In spite of all our difficulties with physical & mental ill health, I am writing with some happy news for a change. My 18 y/o son passed his Level 2 City & Guilds Welding certificate, and I'm going to be a mother-in-law as my eldest son popped the question to his partner. It's vital that we have things to look forward to. We who live in poverty are as deserving of happiness as anyone else.
4 years of not knowing how. Going through ups and downs of a breakdown of a marriage, shared parenting and downhill projection of what I would be financially capable of, and finally it was here - my first abroad holiday post divorce. Although I would have loved it with my kids, having that ‘Pray, Eat, Love’ movie moment was also necessary. I might not have had the endless pocket money to spend on things, putting presents to bring back for my kids the main priority, the experience of feeling refreshed was souvenir enough.
Finally what I wasn’t expecting, was that in Britain we might be complaining of the cost of living, but in the Mediterranean it is something they have come to terms with and just knuckle down and work as hard as they possibly can. Their restlessness inspires me that however my year will end, I will not give up on dreaming of getting to my end goal too and that is to be on the road back to work as well. Sometimes fresh inspiration is all you need to spark the innovative ways, in order to create your own opportunities in life. Cost of living will not continue to define the goals I haven’t achieved, anymore.
I must remember to budget for this time of year next year - £70 on school shoes has meant compromises on the food shop for a few weeks. My son has very narrow feet (and one bigger than the other currently). I did purchase some from Lidl for £10 but they were a very poor fit and heavy so returned them. As he is in his school shoes from 7:30 till 5pm 5 days a week I made this a priority spend and got him fitted and kitted out at our local specialist children's shoe shop. As a compromise he is having to wear his old trousers, shorts and well worn sweatshirts. I've bought new polo shirts as his old ones were stained and faded. He will have to make do with his old school bag with a hole in. I'm trying to teach him to respect his belongings and not drag things across the floor but at age 6 it is easier said than done! I'm currently stalking the charity shops and facebook market place for a warm winter coat for him.
The beginning of the new school year means the end of the summer and the start of the cooler weather. How long can I hold off putting the heating on - a definite challenge living in the North East. I'm working less hours in order to focus on my final year of studies so this not only means less income but also the fact that I'm going to be home for an additional 2 days a week which means heating the house more often. I'm trying to stay focused on the light at the end of the tunnel and that once I'm qualified in Dec 2024 then, fingers crossed, my finances will improve. I'm in for a very tough ride until then. I'm well aware of the privilege I am in, many others who are struggling financially are trapped and lack hope of a better future.
Wondering if I should try and go back to university ... for a third try at getting a degree ... this seems like a possibly good time (seeing as how I appear to be unemployable!!) ... but ... I'm just so time poor!! I can hardly even get to swim more than twice a week, even though I love to, and it's good for me ... so I don't know how to make space to study, when I'm always feeling guilty about how much I can't do for the kids, and when we really can't afford to lose any of my side hustles!
I was pleasantly surprised and happy to recently read that energy bills will be capped/reduced by 7% from October.
It's certainly a step in the right direction!
Had lot of things happen but everything seems to be going well x
Today is a better day and I am trying to look for all the positives and budget my money better.
New beginnings can be an exciting positive change in life. It shows me I am making an effort for growth and development. It can also bring a feeling of anxiety and loss as I may be leaving my comfort and safe zone.
For example, walking into a new environment and meeting new people to take part in bringing awareness and change.
I also think change is a must in one's life, without it we cannot have a better future.
I'm lucky enough that one of my daughters is going off to her big sisters for four days through the holidays. So that not only saves me a bit of money because she's not around, but it also keeps her entertained for a little while. We have a holiday booked to go away for two weeks, which I could only afford because my eldest two daughters have chipped in and helped pay for the holiday, so we're kind of optimistically looking forward to it. We've got lots of free events planned and free museums and free galleries to visit just to keep my youngest busy. We also received a 90 pound voucher to buy her lunch during the school holiday as she's on free school meals.
Back to reality! I have just had a wonderful 2 days with researchers and participants of the project in London for the lobby day. I didn't have a care in the world and felt I was truly among friends. It really did not feel that I was meeting people for the first time. When I returned home, it seemed to come to a sudden end, bills on the doormat, a lack of food in the fridge and no milk for a nice cup of tea. I am so grateful to be able to be a part of this magnificent project, when I look back now I feel joining this project was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Never before have I sat in a lovely cafe as an adult making zines, it looked a bit like the corner of a nursery with a table full of paper scraps, glue sticks, scissors and pens, but not a child in sight. How wonderful this felt and gave inspiration. The project has helped me build my confidence, realise that I am not the only single parent that is facing these types of problems, worries and difficulties, also it has had a huge effect on the lives of my daughter and myself both mentally and physically. Keep up the good work all in fighting for change. I look forward to working with you all in the future and hopefully meeting you all again soon.
So the good news is, it's nearly my birthday. The bad news is I still haven't bought anything for my son's which was 2 weeks previous.
What with the apparent continuous bailing out of his brother, he felt he would do without for the time being. Hoping for driving lessons as many his age wish for. With the worry of male suicides in the back of my mind it's difficult not to help my son out where I can... He owes money out in fines & refuses to get professional help or even take accountability for it. It reached a point last weekend where by I had helped him out yet again, only to have him tell me he's no food to feed his son with & then needed a make a further payment to get his driving licence returned. Give an inch, take a mile!
I've since had to make it clear to him I'm not able to help with cash hand outs any more, to avoid any upset either side, because I was simultaneously asked if I could help my cash strapped eldest son out too. Which I did do, however, meant to be getting this chunk of money repaid.
Once upon a time, it was also the arrangement with my middle son that he repaid all the money he "borrowed" but I'm disappointed to think it won't see its way back to me if at all. Least not any time soon.
Meanwhile, the car seems to be having major problems again. It was only 2 months ago it had repairs on it too. Not sure how safe it is to continue using it. Won't know till it's looked at.
I feel immensely overwhelmed...
Ironic really, because only yesterday I attended a workshop to foster wellbeing & positivity. Positively up a certain creek without a paddle more like... Now "THAT" I can be certain of.
I can see me paying the water rates off with any birthday money I get at this rate. I shall light birthday candles on the bath taps... To mark the occasion.
Today has been a interesting day, went to sports day with my partner to see her son participate. Was great to see him get 2 firsts which was amazing, really happy for him, then went to have some lunch at the local pub, was nice to have some alone time, nice food and nice place to have food. Nice to get some down time from all the stresses of late, having to get help with my mental health a lot recently. Been great to see our puppy getting better after the weekend, worried about his back legs as they gave out but antibiotics seem to be bringing him back to normal. Have not done one of these for a long time, but know that writing down how you are feeling helps with your mental health so felt this was a good thing to do today.