ child-care and even perhaps a place to live for awhile? That way- you WOULD be separated ( which in truth you are- both in one house or not) ---.
You're in my prayers
aka- old mom
been there- did that---