Posted by: Adult Child | 2009/04/11

Unemployed and living with mother

Good day sir,

I (49, divorced male, qualified I.T. software developer) have lost my job (global crisis). I do not suffer under depression (but do experience severe stress and take Cimetidine to inhibit my stomach acid. I run 10K a day to keep healthy in mind and spirit).

I need ideas for resolving the following two constraints (I hardly find anything on the web):

1. My number 2 problem. My son (8) is with me. 75% of my time is spent supervising him, holidays 100%. I cannot concentrate on finding work, he clings unto me (trauma: divorce/me unemployed). His mother (Jhb) works full-time, attends nudist camps, lives with a child-molester and violent person (have reported both to the police on recommendation of my sons teacher), goes on expensive overseas holidays instead of supporting her child, so she is out of the equation. I constantly receive threats from her (this after she divorced me 4 years ago).

Q: How can I free up time from child supervision in order to look for work?

2. My number one problem. I had to move in with my mother (74, Cape Town) in order to survive (I fund my own expenses here). 25% of my time is spent with conflict resolution with my mother (controlled cancer, antidepressants), who does not want her lifestyle changed by a child and me. She places great demands on me for attention, nevertheless the fact the child already places so much strain on me. I have symphathy with her demands but I myself am in a spot. She now wants to disinherit me and is looking for ways to use her house rights to expulse us out of her home. It seems at times her reasoning powers have somewhat diminuished. There is the risk that she might develop a health risk (invalid) –  surely I cannot mind my child 100% and mind her 100% and look for work? She might sell the house (our roof) to finance nursing care.

At times I consider gaining legal advice. The risk is high legal expenses as well as causing more conflict and loosing a roof over my and my sons head and entering a squatter existence.

Due to several company failures and the divorce forced on me I have no pension, only some savings which might last me about 2 years. Afterward I have to sell my home which provides me with a little rental income. Now I even face prospects of being disinherited and this already sets the tone to put my son into a poverty spiral.

I need some space between her demands and resolving the child minding issue and getting to terms with my unemployment situation. How do I get this message across to my mother?

Q: Have I some rights or am I total at her mercy?

3. The unemployment issue I will resolve myself. So no questions here! I just need a breather from those above 2 problems in order to fully enable me to do so.

My son’ s teacher is aware of these problems and I have had an interview with his schools social worker.

Kind regards

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Our expert says:
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And good day to you, sir ! Remarkable thing, the Web, isn't it ? Containing so much, and so little.
Let's see. I wonder what wuld happen if you went to the Maintenance Court to claim support from the thoughtless and wasteful mother, for the child ? At least enough for school & related expenses, and to enable you to hire a minder for when you are job-seeking or at work ? Obviously the amount qwould be revised once you found another job.
Try our Divorce Support Forum, and other resources--- maybe there are other divorced people with children and in a similar positionto yours, and you could exchange child-minding time, so as to free up at least some time for each of you to do job-hunting ?
Regarding mother. I wonder whether the local cancer association and/or hospice might be able to lend some support for her, some counselling ? Does she have any outside interests she could be helped to engage in, to improve her mood ? Couldn't she help with some of the child-minding, to enable you to job-hunt ?
One wonders, from your tale, about her mental state. If she is indeed, for one reason or another, becoming mentally incompetent, a court might make you trustee over her possessions and finances, to look after them for her. But unless she is impaired enough to make this a straight-forward procedure, there's be a risk of stirring up more malevolence on her side. Explore getting some free legal advice from a free law clinic ( if they still exist --- they should ) at your nearest law schools.
Does she have other children, or other people to leave her estate to ? If not, then if one avoids stirring up her enmity, i she dies without a will, her estate would presumably come to you and your child.
Think what issues stir up this bitterness between you and her, and try to avoid them. FInd calm times to ask her advice --- not to complain about your situation, annoying though it is, but to encourage her to look for ways to make positive suggestions that could be helpful.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Katy | 2009/04/14

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Maybe there' s something there for you...

Reply to Katy
Posted by: Adult Child | 2009/04/13

Hi June,

I am going off the air –  have to get my own telephone connection.


Aftercare - I will have to go this route but. More expenses. Homework quality will suffer. I still will have to be available for extramural activities (sports, in order to make friends –  he is socially isolated and an extrovert) and control his homework (the ultimate responsibility lies with the parent).

Friends house/friends here: I have just (Jan. 2009) relocated from Jhb. People like their privacy, I struggle to get friends for my son. It costs money to make friends.

Mother and art and sorting out maintenance: the house is too large for a widow. Also for me. Maintenance used to be affordable 10 years ago but prices have skyrocketed since (water/taxes/paint/ repairs) and the global crisis have impacted pensioners who live on shares. The Western Cape has become very expensive.

Insensitive to my situation: In perspective : as people get older they get more set in their ways - she will become 75 and has cancer and tires easily. My son is disruptive. You must understand she wants some peace and respite for her perhaps last 5 years of life.

My brother: engineer under extreme job duress (long hours). His wife also abandoned him –  his 2 young children stay with him. He does not want an additional load (us). I have no other family. We are the children of German emigrants (1964).

I lost my job due to a decline in economic activity, not due to a lack of work ethics and qualifications. Suffice to say the real culprits for my (and millions of others) situation are callous politicians, backed by political immature voters. About the childrens mothers – it’ s a crying shame.

Reply to Adult Child
Posted by: June | 2009/04/13

Isn' t there an aftercare that your son can attend? Can he not go to a friends house/have a friend over a couple of times a week?

As for your mother, if she doesn' t even want to there, why does she want attention from you? And how can she be so insensitive to your situation? If she is too busy for her art, why don' t you take her and sort out the maintenance? It may be more work but it will also give you some peace. Maybe she feels old and useless... If you ask her help she may feel more useful and less old and bitter...

Why can' t you stay with your brother?

Reply to June
Posted by: Adult Child | 2009/04/12

Good day,

thanks for the usefull suggestions!

Maintenance court: Divorce papers stipulate I am responsible for school and medical expenses. I still have means which have not been exhausted (savings/house). The lurking danger is expensive litigation - she will argue I am incapacitated thus the child must go to her. I will have to put in considerable effort proving the mother is irresponsible (getting witnesses, ineffective police and courts) and this will put the courts into a quandary (I am a good father but unemployed, she is an irresponsible mother but employed).

So maintenance is a later option.

Divorce support forum: Thank you very much. I will certainly try this avenue.

Mother and cancer support: her cancer is kept in check by monthly injections (estrogen inhibitors). She has outside interests (artist) which she cannot attend to : the house takes too much maintenance (repairs/gardening). This is a major source of conflict –  she expected assistance from me in this regard in order to relieve her workload, not more work for her due to me turning up. I have kept a diary –  the reality is I do some things for her but the weight of my effort goes into child minding and attending to job hunting related matters. This is not to her satisfaction. Except for some odd hours or so she is too old to attend to the child.

Mental state: there will come a time in the near future where curatorship will apply. So far she can still manage –  if it wasn’ t for us turning up. Law school –  this might be a good idea so as to find out (with utmost discretion!) whether I have some rights as an adult dependant. I will probe my family doctor first –  the medical community should have some exposure in these matters.

But as you mentioned it might cause malevolence even to the stage of an irrepearable breach and this is not a condition to aspire to, being in my (unemployed) shoes (I don’ t want to risk being expulsed from a roof over our heads!).

Re inheritance: I have a brother. She has a will. I have been threatened vocally but know of no action that is happening behind my back. But a threat has been uttered that I yet will discover steps that she has undertaken.

Re bitterness. I keep a diary of incidents (to relieve my frustration but also to have facts at hand should there come legal steps). There are too many to list as representative for this condensed webforum –  one would need an outside arbiter to judge the merits. I have asked the social worker to visit my mother to hear her side of the story (being in employment of the Dept. of Education however causes it to be a prolonged and tedious process).

Kind regards and a happy Easter!

Reply to Adult Child

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