Three choices

Right now I am on the brink of a good, old fashioned, no holds barred, ‘it’s not fair’ sobbing cry.
Yesterday I didn’t have time to write a blog because of a 180 mile motorway trip to pick up a car which is still not mended followed by a family outing to the dentists all before the nightly dinner/reading book/bathtime/story time challenge commenced. The day prior to that was split into two halves- the first spent muttering and finger thumping the iPad while I scrawled discernable-only-to-me thoughts on a sheet of scrap paper and nursing hives while I prepared for a second interview. The second half picking myself apart, my mind whirring with thoughts of ‘give it up, you’re a single mum, be realistic. You need a job not a career’. Sounds like a bunch of defeatist excuses doesn’t it? Far be it from me to pitch up to the single parent/benefits debate party with only a half drunk, cooking wine idea to offer but actually it’s nigh on impossible to claw out of this lifestyle once you’re in it. I have two children, a fairly decent education and my hands tied behind my back. Yes I receive support for our life, which consists of cheap treats from even cheaper still reduced sections and always being one bill away from panic. I am also heavily weighed down by endless paperwork and phone calls to prove our eligibility for something or prove we aren’t liable for something else- all while trying to parent children on my own. It’s a constant reminder our lives are property of the state.
What I really want is to further my education so I can go back to my career. I want to show my daughters a strong role model and set an example of hard work being rewarded. Instead I am told I can go back to college on a free vocational course so I can learn a skill which pays so much less than my potential and if I frustratedly refuse I am deemed ungrateful.
It isn’t petulance to wish for a time where I can afford to go to work, pay bills and pay childcare. Yes, I could learn a low income skill and retain my current support while doing so but it just makes no sense to confine someone to a system intended for providing support when it’s needed to those who need it. With a bit of water logic, I could be assisted on the short term to never need it again.
Some women do manage to escape the system but I bet if you asked them how there was someone who offered a steady supply of free childcare or support to allow them to do so(and good for them too).
As we walked to the dentist yesterday, my 6-year-old daughter told me she wants to be a vet when she’s older ‘if she has enough money.’  It felt like a slap that a small child should already be weighing up their career opportunities based upon what she can afford. I was also angry someone or something had made her aware of limits on her potential. I may appear militant, bitter and perhaps it is a bit  awkward of me to not acknowledge my social standing but right there and then I set her mind straight that it’s not out of reach. She can get there as long as she wants to and works hard. As for me I will persevere too. I might not be able to lead by example with a career- at the moment- but I will show my children to fight for what they believe in, to work their hardest and be determined against the odds. I assure you the welfare shaming programmes on offer nightly are not representative and do not speak for everyone. It’s just people like me don’t make good telly.

2 thoughts on “Three choices

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