19 September 2014

Simple Daybook when money is a worry.

Outside my window the sky is lightening blue-grey, and the daily sounds of cars starting and the rumble of the distant main road are beginning. It is very early, a few moments of peace before my day becomes full of young people and sound and busyness. I have a hot cup of tea. I sneaked out from besides the softly curled snuggly toddler to change over laundry and spend just a few moments alone.

I am thinking about meal plans and post office runs and somehow balancing everything today. No anxiety yet, just a lot of little things that must be done.

I am thankful for family and friends who don't judge us, or see us as hopeless stewards of money, but are just there when we need them. More thankful than I can say for the five different people who have made sure we are kept in bread, milk, fruit, cereal.

In the kitchen a loaf of fresh bread is waiting on the surface for hungry breakfasting children. Grains are soaking for soup for lunch. The washing machine is running already, I have so much laundry to get through - sometimes I think the sound of that machine is taking over my mind.

I am wearing a soft, long, steel-grey dress and a rust-orange cardigan. Bare feet. Copper skeleton leaf necklace.

I am going to make it to the park with a friend next week. I can't really predict more than that, other factors crowd in and make all the usual plans and wishes a little tricky. We wanted to go swimming at the weekend again, maybe visit a friend a little further off, but the car is out of fuel and posting parcels comes before swimming.

I am reading The Dragonfly Pool (well, I just finished it). I love borrowing books from my children! I really enjoyed it, interesting, quirky, light reading but my first completed book for a good while. 

I am hoping that our Tax Credits will finally be reinstated tomorrow, or if not, soon. The money Martin makes is what keeps a roof over our heads. Tax Credits feeds us. My earnings pay for dance classes and books. It has been that way for a while, and without the weekly income ("computer error" they tell us, and "it may take another week or more") we are struggling.

I am looking forward to reading stories with Talia, and kissing her little soft toddler cheeks, and laughing together. She's a sweet little pixie with her own comfortable little rhythm and a generous laugh. I may sneak out of bed to spend a moment alone, but my heart is still there with my babiest one.

Around the house: Here in the living room there is a scattering of toys and a pony castle in the middle of the floor. When I got up, I told myself I would tidy a little in here before our day starts, but as yet I have only looked at it. A doll crib, a hair brush, a discarded pink shoe, a drum. Some kind of flyer that has made it through the door only to be snatched up by little hands and used in some game. This is my life; ragged around the edges and yet creative and full and mostly content.

Yesterday I spent hours sorting out the children's rooms. I woke up from a sleepless night thinking, "Of all the things I worry about not being able to give the children, I can give them at least the gift of uncomplaining service in this one thing." So I set to work picking up the pile of clothes, the strewn dressing up things, the books and pieces of paper piled high by the bed and on the desk. It was more of a mess than I thought it was, but they joined me one by one to say, "Wow, thank you mum! What can I do to help?"

One of my favourite things is changing the season table over to Autumn. 

A few plans for the rest of the week: family time at the weekend, Jenna's dance class (mercifully pre-paid for the term), more science experiments because we found the instruction booklet for the chemistry set (!), and hopefully getting some of the laundry actually put away. Oh, the glamour!

A peek into my day:
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PS: I'm sorry if you don't like to hear me talking about money. I am *incredibly* grateful that we are able to freely make the choice to live with less so that one of us can be at home. I am even more grateful for the generosity of friends and family that has tided us over until our income returns. But if you feel the need to tell me why it's my fault or that I shouldn't be open about the impact money (or lack) has on us, then sorry but I'm not sorry (and I won't publish your comment). :p
PPS: Last time I spoke about our finances, I didn't add a post-script, and had to remove some "helpful" judgement.

15 comments:

  1. The first time I "found you" was when you posted a blog post about struggling and it brought a tear to my eye, thinking about your suffering at that time. In the intervening years you have had enormous courage in sharing all your difficulties not just monetary but emotionally and physically, I applaud you for every single time you have shared each step :-) You truly are an inspiration and on many an occasion I have so wished I lived nearer to you.

    Sending you much love and prayers this day.

    San xx

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing the ups and downs of life with me, San. <3 I still struggle with feeling like I'm moaning, when we have so much!

      It has been a great comfort over the years to have friends supporting, sometimes saying "we've been there too", sometimes just hearing me out. When it feels like things are going completely wrong, I so appreciate not feeling alone with it all. xx

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  2. we have had some bad news lately (linked to income) and this has thrown us into turmoil. it is horrible. thank you for sharing so honestly.

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    1. I hope all is well for you. Money stress is hard! <3

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  3. I am so sorry to hear that you have money worries they are the worse kind of worry to have especially when it stops you being able to feed you and your family properly. I hear you on the sacrifices we make on giving up an income but that shouldn't have to include food. I sincerely hope that you get your tax credits sorted soon. I am a long way away but if there is anything I can do, I am more than happy to help.

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    1. Our family have been really brilliant, so we really are safe and warm and fed right now. There is food in the cupboards, petrol in the car, electric on the meter. I am probably going to be anxious until the money comes through and we can pay our Council Tax, but otherwise we are fine. How very lucky we are to have so much support when we need it!

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  4. Some people offering judgemental advice typically have led sheltered, lucky or priviledged lives.

    I relied on tax n child credits to make ends meet as well despite earning as a single parent

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    1. I think so many people do, with many people's incomes being pretty low. I know families in all sorts of different circumstances who would struggle if their tax credits unexpectedly vanished - and at least one other family who have had the same glitch catch them out this year. :/

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  5. Oh dear, dear Sarah, I am lost for words. I ditto everything that lovely San has already said. I too have 'virtually' held your hand over the low and the high times. You are an inspirational mama with a beautiful family of girlies. Love and light xx

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  6. Hugs. I can so sympathise with your situation, it is so similar to my own. People are very quick to judge when they know little of your circumstances. It can feel so soul destroying to not be able to offer the people you love most what they truly deserve. We struggle so much with money worries and yesterday my daughter brought home a card she had made in school during 'golden time' which is like free time saying how much she loved me and that I was the best mummy in the world! Made me cry.....you are doing a great job, don't forget it. :-)

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    1. That's just beautiful, what a precious reminder from your lovely daughter! <3

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  7. Yours is one of a handful of blogs that I read now. I have always been inspired by your courage, and honesty and can relate to so much of what you write. I am always encouraged by your happy, colourful, rainbow life, your lively, lovely children and the activities you share. Please don't feel like you need to edit yourself in your own space. It is an unfortunate fact that people who struggle financially (which is most of us) are often lectured at or censored. Please don't let that sort of misguided advice effect you. You are doing such an amazing job with your beautiful girls!

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    1. Suzy your gentleness and kindness are such an inspiration to me too, thank you. It's been one heck of a week, and no end in sight, but the generosity and love we've experienced have been a huge encouragement. xx

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  8. I am so sad to hear things are difficult. Here too right now. I managed to pre-pay a few things too (brownies, science club and a reduced price theatre trip) and am so thankful I was able to. I can't believe anyone would criticise! Your blog has always been my favourite and I have always appreciated your ability to find beauty even in the grey (which I really struggle with) and your honesty. Sending you a huge hug Sarah. Wish I was nearby so it could be in person xx

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Penny for your thoughts? :)