I read an article today from one of my absolute favourite bloggers – Emily who runs the very amusing Stolen Sleep blog/website.
Her pieces usually make me snort with laughter because they take a very real and often downright sarcastic look at parenting and lack of sleep.
But Emily’s article today stopped me in my tracks a bit because it is a far cry from her usual sartorial piece – today she wrote about having to use foodbanks to feed her family. You can read the whole thing here.
I think if I’m honest my initial reaction was shock. Shock that such a successful and regularly published writer is being forced to use foodbanks because her finances since having children have been so tough.
But then the more I thought about it the more I realised we are all just living on a financial knife edge – me included.
The perception of working in the media to outsiders is huge salaries, major perks and the dosh rolling in. To be honest, nothing could be further from the truth. Before having my baby Noah I was earning a reasonable salary as a radio presenter. (note the word reasonable – not big) But I was self employed. Radio presenters work from contract to contract with very little security, if any. This means I wasn’t entitled to company maternity pay and the day I did my last show was the last day I got paid.
My partner Jay is also a radio presenter, and a damn fine one at that. But I’m very aware of the fact that we’re currently surviving on one salary – while I currently spend my days breastfeeding and raising our child and doing odd bits of freelance work on the side to keep a few extra pennies coming in.
Could I go back to work full time? I guess I could (if someone would have me!) but at what cost? We’d have to pay for at least some childcare and then it would sort of become pointless for us. We do have my family nearby but my parents both work practically full time, with their only spare day taken up providing free childcare for my brother’s child. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable adding my child to their already burdened load.
I remember a few years back going to a homeless shelter in Kent to do some very tough interviews at Christmas time. And something one of the organisers said to me has ALWAYS stuck in my mind – that all of us are just three months away from being homeless. It doesn’t take much. Redundancy and a few missed mortgage payments. Anyone can find themselves in a very sticky financial situation.
According to figures today – a massive one million Brits could soon be using foodbanks – such a worrying statistic.
I’m not really sure what the point in this post is. Perhaps my chance to express some gratitude for my current situation and food on the table but also a degree of fear for the future.
Anyway – back to reality, my peace is shattered because Noah has just woken up from his nap!
Over and out