Hi, I know pregnancy hormones are a big part of me being so upset about this, but I guess I was hoping for some reassurance that we're not horrible people lol. Or just to rant and let it all out, whatever.
My husband and I married young. We have one little girl and another on the way, and don't regret it a bit.
The problem is my husband started out on poor footing so to speak. He spent his older teenage years and early twenties working 60 hours a week for his fathers business. He hates that line of work, and has absolutely no desire to continue in it. In fact it depresses him terribly, and to us, we're better off being unemployed then having him hate his life as much as he would with a job in that field. He kept going with it because we needed the money, but the companys biggest client went under during the GFC, taking their business with it, as good an excuse as any to get out. That industry is still suffering greatly from the GFC, so even if he wanted to go back, finding work would be dificult at best.
My husband is now among the scores of 20-somethings currently looking desperately for work but not finding anything. Because of his parents rather unwise guidance he has spent the first 3 years of our marriage doing what he should have done as a teenager, studying, getting experience and finding out what he enjoys, what he hates, and what he wants to do with his life. During this time he has jumped from job to job, continually being made redundant as businesses cut back. He started out behind the pack, but people don't take that into account when they judge our situation.
He's finally figured himself out, what he dosen't want to do, and what he does want to do. But with absolutely no qualifications or relevant experience it's gonna be a long haul. He's learning at the moment, and considering doing a TAFE course. But this leaves us in a precarious position financially. We get by and we make ends meet well enough, that's not the problem, the problem for me right now is reassuring myself that we are very different from dole bludgers who have no intention of even trying to get work, that we really are 'aussie battlers' trying to get by and make a better life for ourselves.
I am a SAHM and I believe very strongly this is where I need to be. The consideration of a job did enter my mind, but I am also blind, and finding work as a blind woman was nearly impossible even BEFORE unemployment rose as high as it did and I had a child. I doubt I'd have any chance now, and the trouble and stress and special considerations involved in me working, even in something as simple as commuting since I cannot drive, just makes the situation impossible. Oh yeah, and the currently pregnant thing makes me completely undesirable as an employee.
At the moment I claim the blind pension, a payment I will be entitled to whether I work or not for the rest of my life (it is the only pension in Australia that is not income tested, don't ask me why). My husband is currently collecting parenting payment, and then there's FTB and rent assistance. In total between us I think we recieve about $1300 a fortnight from centerlink. My husband also works as a pizza delivery driver, and hopes to soon swap that for a job in retail now that it's hiring season again.
I know that this is exactly the situation that centerlink is meant for, and I know we are using centerlink to get by now in the hopes that my husband can train for a full time job instead of jumping around on minimum wage the rest of our lives. I know we're not actually even on the dole and are completely entitled to all we get (we could easily get more if we were willing to lie), and I know there's plenty of people abusing the system, and while some people may resent us we have hopes and plans.
It's harder because we have made some unwise financial decisions in the past, the most recent being a small business that we set up, but discovered my husband was simply not ready for, he lacks the confidence and experience to strike out alone right now, and I even know that's ok, because he is still young (23) and he's still doing a lot better for himself than many people his age. Mistakes are part of learning and part of life, I just wish this one hadn't been so costly at such a bad time.
But I feel like people are still grouping us in with dole bludgers and no hopers. I feel like people are comparing my husband to men twice his age with twice his experiences, or to young men who had the opportunities as a teenager to find some direction and skills before having the added responsibility of a family. We don't want to live on centerlink forever. which is one of the big reasons my husband tries his hardest to keep at least a casual job at all times, but in this climate even that has become very hard, despite a full year of experience and good references for retail work.
So do you tax payers resent us and the fact we live off centerlink right now? Do you guys think we're doing alright? It's hard to remember that everyone around us was 20 once, they all act as if my husband should have all the knowlege, experience, and assets of a 40-something, it's not fair or realistic. There's so much emphasis lately, people act as if claiming benefits while having children is the worst thing a person can do, but it isn't as if our payments are even unemployment based.
I guess I just want someone to tell us we're doing ok... People ignore the setbacks we have and just focus on what they think we should be doing. It's so hard to feel good about yourself when you're in a situation like this.