After having it shoved in our face over the past few days about 'poor old Daniella Westbrook' and her poverty issues, I have managed to get more and more angry over the way she is using media to try and get herself out of the situation. Daniella Westbrook is the same age as me (give or take a year) and as i grew up, I saw her on the Tv. She had so many opportunities offered to her and me on the other hand was divorced by 22 and became the single mum to 3 kids. Whilst she was busy shoving cocaine up her nose, I somehow managed to bring my three older children up, believe me, it was so hard and there were times that all we could afford to eat for dinner was a 26p bag of Tesco value range rice (you know the small sachet type packet). that went 4 ways, but we had a roof over our head. We had Debt collectors knocking on the door as a daily occurrence and I will never forget the day that Social Services knocked on my door with a hamper full of toys for the kids, they actually saved my Christmas. We never had food banks back then, but I had a great support network and the local church would give us a harvest festival box once a year. As the kids got older I managed to get out of the poverty trap and we could afford things like holidays again, we were lucky - others aren't so lucky.
Since having Tilly I have found myself back in the poverty trap and unable to get out again, but I think of myself as lucky - because I got out of it once, I will do it again! Yet again we have debt collectors knocking on the door, Every month we struggle to pay the ground rent on my house so that we don't get another letter of repossession. Some days I don't even have the £6.30 to travel to work and I find myself feeling down the sofa for odd coins and looking in the toy box for coins too. My central heating is broken and as I own my own house, I cant afford to get it fixed, so we sit here in front of a plug in heater and freeze when I go up to bed.
Not once have I used my poverty in my blog, I am not a proud person but I detest people using poverty as an excuse to get what they want. Of all the troubles I have had over the years - Not once did I turn to drugs to get through, I don't even take prescription drugs to get me through the bad days as I try and learn and survive without them.
After speaking to a friend who wishes to remain anonymous, she gave a true account of how poverty affects her and it is a far cry from Ms Westbrook. She needs to realise you cannot glamorise poverty and use it to your advantage, as she sat there on TV, with her nicely groomed hair, her perfect nails and her clothes without holes in. I cant even remember the last time I went to the hairdressers, normally its either, food or hairdresser!
'Its not a true portrait of poverty how can you have clothes, bags and shoes that are worth more than a family of 7 would spend on a weekly budget shop. What she would spend on a night out would feed my family for a month and pay the bills, leaving nothing. Most people are ashamed to admit how bad things are but the money she got selling a story will help her. If I sell my story I might be able to treat the kids to a bus ride to school in this weather or keep the heating on for a few days without worry but the media don't want my story because I'm a 'no one', I'm not a coke head I'm a struggling mum who just wants a happy family not one constantly living in fear of the letter box or worrying about school trips and letting the kids down on things people take for granted. Envying people eating in the streets/ cafe/ restaurants like its a natural thing, to people living in poverty that is a luxury having no money on payday and just enough food to feed the kids knowing you have a week til the next money comes in hurts inside and makes you wonder if its all worth it. You can't survive you can't see a way forward you don't have the papers as a plan b. Due to the benefit cap not taking into consideration children's welfare, I could lose the house. I have stopped eating and still can't afford the rent can't get the medical help I need and need the medical help to get back to work'