How much…

…do our children cost us?

There was a news article I spotted this morning stating that the cost of raising a family in the UK has risen so much over the past few years that more and more families are facing poverty. Food banks are suddenly cropping up all over the place and being utilised. Parents are skipping meals in order to feed their children.

I can well believe it. I had to get the calculator out last night to work out if I had the necessary money to buy the ingredients for making the girls’ tea tonight.

Any clothes, books, toys etc I buy come out of my Employment Support Allowance – a figure designed to support 1 person at a basic level. Almost half of my monthly income is spent on utilities – phone, electric, car and house insurance, and this new bedroom tax. The other half has to cover food, petrol, clothes and everything else. And when you have two growing girls, they start eating you out of house and home pretty quickly!

Then there’s the emotional/mental costs. Getting woken at 2 in the morning because of a bad dream. The sound of Porglet whispering at 7am on a Sunday when all you want is a lie-in. Support they need to get through a tough day at school. The seemingly constant battle to get them to do what you want, when you want it…no, not in 5 minutes, NOW!

It’s tough for any single parent, part-time or full-time, mentally unwell or firing on all cylinders.

But here’s the thing. I wouldn’t change it for the world. Of course I’d love to not have the money worries but they fade into insignificance when I look at my girls. I may have struggled to afford their dinner tonight, but the thing that makes that inconsequential is the fact I will be SEEING them for dinner tonight. I don’t mind cooking them a minimum of 3 meals a week if it means I get to spend time with them a minimum of 3 times a week.

As the old Visa advert said:
The cost of food: £30 a week.
The cost of children: PRICELESS.

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