I may not be rich in money but I am so rich in the family that i have! So I thought I’d write this post because I’ve been involved in a discussion recently about the maternity grant and its eligibility etc. And it’s got me thinking about how I feel being a stay at home mum living in a council house and getting help from the government.
Before I begin let me start by telling you how we ended up living in a council property and needing financial help.
The very lengthy introduction
Back in 2012 when I had just started going to University I was living in the family home with my mum and 3 brothers, my mum was going through a divorce at this time so I knew at some point we’d lose the house and have to sell up. The new house which they (my mum and Ian, her now husband) found, only had 3 bedrooms and neither of them were big enough for me and rob to move into so we ended up in a caravan in their back garden (glamorous I know but only temporary).
Out of nowhere my uncle had told me and rob that he has some flats he rents out and just so happens to have one available, so we jumped at the opportunity and with it being local to my university I was pretty chuffed, however there was a downfall it was shared accommodation which I wasn’t too pleased about seeing as the other tenants weren’t exactly pleasant or clean, apart from this one guy Scott who is pretty funny and still chat with him now.
So fast forward a year or so and it came to a point where we had to look for somewhere else to live as the flat was just uninhabitable and not very energy efficient, so my uncle’s sister then got in touch and said she had a flat available, considerable further away but decent enough to live in, so we moved in within a matter of weeks and we lived here for a year or so before I fell pregnant and that’s when the problems started to arise.
The flat started showing signs of damp and mould, the flat was on the 2nd level so we had to walk up some metal (mossy) steps which got very slippery in the winter months so the fear of slipping while pregnant was too much and especially couldn’t imagine falling down these steps with a newborn! Robbie had been working as a supervisor at a local bakery for some years before and only while we were living in this flat was the new manager starting to become really horrible and mistreat rob so he had to look for a new job and we had to move house too! So the only thing we could think of at the time, just so we could move into a safer property for the duration of my pregnancy and to bring Logan into a better environment, was by applying for a council house.
The main part
Right so now that’s all explained (roughly) I can now move onto what this blog post was meant to be about. I’m not proud of being on benefits and getting help financially because I know there are loads
of really hard working couples out there who pay for childcare and mortgages and have top jobs etc. but at the moment, me and rob are just not in that position, and I certainly don’t see my whole entire life living in a council house and getting financial aid, I do have the qualifications to get a great job but I know that if I got a job now while rob is still working, money wise we would actually be worse off than we are now (and that’s a sad truth).
I am so proud of Robbie for working so hard, I know it’s not the job he wanted growing up but the fact he’s determined and working is good enough for me, he is currently working 20 hours a week in Home bargains, he cycles 5 days a week from we live to his work which takes him about 4 miles away and takes him about 20 minutes. We don’t have the luxury of owning a car, as the insurance and all the other expenses that come with owning a car; it’s just too unaffordable for us at this moment in time.
I am happy with the way things are at the moment, we have a nicely decorated house, it’s in a nice area and we have our son and he’s what makes every day for us just that 1000 times more special, the fact that we have a roof over our heads, and can afford to eat and buy nice clothes without having to watch every penny is a blessing. Obviously I plan on looking for a job once Logan in nursery/full time education, I just hope it works out that way as I hate not earning my own money.
I have such a supportive and amazing family who I couldn’t be without, my mum and Ian have been there with us through everything and have helped us get on our feet every single time and we are so grateful. My Nan and grandad have been so lovely and generous to all 3 of us, we are very lucky and I know that not everyone has such a supportive and loving family.
The benefits I get, in total, is about £85 a week and that’s broken up into income support and child benefits, I get the £20.70 on a Monday and the rest on a Friday, this money goes towards things Logan needs mostly whether that’s new clothes, nappies, medicine, formula (however I do get sent healthy start vouchers every 4 weeks to help with buying this).
I do spend a little on myself just as a treat, could be a new t-shirt or jumper or a pair of jeans, or something for me to do like an adult colouring book or a movie. With robs wages he pays most/all of the household bills like the Wi-Fi, electric, gas and water, I do help with the food shopping bill when I have that extra bit of cash, but mostly its robs wages, and after all this is paid for there isn’t much left for anything else, maybe the odd takeaway or something from the spar. I am trying to save money, I have one of those money boxes which you can’t open and I’m putting about $5-10 a fortnight in to try and save for a rainy day (as my mum calls it), saving it in my bank would just be too easy to withdraw it and spend it so putting it in here is my best bet.
So the moral of this post is simple, I may not have a lot of money and not have our own house to call our own or a nice 4 seater convertible with heated seats and fancy jobs, but what I do have I am content with, I have a loving fiancé and father to Logan, I have a gorgeous son who I am so proud of and who is my world, and I have an amazing, very supportive family on both mine and Robbie’s side.
I just hope by reading this, that you have learnt a little something and hope that you don’t feel angry or upset and think I’m some “Dole dosser” or some other stereotype because I’ve never been on the dole and only reason I did not work before having Logan was due to just graduating from University and so was pointless in me even looking for a job as I’d be on maternity leave after 20 odd weeks anyway.