I feel grateful throughout all of this time, because no matter what, no matter how bad things get, we survive. That's a hugely important message I want my son to take away from his childhood. You can get through anything and at some point, things will level out and we will be ok.
The roof needs repairing, and the roofer has said that I can pay him in instalments! How amazing is that?!
I am slowly changing my mindset because I realise the impact that poverty has had on me is to make the previously happy and hopeful person I was, into a very depressed person, the cup has definitely been half empty. But I want to change that for myself and for my son.
I am a survivor of adversity, of trauma, and that is an amazing thing I think. I am one of the lucky ones.
It isn't easy to change your mindset when things are difficult and when maybe you didn't have the best start in life either, but I am trying because I want a better life for myself and for my son and despite the challenges we face, there is so much to be thankful for.
I am currently in intensive therapy and slowly, the lady I am working with is helping me to develop a toolkit of coping strategies. I'd like to share these with my son in a positive way and help him to see that his own reality can be better. No matter how tough things get, we are here and we are survivors.
I appreciate the Covid Realities and subsequent Changing Realities projects and the teams and partners, very much. The experience of being involved in these has been so uplifting and there are so many reasons to never give up. I have become an activist, I have become a person who sees the truth behind so many things, that's priceless. The projects have expanded me as a person and made me better in many ways. How lucky I am to have experienced this.
I do feel sad that the projects will be coming to an end, but I will be forever grateful to have taken part.
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.
Excited but scared! My son is moving to high school so I know costs will increase but excited for him to take his next step.
The school new year gives me stress and anxiety, as my son will move to a new school due to bullying in previous school. New uniform, new people, and as a single parent working full time, it is sometimes very hard to manage it all. Especially with cost of living crisis, it is hard to manage finances and prioritise and rationing.
However, will get there as I am a proud and blessed single mom. My son is a blessing and keeps me strong and happy in many ways.
How am I feeling about the new school year?
Our daughter is starting 6th form at her school in September. I am excited for her and she is very much looking forward to it. There are additional costs involved of course but our local council has extended the free school meals entitlement and when we get confirmation that will be one less financial worry. Most of the new uniform required has been covered by a uniform grant from the school which helps massively as 1 badged skirt and 1 school blazer = £89.50! We have also applied for a free bus pass for her which she can use at any time not just journeys to school. This is the most financial assistance we have ever received and it has made the summer holidays noticeably less stressful for me, for which I am very grateful. With a winter coat and shoes that still fit her, I feel I have 'got off lightly' this year.
It's been a while since I last shared my thoughts.
Life has been busy, summer holidays are in full swing and every day seems like a challenge and adventure.
I am definitely spending more on, not only food, but arts and crafts, days out, travel, snacks and new clothes. Not to forget the new uniform for the end of the summer.
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.
I wanted to note something important that has happened this week and which I tried to fit in to the Big Question of the Week (even though it wasn't directly relevant).
My private landlord has renewed my tenancy for another year. This has been playing on my mind as it does every year - but this year has been different. There are fewer places to rent. I need 3 bedrooms but was only able to get a 2 bed in July 2020, when I separated. Apart from the missing bedroom (the girls have a bedroom each, my lounge is our dining room and my bedroom, and where I work from home) the flat is ideal as only 10m walk from school and near shops and my work office.
There are other 2-bed flats around, in the same block of flats, and area - but they are going for up to £300pcm MORE than I am paying. So if the landlord had not renewed I don't know what I would have done.
Also, the tenancy agreement allows for a rent increase to match inflation if renewed. This would be a 10% increase on a budget I am just managing.
The landlord, for some reason I will never understand, has not increased the rent. I've been quiet all week from telling anyone because I honestly thought it was a mistake - but the hard copy came through today and no change.
The April benefit increase in my UC will take effect from my payment in June - and I will actually see the benefit of this. It wont be taken up with rent.
I am chuffed to bits that I got the renewal and obviously with no increase in rent. I will be able to pay the kids more pocket money now so they can go out with their mates in the summer vacation.
I needed to share this.
The little things I do to make my life feel better, I like to try and make as many people as possible smile or leave them on a positive note, even if it's just smiling at them or paying them a compliment.
I had a lovely experience this morning thanks to World Book Day.
Books are so powerful.
Today Manchester Metrolink gave out free books on the trams to celebrate World Book Day.
I saw one of the books on a seat next to a lady. I asked her if she would pass it to me she smiled looked a bit confused and passed it to me. I explained to her about World Book Day and how the Metrolink was giving out free books to celebrate it. We have a little conversation about how nice it was.
My daughter was reading the book and a little boy in a pram got on the tram with his mum.
My daughter passed the book to him, his mum was overjoyed and immediately started reading the book to him. The little boy really enjoyed the story and after his mum finished reading it they had a lovely little conversation about it.
We got off the Tram at the same time and I said to the mum how much of a good job she was doing and it was really nice to see them both enjoying the book. Her face was beaming with happiness at just at the simple fact that I said that to her.
Then an old lady came over and said I agree!
All that lovely interaction and positivity from one simple book 📖🥰
Hi, like yourself my daughter is now 16 and is aware of some of the financial hardships that are are living with. However, over the past six years since my partner, her mum, left I have tried to shield her as much as possible. This has never been easy but she is also strong and resilient. She has many friends from differnt backgrounds so is fully aware of the differences that families have. If she needs clothes she will often look in local charity shops rather than asking for new items. I have always put my daughters needs and well being before my own as all parents do, but this does mean that I often have to go without basic needs. Apart from a warm coat I bought myself with some of the vouchers I received from Covid Realities I have not purchased any clothes for myself for six years. My daughter finds this difficult and sometimes embarrasing as the ones I do own are now falling to pieces. During lockdown, it was my daughter who talked to a leader at a group she attends about the difficulties we were facing with buying food and they arranged for a food bank to contact us with some help. For this I was extremely proud of my daughter as it was not something I would of done myself, so I am guessing that she was more aware of our financial situation than I was aware of. I do believe that the situation we find ourselves living in is making my daughter a stronger person who will always put others first and go forward to live a happy and fulfilled live in the future.
We are nearing the end of November, 4 weeks until Christmas. I can't wait for it all to be over. I will be off for 2 weeks, I know my January wages are going to be very low and my December wage is already 1 week down from Halloween break.
We, in N Ireland, still don't know when or even if we will see the same energy support the rest of the UK is already getting - no matter how many times we have been told it's coming!
I am tired. So tired.
...I just need work that pays that pulls us out of poverty! Is that so hard to ask.