I have to take this opportunity to talk about recent news stories regarding the figures for the number of unemployed people in the UK. I don’t like to be negative, but I couldn’t help but grumble about the cynicism of a recent Huffington Post story that reported about the fall in the unemployed people of our country. Yes, it is excellent news that ‘recorded’ jobseekers are at an all-time low. But that isn’t necessarily a true picture.
Take myself as an example. I gave up a minimum wage part-time job (for which I was over-qualified anyway) in order to stay home and be Mother and Housewife. When my maternity leave lapsed I decided to register as self employed. This did not work out well for a variety of reasons, including the fact that I couldn’t afford childcare in order to go out and do the freelance work that is available. Eventually I closed down that particular business venture after earning absolutely nothing and feeling rather flat and fed up about my own naivety and the situation I was in.
For six months while being a ‘Stay at home Mother’ I claimed Jobseekers Allowance, in a desperate attempt to give myself something of an income. That was stopped by the government when they declared that my husband can afford to ‘keep’ me. My only option now is to continue as I am with no regular personal income, or to figure out a way to afford nursery care for my baby and toddler, and find transport to get me to where the jobs are. My husband’s monthly wage is all taken up in household payments, utilities, living expenses, travel costs etc, and we already spend less than the national average (I think) on food shopping.
We are by no means ‘poor.’ I certainly don’t feel any self pity, except on those odd occasions when my hormones run riot and I can’t face another stinky nappy or crying child. We never go hungry, our children have all of their needs met, and our house is clean and comfortable, if a little cramped. But now my desires are turning to more cosmetic and frivolous desires. I really miss having my own car. I want to extend our house and create an extra bedroom and bigger kitchen, but that would lead to a full renovation and where do we get the money? I want to go shopping and not have to restrict myself to sale rails and charity shops, as much as I enjoy visiting those places.
I know that I am not alone in this situation. My personal solution is to get tough and work from home at the expense of spending more time with my children. I have battled with this desire for several months now, telling myself that I should wait until they are in school and then I can work. But they won’t be happy if I am not happy. I need an income to make me secure, and I need to do it for myself for a large variety of reasons.
I don’t expect handouts, which is fine because we don’t get any, but surely there is a way to improve our economy so that everybody benefits? I know, I know, it is the ultimate conundrum. We can blame the rich folks for keeping us in oppression, the Tory government for supporting the rich folks, and all sorts of other excuses. Ultimately I have to focus on my own little world for now, and do what makes me and my family happy. Then we can try and fix the rest of the country…