This month, my eldest child, my beautiful daughter, turns 18.
Instead of being filled with joy and excitement, I'm filled with dread.
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The government has already sent me a letter to remind me that if I want child support payments to continue, I need to send in a form before she turns 18.
Without their approval, my Family Tax A & B benefits will stop, and her father won't have to pay child support until the end of her school year.
Then, after November, there will be no further child support payments for her, nor government assistance for me.
So a month before Christmas the father of my daughter will cease to pay child support and the government will cease to help me in any way.
Merry Christmas to me.
The only thing that will not change is that my 18-year-old daughter will still be living with me. She will more than likely be applying to university next year and organising what she will be doing for schoolies week.
I will still need to house, feed, and clothe her; pay for her psych appointments and medication every month.
She will be my responsibility alone because I am her mother and the government says her father no longer has any responsibility for her care after she turns 18.
There must be so many single mothers out there in the same position as me.
I would love to hear their stories. I would love to hear how other mothers like me transitioned when their child turned 18.
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This is how I plan to cope.
I will be selling our home, paying out the mortgage (which I initially received in the property settlement) and buying an apartment. Just as I was getting ahead I have gone back 20 paces, I feel like the government is happy to be done with us.
However, I am one of the lucky ones who has an asset. In my experience at work and with friends, hardly any women get to keep the family home.
Single mums bear the brunt of the responsibility for child rearing. We turn our lives inside out and upside down so that we can work part time and be there to drop off or pick up our children when they are young and then we work full time like hamsters to try to get ahead when our children are teens.