After having children it got me thinking about how I was raised. Did my Mum and Dad ever go with out so they could provide for us? Did they ever worry that they weren’t good enough? Did they ever struggle to feed us? I have done all these things since I became a mum.
My mum raised 4 children and at times worked 3 jobs so she must have done these things too, surely? I don’t ever remember her struggle, I don’t remember my mum and dad splitting up. I just have happy memories of playing on the moors with my sisters and cousins, having the an occasional trip to Butlins, playing with my friends at nursery and school.
My mum, dad and sisters. I’m the baby!
The first memory I have of any sign of struggle was when I was 15, we were declared homeless. I had to move from the town I grew up in, away from my friends to a council house in the middle of nowhere. It actually turned out to be the best thing I ever did! I made some great friends, got my first proper job and because it was such a small village, it gave me the motivation to move out by myself. I moved in with one of my sisters and eventually met a guy who is now my husband and father to my children.
Our first child, wasn’t planned. We both had jobs, I worked in a nursing home so I was able to go part time when she arrived and work in the evenings. Money got tighter but we were doing alright. WRONG! I suffered with PND, anxiety and OCD. I dreaded going to work or even outside so, we decided it was best for me to give up work.
I was advised that I could claim child tax credits, it wasn’t ideal but it would keep us going until I got better. It did help a lot. WRONG! We received a letter saying they had overpaid us and would be stopping payments until the outstanding balance had been payed.
We decided to move to a town with closer to my husbands work and into a house with cheaper rent. Things were looking up and we were finally comfortable again. So comfortable that we had baby number 2! Things were great, I was happy with our happy family. WRONG! The landlord decided he wanted his house back (the joys of renting), so we had to find a new house and £2000 for a deposit, first months rent and added fees. We borrowed money and moved house, all whilst trying to keep a toddler and baby happy!
We are now settled, tightening the purse strings even more and both children are very happy and so are we, despite all the financial stress we have had in the last three years.
So I asked myself, will my children know that we struggled to feed them? My answer is, probably not! They get fed even if it means us going with out or a bill going unpaid, just like my mum and dad used to do. I don’t remember going without so I doubt my children will either. Hopefully they remember being happy and healthy children with parents who love them!