It's 2023 and right now I'm happy each week if I managed to feed and clothe my children without running out of electricity or fuel. There is no expendable income and survival is what this is, not living.
My older two children are fortunate enough to live in a separated parent family so at their dad's they live a completely different life. My youngest son who is 2 only has me and most days I feel so guilty.
My older two have been away this week, my eldest spent a week abroad with her dad and my middle son is currently in abroad where his dad is to be remarried. I am eternally happy for both my older children that they get these incredible experiences but I also feel guilty. Guilty that my youngest son lives in second hand clothes and shoes. Guilty that we have to rely on the community grocery for food. Guilty that during cold snaps he has to get in bed with me to keep warm as I can't afford the heating.
I know that for now on UC there will be no holidays, no trips away, no clubs to attend and some days it just makes me feel like I'm failing him as a parent.
To remain transparent he got money from family and friends for his birthday recently and I took him to the zoo and beach but that won't be happening again for such a long time.
Deep down I know that I spend every single day taking him to parks and playing in the garden with him and children need time and love not money and things but sometimes I just wish I could give him something special. I wish I could buy the sweets he wanted so badly from the shop, I wish I could take him to the mini movers group all of his friends go to.
But here we are in 2023 surviving.