Our friend HedgewitchBedcca sent a tweet last night (just picked it up) to OnlyDads, OnlyMums, and Gingerbread saying she was worried about this situation posted up on the Netmums website. “What advice would you give?”, read the Tweet.
We have had many such crisis calls and as with many there are certain things which jump out at you. In this case we can note that Mum mentions mental health issues, the plain economic facts that suggest she has hit rock bottom, and (for me) more evidentially, she is seeking support from an anonymous website forum! This suggests to me that this Mum may well be feeling totally isolated.
I’m writing this in haste – please forgive the lack of a comprehensive response – but if this mum had contacted us, I would advise the following:
- Find someone who can sit with you (in person) to look at what needs to be done to ensure your family is not split up. It maybe that Mum doesn’t feel able to ask friends or neighbours (this is not unusual) but maybe these same people can suggest someone else to do this hand-holding role. In a crisis, personal contact and the chance to off-load face to face is what’s needed – not reading replies on an on-line forum.
- The advice to go the MP, CAB, Education Authority etc…all this is fine. But (and it’s a big “but”) is mum really in a position to do this herself? It would be much better for Mum to have someone by her side, or even to make these calls and emails for her in my experience.
- Many of these necessary appointments and emails will take weeks to work through. It does not sound like this Mum and her child can wait weeks.
- Perhaps the one letter that needs to be written now is a letter to the MP so he/she can get this benefit put back. That may well prove quicker than going through CAB etc…If Mum wants to contact us, we would help her do this today if that would help.
- In time, there are organisations and charities that can help Mum work towards a sustainable future for her and her child – of course there are – but again, all this work takes time. Time is not on Mums side.
- If mum is so isolated and in a position whereby she really can’t ask anybody to help (many Dads we come across get in this state), then I just wonder if the good folk at netmums could find a way to find out where she lives – I have no doubt at all that with the power of social media, a small financial collection and a food parcel could be pulled together within 24 hours to help this Mum get through the next few days at least. Perhaps (as she seems to trust Netmums) together we could also find a mum or two from the network to go and sit with her and begin the process of booking all these appointments to help her sort this situation out.
In haste. Bottom line is, this Mum needs some human interaction. And quickly!
Bob – http://www.onlydads.org