to be ashamed of being poor? BEWARE self pitying thread!

(118 Posts)
PoorLittleNotRichGirl Tue 09-Jul-13 18:37:35

Just that really. So many people have so much more than me and their lives are so much better and mostly, so much less stressful.

I worry the DCs friends will look down on them if they knew where we lived and what little we have and yes, tbh that their parents will look down on me. Most of them live in the affluent area we used to live in and it is a completely different world.

We now live in a council flat (with the obligatory smelly stairwell and anti social neighbours), drive a 12 year old car (with the obligatory put, put, put exhaust and noisy suspension), have no decent clothes (me) that don't have bleach stains and that overwashed look, falling apart furniture nothing of any value, no jewellery, no money for even a weekend break, value food etc.

I have worked hard all my life. It took just a simple series of shitty events to lose every penny we ever had (and my mind) and end up in council accommodation. When people find out where we live, I feel like I have to explain how we ended up here to stop them thinking we are just feckless scroungers and beneath them. Should I have to do this?

We will probably never get back to living a comfortable life (and having had it, then losing it is harder than never having it at all, really). I constantly feel a deep sense of inferiority and shame and guilt (for the DCs).

It is just shit and I am dreading the school holidays. AIBU to feel full of self pity and constantly worry about what people think of me? Would you look down on me?

usualsuspect Tue 09-Jul-13 18:39:34

No decent person would look down on you.

Anyone who does is a twat.

Souredstones Tue 09-Jul-13 18:40:09

You have two choices

Carry on with the self pity

Or

Look over into the distance and say 'I'll have that' and work towards it and set mini targets towards it.

Sorry you're having such a shit time

StickEmUp Tue 09-Jul-13 18:41:43

I wouldnt look down on you (not saying I'm not a twat, I think I'm okay tho) as I also understand it's 1 pay check away from poor living.

I live as well as I need to. So I feel a bit bad commenting but as above anyone who doesnt think it could happen to them ... well.

So not sure if YABU but hug anyway.

nkf Tue 09-Jul-13 18:42:02

No, I wouldn't look down on you for being poor. Allow yourself some time (short) to feel sorry for yourself and then start making plans.

Chottie Tue 09-Jul-13 18:42:18

No, I would not look down on you at all. No-one knows what the future holds and what life will bring them.

I don't really think people are as judgmental as you think. Why are you dreading the school holidays? if you feel you can tell us, please do MN often come up with lots of idea.

marzipanned Tue 09-Jul-13 18:42:55

Well, no, of course I wouldn't look down on you just for being poor.

Everyone has a story and everyone has had battles. I try really hard to find out those stories before looking on down on people.

I think constantly feeling self-pitying and worrying about what people think of you is a bad mindset to be in, though. Are you and the DCs healthy? You have a home - even if it's not one you like. A lot of families are without even that.

Are there any places nearby you can go these holidays for free? The park? Is there anything at all that you can cut down on/give up to start saving up for a treat for you and the DCs?

By the way - don't feel guilty for them. I work with families in your/similar situations and see plenty of kids absolutely thriving, as long as they're getting love and stability at home.

PeachActiviaMinge Tue 09-Jul-13 18:43:33

YABU as am I for feeling the same I won't let DDs friends in the house because I don't want them bullying her for what she doesn't have even more as they already call her out for not having the gadgets they do. I can't afford to buy the baby a play mat so he has to make do with us instead for now that's okay but when he gets older I'll have the same issues with him as I do DD.

I don't have friends I can't afford to go out and socialise so friendships die out. It's a fucking miserable life but I have my kids to make me smile and we try to do what we can with what little we have. I just hurt for DD all the kids local play with one little girl in particular as she has lots and lots of toys thanks to generous family members but DD isn't allowed to play with her because we're poor basically. I hope one day I can do better for her but for now I just hope she finds friends who don't care about stuff.

I wouldn't look down on you for being poor.
I might be a bit hmm if you continuously wallow in self pity.

(a small wallow is allowed wink)

Bowlersarm Tue 09-Jul-13 18:44:32

Life hasn't stopped now. Have an aim to work towards.

And don't let your negative thoughts filter through to your DC. They need you to instil confidence in them. Make them proud of any achievements. Try and be positive and look to the future.

Good luck. It must be tough for you.

PoppyWearer Tue 09-Jul-13 18:44:55

I know people from all walks of life and all income levels. I neither look down on anyone nor up to anyone.

Madlizzy Tue 09-Jul-13 18:46:46

Right you! There is NO shame in being poor, and anyone who turns their nose up at you isn't worth knowing. We veer between being just okay and being on the bones of our arses and I live as cheaply as possible. Clotheswise, I scour the charity shops on a regular basis and I am able to look just as tidy and smart as people who buy new stuff, and you can too. Picked up a gorgeous skirt for me today for £3. Furniture wise, get yourself signed up to Freegle or Freecycle. You might find yourself with a bloody good 3 piece suite for the grand total of nothing. The only person who can keep you down now is yourself. I'm poor and proud, so chin up and see what you can do to improve your situation. xxx

LynetteScavo Tue 09-Jul-13 18:48:17

I might be a bit surprised when you went into the details of your life and explaining why you lived where you did. I'd be thinking "A bit TBI". If you are nice and friendly I wouldn't care where you lived really, because like most people I'm too bothered worrying about my own life.

lottieandmia Tue 09-Jul-13 18:49:15

If anyone looks down on you because you don't have much money then they really aren't worth being friends with and their opinion doesn't matter! People who are like this about money are as shallow as people who only select beautiful people to hang around with.

My dd goes to school with children, quite a few of whom come from well off families who live in big houses etc. I really couldn't care less if their parents were to look down on me (and I don't get that impression tbh).

runningonwillpower Tue 09-Jul-13 18:51:11

Lots of people with loads of money are far from admirable and they don't necessarily make good parents.

Being an admirable person is not about disposable income. It's about attitude and values; you can teach your children well without a lot of cash.

So please stop judging yourself on material worth. Start thinking about real worth and the real values you want to teach your children.

Give yourself a break and take care.

I think people feel ashamed of their circumstances far more often than others judge them.

It depends what you consider important - I'm not bothered about wearing charity shop clothes and not jetting off on holiday, but I get defensive about not being in paid employment (am SAHM) and never send value brand labels in school lunchboxes (decanted is fine, I just don't want the label showing)

lottieandmia Tue 09-Jul-13 18:52:38

'I try really hard to find out those stories before looking on down on people.'

So if their 'story' doesn't justify how someone is to you, you think it's ok to look down on them? hmm

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Tue 09-Jul-13 18:57:25

Yes I am wallowing, not everyday but it is inescapable sometimes. I hope for some kind of miracle, like even a small lottery win to put us back on track, but I know that's not realistic.

Bowlersarm Thank you. I do instill positivity in the DC but it's hard with the example they have is that shit happens and they often state that they don't want to live here and why can't we move etc. They don't want to play out as they have been sworn at and threatened so stay inside (no garden) unless I take them out away from here which only serves to make me feel more guilty, especially on lovely days like we are having now .

Peach Sorry you are in the same boat. I don't have friends either, the few I did have gravitated away. For the best in some ways.

ClaraOswald Tue 09-Jul-13 18:57:32

Please stop trying to justify your current conditions to anyone.

Those that mid don't matter, those that matter don't mind.

It sounds like you are struggling a little to cope with the change of circumstances.

MoodyDidIt Tue 09-Jul-13 19:00:00

yanbu i was having a similar crisis a few months ago

no real advice though tbh, i just sort of pulled myself out of it somehow <not v helpful> but wanted to let you know you aren't alone

am sure there will be lots of good advice on here x

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Tue 09-Jul-13 19:02:27

Clara

'It sounds like you are struggling a little to cope with the change of circumstances.'

Just a little understatement of the century grin

EspressoMonkey Tue 09-Jul-13 19:09:20

NEVER say you will not be comfortable again. My DH is living proof you can be born with little, achieve a lot, loose most of it, claw it all back again and then make even more. His bank balance has changed dramatically but one thing that has always remained stable is his positive outlook.

Chin up OP. Never give up trying, never give up dreaming.

SillyTilly123 Tue 09-Jul-13 19:12:44

I only like to invite the dcs friends round who I know have similar housing to us, ie, housing association, bit messy, not a lot of accessories (decoration wise-theres more important things to buy than a vase or some candles) In fact I feel more comfortable in a -what I would call- 'normal' house than a show home type house.

The only time I judge people is when they do not look after their kids properly, swear at their kids, let them roam 'til God knows what time. (theres 2 of those in my street- I let my dds have their tea outside as it was so nice, and I swear the girl up the road couldn't have got any closer to dd2s plate! I dont think she has proper tea, just sweets/crisps etc. but I didnt have enough to offer her) Maybe that makes me a snob (which is laughable as im the most unjudgemental person I know) but I do feel sorry for these kids sad

StinkyElfCheese Tue 09-Jul-13 19:12:50

We could have written your post sad

I know DD has been dropped by one of her friends mums since we moved - I think it I s pathetic really we are still the same people.

I worry the kids are not eating as healthy as they should - they often get excluded as we cant afford all the little extras other kids have - swimming/brownies/gym club etc..

This year DD wont be going to summer club either which she really loves we simply don't have the money.

How on earth we are going to find the money for 3 x school uniforms is totally beyond me at the moment not to mention shoes....

The last new thing I bought for me was a dress for my mums funeral 18 mths ago -and even that was a cheapy sale one from Tesco.

Me and DH often just look at each other and tell each other it will all be ok ... sometimes we even believe it.

I have been scouting around for free things to do in the holidays 8 weeks for us .. there are some really great things out there and you never really know whats around the corner.

As for justifying yourself - stop .. its your home as my mum use to say

people who matter don't mind and people that mind don't matter smile

ClaraOswald Tue 09-Jul-13 19:13:39

What are you struggling with most? The area? Prospects? The everyday grind?

facedontfit Tue 09-Jul-13 19:14:35

I wouldn't look down on you, but there are people arseholes who will. Look on it as a bonus, when you make friends it will be with real people who don't care where you live but like you for you. You will hopefully avoid the people who only want to know you for your big house/important job/holiday home/lottery win/wine cellar/boat/private plane etc etc no, I don't have any of these either! smile

Don't think you will be there forever self fulfilling prophecy, you won't.

Never be ashamed.

Onwards and upwards RichGirl flowers

PearlyWhites Tue 09-Jul-13 19:17:24

Op I have a playmat and other baby toys my ds has grown out of, he is 11 months you are welcome to them if you are local to Merseyside? How old are your dc?
I am so sorry you feel judged, anyone who judges people on their income is just plain nasty.

BlackMini Tue 09-Jul-13 19:17:46

Anyone who judges you for where you liveis not worth your friendship. You sound lovely smile

RedHelenB Tue 09-Jul-13 19:21:03

Are you working at the moment? You don't say how old you are but hopefully when the baby is a bit bigger you can get back to work & with tax credits should be better off.

I think I am abnormal - I have never ever wanted to be rich or have the latest gadgets, clothes etc BUT I like to have "money to spare"else I do worry. I don't know where you live but if there is a surestart near you they may be able to help with toys for baby, or jumble sales at church halls perhaps?

As to stress, that is something that can't be measured by money - honestly the people I thought were in a good place but were really just playing charades.

LadyofSituations Tue 09-Jul-13 19:22:03

Is there anything you can do to improve your financial situation? Do you have a job? Qualifications? Work experience?

There's short-term and long-term. In the short-term, you can focus on trying to adjust to the sudden shift in circumstances. In the long-term, though, you might be able to work towards changing them for the better. (And of course, the more resilient you're able to be, the easier that's likely to be too - it's hard to do much if you're feeling hopeless.)

Mogz Tue 09-Jul-13 19:22:19

I know how you feel, and. Also know it's important to not let it take over your life: have yourself a little wallow then start setting some goals. Make sure they're small steps and realistic, and once you start ticking them off you'll feel so much better.
Like most other people have said anyone who judges you is not worth your time, there are plenty of great people around from all walks of life who will be more than happy to know you for who you are not what designer brands or fancy lifestyle you are/not the owner off.
Your children will look back on their childhoods and remember the love you gave them not the toys they didn't have, they'll remember the time they got to spend doing fun things with you and they'll be ever so grateful.

There really are loads of people out there who don't care about the stuff you have. Like you they just want to meet other friendly people to keep them company in life.
But yes, I have rather mixed feelings about the upcoming summer hols too. Am thinking of getting the DCs into a summer adventure play club - it's not that expensive, and probably cheaper than we'd spend out and about all the time.
Good luck - things will look up !

Plomino Tue 09-Jul-13 19:23:20

It's ok to feel down in such circumstances . Who wouldn't ? At one point not that long ago we were seriously skint , and the day to day endlessly scraping pennies together, working out how much we had every single day , the constant calculating , selling my jewellery , and going without , was beyond depressing . But. We got through it . DCs were ok . And so will you . Yes it is shit . But people who judge you on how comfortable you are , were never your friends anyway .

Is there anything we can do to help ?

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Tue 09-Jul-13 19:26:00

StinkyElfCheese Sorry to hear you are experiencing similar. I do tell myself that how I care and treat my DCs has not changed and they are well looked after so I am doing OK albeit a nervous wreck.

Clara The housing situ is the biggest problem and seems to be the hardest to solve. DCs have no outside space. Getting sworn at neighbours. Police regularly outside. Yobs shouting and swearing in the street at all hours. Depressing does not do it justice. No hope of moving as moving back into private renting will mean claiming housing benefit and all the shit that goes with that and being moved on at the landlord's whim. No hope of ever getting another mortgage unless a miracle happens.

LEMisdisappointed Tue 09-Jul-13 19:26:01

or you could look at it like this - you have a roof over your head, you have a car (our car is 14 years old), your children are getting an education, if they get sick they will be looked after. You will be possibly in receipt of benefits which will tide you over until you brush yourself off and start again. You said you had a good lifestyle until you had a series of bad luck, i assume you worked hard for it, so you'll work hard again and things will improve.

Would i look down on you? absolutely not - i may well ask myself how you found yourself in that situation but i most certainly would not judge.

I know how easy it would be for us to find ourselves where you are now and its a real fear of mine and if i were in your situation i would be feeling exactly as you do now. I often worry that people look down on us - and i know that some people do, i have come to realise that those people really aren't very nice and i don't give them more than an arbitary token of my time and i certainly don't loose any sleep over them.

Have some flowerswine wallow for a bit and then start to find ways to enjoy now and improve things too - things will get better, i promise xx

LEMisdisappointed Tue 09-Jul-13 19:32:56

Get yourself onto an exchange list if you can, you'll be surprised, it doesn't hve to be a reciprocal exchange it may involve three or more people moving and if someone wants into the general area in which you live , you may find tht you can move into a new place. You may have to stay where you are for a period of time depending on your council.

<<hugs>>

ARealDame Tue 09-Jul-13 19:34:11

Housing, yes, one of the trickiest ones - perhaps something worth putting your energy into, public, private, whatever? There are always options if you are a healthy adult, and even better if you have a partner, I would say. I can afford new clothes etc, but terrible housing, and I know what I would choose.

marzipanned Tue 09-Jul-13 19:42:09

Lottie yeah, that came out really badly. But there are some people I've come across in my work that I do look down on. I can't help it. It's nothing to do with having money or not, it's to do with the way you treat people who love you and people who try to help you.

marzipanned Tue 09-Jul-13 19:47:15

Second getting onto an exchange list. I know a woman who swapped out a flat in a terrible estate for a detached house in a village because a family wanted to be in the city - you never know what others might be looking for.

Badvoc Tue 09-Jul-13 19:53:07

I am pretty sure you wouldn't want anything to do with the type of person that looks down in council housing tennants?
I am sorry that you have had such a hard time.

fanjobiscuits Tue 09-Jul-13 19:54:23

Thiis might help put it in perspective: http://www.globalrichlist.com/

Agree anyonevwho judges doesn't have judgement worth trusting.

wellcoveredsparerib Tue 09-Jul-13 20:03:36

op, I do sympathize. I have been in a similar situation and although I'm not now, (through luck mainly) it would only take bad luck/illness/redundancy for it all to come crashing down. can you do anything to improve your job/income prospects - retrain maybe? if you can see a way out you can cope with how tough things are now so much better.

BridgetBidet Tue 09-Jul-13 20:46:21

This is where you find out where your real friends are. The ones who stick by you are the genuine, good friends. The rest of them are just so much flotsam and jetsam that you happened to pick up along the way and they were never really your friends.

oreocookiez Tue 09-Jul-13 21:00:43

Sorry to hear your feeling down on yourself, life is hard sometimes. I was brought up in a wealthy household and my mother was one of those snobs who didnt let me mix with council house familes as she called them. The friends I ended up with where I lived were mostly stuck up spoilt brats with pushy parents. My best friend patricia lived a bus ride away in a council estate and I was much happier playing out there, kids were friendly, mums would offer a drink or biccy and were so friendly. Compared to the snooty 6 bed detached houses mums who didnt speak as far too busy or had an au pair.
I would much rather live in a happy house.being rich or poor doesnt matter, real friends wont care.my dd is friends with all sorts of kids and the thought of if they live in a Council house or
not never crosses my mind.

Chin up chicky x

WouldBeHarrietVane Tue 09-Jul-13 21:02:02

YANBU for finding the situation difficult. Sorry to hear you've had a tough time sad

But, no nice people would look down on you.

aldiwhore Tue 09-Jul-13 21:10:13

I think you'll charm more good people with a smile and hard graft than you ever would with money and 'stuff'.

shewhowines Tue 09-Jul-13 21:13:26

I know you have reasons to be fed up and miserable, but is there any chance it may be more than this and you are depressed?

monkeynuts123 Tue 09-Jul-13 21:17:06

I got chatting to someone the other day and he was from a poor part of London, was a teacher, and he and his wife (also a teacher) were barely covering their costs and had a crap life. His actual words were 'I decided to beat the recession and now I live like a king.' He moved his family of 2 small kids and wife to India where they both now teach. He has a huge house, pool, staff, nannies, weekends at apartment in Goa on the beach. This guy was an inspiration. I have been poor and more than comfortable but I know for certain I would do something dramatic to change my lot if I found myself feeling as you do. Be an inspiration to your children. Your post made me want to ask you for your bank details and send you £100, but you don't want people to feel sorry for you do you? I think you are judging you and that is what hurts. Get up and change it all!

raisah Tue 09-Jul-13 21:35:10

I am sorry that you are going through this, I went through similar when I was growing up & my dad lost everything in the 80's financial crisis. I am not rich by any means & I think a lot more people are struggling than they would admit to in RL. My parents were dropped by lots of people when they lost everything, unfortunately that's what some people are like. The most important thing is for you to bring up your kids as decent human beings.

I hope you don't think I am being patronising but have you spoken to CAB to find out if you are receiving everything that you are entitled to? The Citizens Advice
Bureau run very good free money management courses. You maybe entitled to enroll at your local FE college for free so take this opportunity to retrain if possible.

The openuniversity has a free website called openlearn, you can study lots of modules there for free. There is a very good skills course there called 'Key Skills: Making a Difference' which I suggest that you look at as it deals with transferable skills.

I think when you are in a desperate sitaution, you just see the situation as one long endless bleak tunnel that you cant see the light at the end of. Do implement some of ideas that people have suggested if you think it might work for you. Getting yourself on a transfer list & mini target setting etc.

I have lots of old baby clothes & equipment in good conditiOn if anybody wants it. I am in the S.E . London area, some of you mentioned needing toys for a baby.

Goodluck.

marriedinwhiteagain Tue 09-Jul-13 22:15:10

Nope - I wouldn't judge what you have or where you live. There are lots of free things in the holidays:

Library - always run reading challenges with stickers and reviews to write in the hols.

Local authority play schemes.

Park and picnic.

Garden centre with ornamental fish sheds - free aquarium.

Fish and chips under the stars.

Childen's cinema sessions for a pound.

Double decker bus ride and Maccy D's treat at the destination.

Join a church for activities, fun and support and children's activities.

Volunteer at school and plug into what's available - opens up job ops later.

How old are you OP and how old are your DC.

With love and hugs.

I used to give mine baths with a drop of food colourinmg in and dash of baby oil or diprobath. It was fun; it was cheap and because they had eczema it saved buying hyper expensive sensitive bubbles.

grumpyoldbat Tue 09-Jul-13 22:18:38

I completely get where you are coming from. I am forever catching myself justifying how we lost everything. You do learn who is actually worth bothering with, that is the people who still treat you as a human being.

My lifeline for my sanity is our 'escape plan'. We are on a transfer list, I am going back to uni to retrain (vocational course)so I can try and get a better paying job. We plan to continue to live on the same budget for as long as possible (inflation allowing) and plough any pay rises, savings in child care when dd starts school etc into a savings account so that we can move away from our neighbours. BTW that's DH and I doing without, not dds before I'm flamed.

I have my down days because this is going to take a few years to come to fruition but we've already moved on from being completely homeless.

Butterflywgs Tue 09-Jul-13 22:23:32

Hugs PoorLittle.
Those of you telling her to 'just not wallow in self-pity, chin up' etc - unless you have similar experience to OP, do shut up.

missmarplestmarymead Tue 09-Jul-13 23:14:54

I live in a big house, we have 2 cars and I have jewellery. we lost a lot of money a while ago and our income is nothing like it was. It doesn't look as we have money worries but we do.

I am sure that several of these people who live in the affluent area that you lived in have been feeling a bite so try not to think that outward appearances are all that they seem: it may be that they too are worried about finances in some way.

Your area does sound awful but never give up hope: it is a very long road that has no turning and things are more likely to get better than not in the long run.

No-one with a heart will judge you for where you live and if some short sighted people do then try your very best to remember that they are beneath your notice.

I sincerely hope that things begin to brighten for you very soon but do keep in mind that just because the lives of others may look good on the surface, it is no real indication that they are.

imademarion Tue 09-Jul-13 23:23:28

I can't imagine anybody worth knowing would look down on you.

You do need to stop dwelling on the superficial ( where you live, what you lack) and start feeling real gratitude for what you have.

Children. Somewhere to live. Clean water. School. Internet access.

So many people in the world would swap places in a heartbeat.

There are lots of free/cheap things to do in the holidays, look online, in your library. It's up to you to teach your kids that you can be poor as church mice but your lives can be rich. Be resourceful and don't give in.

greenbananas Wed 10-Jul-13 00:32:30

I think one of the hardest things about being poor is that gap between your own lifestyle and that of your neighbours. It is so hard to watch your children missing out on the things their friends are doing.

Where I live, almost everyone is completely skint (one of 10% most deprived neighbourhoods in Britain). By most mumsnet people's standards, we are poor and our children are technically growing up in poverty, but I am constantly counting our blessings because DH has a secure job, we have a roof over our heads, and enough money to feed our children (even though we don't have holidays, many new clothes etc.) Nobody looks down on anybody else for being poor, and lots of mums share money saving tips at the school gates (e.g. loo roll being on offer at Aldi grin )

I used to live in an affluent area, and I know how hard it can be to feel excluded. However, there's no shame in being poor - and we are still richer than so much of the world, what with free health care etc.

Bless you for how you feel and what you are going through. Hope things improve for you soon.

Mimishimi Wed 10-Jul-13 01:36:16

I don't judge someone by where they live or really what they do( since circumstances can change in blink of an eye) but more by how they live. So if you lived in a council flat in a bad area that was as neat as a pin, spoke nicely with your kids and to others and were generally a good person, it wouldn't matter at all. If the same flat was littered with empty beer bottles, dirty washing all over the floor, dishes piled up everywhere and everything stank of cigarette smoke, then I'd probably be a bit less likely to befriend you. Similarly, some of the roughest people who make their livings by really dubious means, have all the 'trappings' and I'd equally not really want to have much to do with them.

I would never judge based on circumstances.

You seem to be very down on where you live now though, & seem to be judging yourself. It's quite likely there may actually be some pretty decent human beings in your area if you could get your head out of your ass.

The majority of people on this thread have been very kind to you & I'm not about to give you a pasting, but really, there's nothing wrong with an old car (people really don't look & those that do ain't worth shit) or living in council flat.

I had a couple of friends at school who's parents 'lost it all', it meant fuck all to our friendships.

I do find your talk of 'smelly stairwells & horrid neighbours' pretty hard to stomach & have to ask you where have you been living before this?

Were you in a bubble where this kind of shite only happens on the TV?

It's life & has been the only life for many, many people in this country for years & years & years.

I'm not asking you to be humble or happy & accept what you have, I would ask you to look around you though & stop being so proud. It will get you nowhere.

One thing though, all the people I've know who've gone from have-it-all to have-fuck-all have been risk takers, I'm guessing you did it before, you can do it again, we need risk takers, they make the leaps. Next time, try to take some of the people round you when you jump. They may just cushion your fall.

Yanbu op, it is crap being poor. I wouldnt look down on you for being poor because I am poor grin

Seriously though op, I used to do all right for myself but in the last eight years ive hit rock bottom and now just getting out of it, I have adopted the attitude that if people are going to judge me by where I live or how much money I have then it says more about them than it does me.

Ahandfulofdust not everyone who goes from having everything to nothing is a risktaker. Nine years ago I in my mind had everything. My own house that I jointly owned, husband to be, decent car, a job,money, healthy children. Then my fiance buggered off with a girl who was just sixteen, I had to sell my house and I was made homeless.

Now 9 years later I am single with 4 dc, in a council house, another failed relationship and in tons of debt that both exs left me with. Ive had to cope with illness, bereavement and my ds was recently diagnosed with autism and ive had yo leave my job to care for him. I have gone from have it all to bugger all

SaylorMoon Wed 10-Jul-13 04:58:41

YANBU. I have become downwardly mobile since my divorce. My older children knew what it is like to live in a grand house with swimming pool. They went on many fabulous vacations when their father and I were married.
I have since remarried a wonderful man and had a dd. My dh provides for all five of us on his salary of about 50,000 US dollars. Our house is very old, only one bathroom, and not in the best neighbourhood. I know my oldest children feel ashamed of where we live.
My dd has told me her friends do not like coming over to our home as it is "creepy" and "boring" sad This breaks my heart. I do my best to make our home comfortable. It is very clean and bright. We just do not have all the big screen tvs and other more expensive accessories. Our furniture is old and there is no chance to replace it at this time.
I try to keep chin up by reminding myself that we have a roof over our heads, we have enough to eat, and we all love each other. Hopefully, when our little miss goes off to kindergarten this Autumn I might find a part time job. Our situation is not desperate and it is not forever (I hope)
I feel for you though, we always want better for our children..

SaylorMoon Wed 10-Jul-13 05:01:46

Btw..our auto keeps making this ominous rumbling noise when you push it over 50 mph..I compensate by cranking the radio up higher smile As money for the inevitable repair will have to be pulled out of a monkeys butt..

Guerrillacrochet Wed 10-Jul-13 05:19:10

Hi OP
Sorry you're having such a difficult time. I certainly wouldn't judge you and as everyone else has said, I think that anyone who judges you on that basis isn't a friend worth having. Never explain, never apologise. Incidentally I know some incredibly wealthy posh people who wear old clothes and drive old bangers!
I also agree with the poster who thinks that there will be a lot of decent people on your estate who will be worth knowing- they may also keep their kids inside if there are some troublemakers that make it difficult to play outside. Is there a local community centre you could connect with? Maybe you could start a group? When you think you have nothing, give. You have so much to offer, please don't think your worth has a cash value attached to it.
How old are your kids? As mentioned the library is a fantastic resource and can take you anywhere- you could have projects to learn about different places, different times... get some books about Ancient Egypt, The Romans, mediaeval times- make masks and draw pictures. See if you can save a few quid to buy some arts and crafts stuff from the pound shop. Save cardboard boxes and loo rolls- ask for bigger ones at the supermarket and you can make all kinds of things.
There are millions of ideas for free activities on the internet- this resource looks great:
http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/summer/start/
Re the value foods there is no shame in that at all. I like the decanting idea. If you haven't already, please look at this blog- Jack is an inspiration and has some brilliant ideas for food:
http://agirlcalledjack.com/
There are some brilliant thrifty threads on MN to give you other ideas to help your budget go further.
Wallowing is fine and understandable, but giving yourself a (nice) kick up the backside to look at it differently will make it more bearable.
I honestly don't think you being hard up in itself will damage your kids. If they have a mother who cares for them and will support them they will be fine. Please post more details as people might be be able to offer more specific support if they know more on your situation.

learnasyougo Wed 10-Jul-13 06:21:18

Your unhappiness does not stem from being poor, it stems.from comparing yourself to others. If your friend were all as poor as you (or poorer) you wouldn't mind.

STOP COMPARING. Not only does this harm you, it's also an illusion. you are taking just a handful of things (income, nice things) to compare to your own circumstances, but you muatn't cherry pick what to compare:

that other reboot has a lovely house, new car BUT maybe she is crippled with self doubt, maybe he regrets having married, maybe the wife self harms, maybe the husband literally hadn't laughed in over two years.

Lives of others are messy and complicated, do you'll do yourself no favours in picking a few things here and there to compare to your own situation and ignoring the rest.

I might look at someone with fantastic legs (my envy-fodder) but then I think: what if she is desperately unhappy, abused by partners, has a terrible mother, can't get through a day without alcohol or any number of things that I'd rather her than me?

I'm also quite poor (pooree than all my friends by a fair margin) but I look at what I do have, not what I don't. it's the only way to stay sane.

thanks I truly understand how you feel, though.

Badvoc Wed 10-Jul-13 06:31:08

Comparison is he thief of joy.

QueenofWhispers Wed 10-Jul-13 06:48:30

please, never say never. Things can always turn up.

Also, don't worry about the stuff you don't have.

I was born into a family with money--and when I was about 5 my parents lost everything...every single thing. They didn't have social housing where I'm from, but we moved into some sort of subsidised housing associated with a religious institution. For my parents--it was tough; but to be honest I had the best childhood I think I could have ever had.

We had some very violent/rough neighbours, but they had some very imaginative kids and even though they were going through abusive situations, kids can be super resilient. I played capture the flag all night during summer vacation, I had adventures in the woods (both sound horribly unsafe to me now--but I loved my childhood). We found ways to make swimming pools and climb trees. We did everything we could have done to fight boredom and really enjoyed it.

Some of us (from this neighbourhood) have done okay, and others have fallen to the cycles of social help...but I could never look down on anyone. Money comes and money goes. How you treat life with or without money is up to you.

Only now do I realize how poor we really were--and I despite the hardship on my parents, I was really happy.

I know it's hard to be happy about the lack of funds sometimes, but it's not about clothes or holidays...it's about love and smiles everyday if you can spare it for yourself and your family. I promise you, people who would judge you for anything else are not worth the money they think they will have forever. x

Preciousbane Wed 10-Jul-13 06:54:18

I was bought up in real poverty, real grinding stuff as was my best friend at school. The difference was she had a Mum that made her feel nurtured and cared for whereas I didn't. She still has a great relationship with her Mum, I don't with mine.

I think to know a lifestyle and then lose it is probably the hardest type of adjustment to make.

I would never judge you for not having much.

Dilidali Wed 10-Jul-13 07:13:14

I used to be dirt poor. I prefer not to remember the details, but I was very very poor. And depressed. And thenI hit rock bottom. I couldn't get any lower. I wouldn't judge you, I was you. And when you get that low there is only one way:up.
Cheesy, but I went and retrained, learnt to save and look for opportunities, worked ( and still do) very very hard.
I am not rich now. I am just wiser and never take anything for granted. By comparison to what I used to have/be I am doing quite well for myself. But I know fortune changes. Hugs.

BratinghamPalace Wed 10-Jul-13 07:22:53

You must, must, must watch JK Rowling giving a commencement speach at Harvard in 2008. Get the children to watch it with you. She was you. She was where you are. She talks about the benefits of failure (I do not think of you as a failure but you do). Please watch it on you tube. It will give a little quiet buzz.

sydlexic Wed 10-Jul-13 07:24:34

I have been poor and I have been rich, I was judged for both just by different people. Sadly many people judge anyone who is different to them either in education, financial status, colour or religion. The ones that aren't are the ones you want to know.

greenbananas Wed 10-Jul-13 07:27:14

I re-read this thread and realised that it is not just the money... you are experiencing a kind of culture shock, having moved from a naice area into one with social problems (neighbours swearing at you, police outside your door etc.)

This is hard! It's so difficult not to judge your neighbours, and then of course they judge you for thinking you are better than them.

As others have said, there will be people on your estate that you want to be friends with - it's just a case of finding them.

thefuturesnotourstosee Wed 10-Jul-13 08:23:47

Please don't feel like this OP. Your true friends will not care where you live or what you have. This is a lovely thread for the most part full of inspiration and good ideas for enjoying yourself on very little.

I used to know an elderly lady. She lived in the sort of house most of us would envy - 8 bedrooms, huge and palatial throughout with lovely furniture. She was very unhappy though and i could never understand why as obviously I assumed she has plenty of everything.

Later I discovered her husband had been a Lloyds name. He'd lost everything but it had been agreed that they could stay in the house until she died then everything would revert to pay off his debts - furniture, jewellery, the house EVERYTHING. This woman lived off a basic state pension with no other income. Most of her "friends" had stopped talking to her but there were a few who still loved her and supported her and they were her real friends. She wanted to move and she couldnt she was stuck in this huge house she couldn't afford to heat.

Until I knew that lady I admit I did judge a bit by appearances but since then I never have and never will. Everyone has a story.

Filofax Wed 10-Jul-13 08:53:50

I would be really sad that someone would hold back from making friends with me or my children because they viewed we were better off financially. People will like you for who you are not what you have. That said I hope life becomes easier for you OP.

noisytoys Wed 10-Jul-13 09:47:38

Don't be ashamed of being poor. I know for a fact we are only 1 pay cheque from being destitute, as are many others. I wouldn't judge you, you seem lovely and kind.

bettycocker Wed 10-Jul-13 10:06:52

Sorry that you're feeling down OP. As you said, it just took a series of shitty events to end up in your current situation. Conversely, it could just take a series of positive events to get you out of your rut.

Do what you can to create these events and give yourself new options, whatever they may be.

Meanwhile, there are people who look down on people with less than them, but try not to care about them.

roslet Wed 10-Jul-13 10:07:16

I'm sorry to hear you've had a stressful time, but I think you are worrying far too much about what other people think and how this will impact on your children. Two of my children's friends live in houses worth a couple of million, and at least two live in studio flats where the lounge is also the bedroom for child and parent. These four families all seem happy to me. A trip to the park should be every bit as fun as having your own garden. If your flat is reasonably clean inside then why would your be embarrassed to have people over? Keep your chin up, refuse to feel embarrassed, stop thinking about what you had and concentrate on what you still have. I am sure all will feel better soon.

ovenbun Wed 10-Jul-13 10:56:33

a truth that may help a little..

IF YOU HAVE A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD (RENTED OR NOT) AND A CAR (HOWEVER OLD) YOU ARE IN THE RICHEST 5% OF THE WORLD.

I wouldn't look down on you for your circumstances, I would look up to you especially if you could make the best of things. There is a lot of fun to be had for free...especially in this amazing weather smile

Would you have looked down on people like yourself when you were in a better situation? If so thats something you have to come to terms with. Try to stop apologising for yourself...you're kind of saying 'this isn't really me honestly' good people will like you whatever your financial circumstance.

my grandad always used to say there are to ways, make the best of it, or feel the worst of it, you know which one will make you happy....it workd whichever situations youre in

ps i grew up 'poor' no telly, no car, second hand clothes, housing estate...very happy childhood smile xx

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 12:04:50

The posts about being richer than the global poor aren't really helpful. It is inequality, as well as poverty, that makes life so difficult for those at the sharp end.

OP are you in south Manchester? I have a little playmat and a couple of bits I was going to give to the children's centre. I could just as well give them to you. Actually you'd be doing me a favour, its taking up space and we have none.

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Wed 10-Jul-13 14:24:26

Thanks for all the replies and offers of stuff for the DC. I am in the South East (the main reason for the housing issue as we can't afford in excess of £1300 a month to private rent and can in no way save for a deposit for a mortgage). I really appreciate the offers but I can't accept. I hate the thought of people going to any trouble for me and find it very hard to accept help due to an abusive childhood which I have had therapy for (shelling out more £s).

The DCs are fine though and we cope. I have explained to the older ones the reasons our lifestyle has changed so dramatically, that we had some bad luck and lost all our money, and hopefully it will spur them on to work hard at school. DS1 has already told me that he's going to give me all his money when he makes his first million!

You know people saying there are other's worse off than me and you don't know what has happened in their lives, really frustrates me. I lost my father at a young age, had a shit upbringing (really emotionally abusive), was cast out by my stepfather and mother at 18, was raped, had a baby die at birth, then lost a business we had moved abroad to set up which was to be my dream and a new positive start. I had to have an abortion as well due to the financial meltdown we experienced and my fear that we could not provide for our existing DCs. Really deeply regretted now.

Surely I can feel sorry for myself for enduring all that and how I have now ended up? Too right I'm depressed. I would be abnormal if I was'nt!

I WAS a risktaker, a big one actually. Risks that would improve my family's standard of living though, not reckless. We had no idea DH would have a near fatal car crash just a few months after moving abroad so would not be able to work for almost 4 months, therefore losing the contracts he'd set up and that after that the house we had bought would not sell due to the housing crash.

I have nothing to lose now of course but it is difficult to find opportunities in my situation

I actually don't compare myself with people in Africa either. The vast majority of people in this country, do not consider themselves lucky to have clean water and a roof over their heads. Sorry if it's not something that gives me a thankful glow in my heart grin.

Ahh, we will be OK. The only way is UP, it's very hard getting through the days until the ascent starts though, I must say.

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Wed 10-Jul-13 14:38:11

I have scrubbed the flat from top to bottom today though so I have achieved something and it is presentable and fresh, albeit shabby!

JakeBullet Wed 10-Jul-13 14:56:12

I will read propeely through this thread later but I could have written your post three years ago OP. I know what you mean, it's hard to bring people to a flat which you have to reach via a smelly stairwell. I won't even go innto the drug dealing neighbour.

Alot of it though was about state of mind. Lime you I list everything and went from mortgage payer, good job etc to nothing. Massive mental breakdown to cap it all. The very last thing I wanted to do was bring any of my friends to thw fkat because I was ashamed of it. I felt it confirmed how far I had fallen and would be obvious to my friends and family.

In fact those that matter tend not to care. They see YOUand not rthe crappy flat. If its anything like the one I lived in then it was fabulous inside, really roomy and had a nice view. The exterior was horrible though.

It does sound like life has thrown a bucket load of shit at you right now. But the skills and resillience that you had to go to another country and work will serve you well in the future.

You may just need a bit of time to recover from the relentless pressure you have been under before you are ready to find your way forward again. Be kind to yourself.

Dahlen Wed 10-Jul-13 16:08:04

How long ago did all this happen? It sounds to me that you're still reeling from the succession of blows. And it's ok to feel shit after a run like that.

I've been poor. At one point so poor that I couldn't feed myself. Wearing 10 layers in the house and hiding under a duvet because I couldn't afford the heating. It sucks. Many people have had 'financial difficulties' in their lives, but unless you have experienced the relentless, energy-sapping and soul-destroying life of ongoing poverty, you really have no idea. Well-meaning people who tell you to be positive ("it will get better") or more proactive ("if you don't like your life change it" or "you can retrain and get a better paid job"), really add insult to injury, especially when you've just saved £200 to take that retraining course and then the car fails its MOT or the boiler packs up. Their words feel flippant and full of judgement - as if you were just more positive or worked harder it would all be alright and therefore it must all be your fault that you're in this mess. They might not mean that, but that's how it sounds.

I understand your pain OP.

I have come out the other side. I achieved it through bloody hard work and a lot of creative solutions to the obstacles presented to me. One of those was engaging the help of other single mothers to help out with childcare shortcomings, for example. Some of those single mothers came from - shock horror - council estates. IME those who have least give most. Those single mums were and are good people and TBH I would look down on anyone who looked down on them. You should only care for the opinions of others if they are worthy of it.

You're still suffering and not yet in a position to be able to change your life. Some people never are, oftentimes through no fault of their own (e.g. elderly parents to care for, a disabled child, etc). My heart bleeds for people like that. Life is most definitely not fair and there is no relationship between someone's 'worth' and their income. It's worth remembering that. You say you realise that what happened to you is a result of circumstance rather than personal failure, but do you really believe that in your gut? Sounds to me as though your subconscious has some way to catch up with your conscious mind. I rather think that you are struggling because you defined yourself by your lifestyle and now that's been taken away you are struggling. That's only natural but it's actually much more authentic to define yourself by character and personality and that's what carries you through the rough times.

Maybe when you've come to terms with your situation, and when the DC are a little older and you are less constrained, you will come up with some new plans to improve your life and you will rediscover your positivity, but if you want change, it is vital that you do. Have you ever noticed how people who are striving to overcome problems are often the same ones with the most positive outlook on life? Depression and negativity accompany acceptance of 'failure' and the absence of hope, which is where you ar now - without hope.

I hope that changes for you soon and you get a lucky break, but for now, take a look around where you live. You may well find that in among the drug-dealing scum and antisocial youths are many good and decent people who can relate to how you feel and are willing to help.

frissonpink Wed 10-Jul-13 16:13:26

My partner constantly struggles with this - whereas I tend to look at it as, most people/families are only a couple of months away from being broke like us!

Like you, just took a couple of events to turn our lives from being good, to being ugh.

Can't see a way out at the minute. We're still short of meeting our monthly bills each month. Seriously need a lottery win!

Only really gets to me when ppl ask why DD 8 months doesn't go to baby classes etc. Honestly? Because we can't afford them. We can't afford to cloth her - all her clothes come from a lovely friend free who has an older daughter. Ditto with her toys. In fact, nothing she owns has been bought new and/or full price. That's the bit that really gets me down. Would love to be able to walk into even just Next and buy her a lovely new outfit.

But you only live once and you have to be positive. Hopefully our luck will turn around, and so will yours. Keep smiling smile

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 16:31:09

It's really hard, living in a flat with no outdoor space and shitty neighbours. No wonder you feel depressed.

You need a plan. You need to be doing something which could make a difference in a few years and help you out if this. Have you investigated studying? New qualifications?

Have you thought about moving out of the south east?

HoneyStepMummy Wed 10-Jul-13 16:48:58

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. Nobody worth giving the time of day looks down on you. It sounds like you are having a really hard time with everything, especially where you are living.
First off, I think you sound like you might be depressed. Have you spoken to your GP?
Without trying to be patronizing you can look at the cup being half empty or half full, and you can tell yourself that so many have so much more, but some people have so much less...
There are many ways you have have free or cheap entertainment and stretch your money to make it go further. Have you looked at any of the threads in the Credit Crunch section?
Since it sounds like your new home is going to be your home for a while so try to make it as comfortable as possible. Paint is cheap or you could as around to see if any friends have some leftover. Jamjars filled with wild flowers or dried flowers are free. Learn how to sew and make pretty cushion covers from cheap fabric. Learn how to bake cheap and yummy goodies with the kids from scratch.
Do you work? Are there any courses you could take?
When I was really broke after divorce I always felt better when I looked nice. Blowdrying my hair really well and always having my nails done nicely (by myself of course!) didn't really cost anything but made the world of difference to how I felt.
If you don't like telling people where you live then don't. Just give them a vague or roundabout answer and leave it at that. Who cares about what other people think?

Foxtrot26 Wed 10-Jul-13 17:20:05

Tbh you need to realise you have the most important thing in the world

You have happy healthy children your house your possessions and your position on the social ladder are nothing.

But that said I'm in no position to preach

I recently convinced my wife to leave her job that she was deeply unhappy in and was making her depressed and return to being a sahm in the hope that this would make her a happier person. I now find myself having to work 100 hours a week trying to make ends meet all the while convincing my DW that everything is working out fine and that I thoroughly enjoy my work.

I made a rash call to try and improve our lot and its backfired in a big way were struggling financially and I can't even bring the subject up with her for fear of making her feel guilty about it.

Foxtrot26 Wed 10-Jul-13 17:25:04

Follow n to my previous post as I don't know how to edit it

I'm working my backside off ATM for what seems like no gain whatsoever.

No holidays house is like a building site as all the DIY is done myself as cash is tight and I have zero free time but you know something. I couldn't care less my SO and DC are happy and healthy and at the end of the day that is the most important thing n the world to me they might not have the latest and greatest gadgets or that foreign holiday to talk about but material things mean nothing

Concentrate on the important things like enjoying time with your kids it's the most important thing in the world and you need to realise that

SaylorMoon Wed 10-Jul-13 17:29:52

Poor, well done on doing a clean up. I always feel better when my shabby little house is fresh. I try to do one good thing a day for the house. Sometimes that is straightening out a neglected cupboard or just taking a duster to all the high spaces. I can't do anything about getting a bigger more posh accommodation at this time, but I can surround myself with good smells. I try to make sure our one loo is always sparkling. Nothing depresses me more then a dirty kitchen or loo.
I know these things are simplistic but they go always toward helping me feel like I have control over my environment.

DIYapprentice Wed 10-Jul-13 18:04:39

I'm sorry OP, it must be so hard. The sad fact is that most people socialise with those who are on similar income levels, simply because becoming friends means having shared experiences, and if you are spending money on those experiences and a friend isn't because they can't afford to, then the friendship doesn't develop.

Truly nice people will try to accommodate the fact that you don't have the money to spend, and be willing to do outings that are in your budget.

I know that I personally would be fine about taking it in turns with a friend to 'treat' each other to an outing. If you organised a trip to the park with the DC and prepared an inexpensive picnic (cause I'm generally too disorganised to prepare a picnic lunch!), then I would be more than happy to organise and buy tickets for another outing that was within my budget (not rich, but not too badly off). But sadly I've had friends that aren't comfortable with that, and so we spend less and less time together.

Retrofairy Wed 10-Jul-13 18:19:20

Even before your most recent post OP I was feeling angry on your behalf about all the starving children in Africa/look on the bright side/pull yourself together type comments.

Its relative deprivation isn't it? - you make comparisons with what you see around you, not what you hear is happening on the other side of the world. Psychologically its very hard on you - to have taken a backwards step, and also to see first hand examples of people with much greater wealth. Its bound to get you down.

Unfortunately there are people who will judge you on where you live and how much money you have - I've seen it happen and its unpleasant but true. I think there will always be people who think you are in some way to blame for your situation - that if you just did x, y, z you could fix it (there's a bit of it on this thread to be honest)

I don't know what practical advice to give OP, apart from to say your feelings are completely normal and rational. You are clearly trying to do the absolute best you can for your children in difficult circumstances and I applaud you for not sinking in to apathy. My feeling is that someone who has coped with as much as you have will come through this. flowers

nkf Wed 10-Jul-13 18:32:11

I am so sorry to hear what you have been through. I hope things start to look up.

JaquelineHyde Wed 10-Jul-13 18:34:09

Why do you think everyone is looking down on you and judging you?

Is that something you used to do when things were better for you? I only ask because you seem very paranoid about this and you usually find that the most paranoid people are only paranoid because they don't want to be treated the way they have previously treated others.

Also, this '(and having had it, then losing it is harder than never having it at all, really).' is the biggest pile of shite I have ever read. How can you possibly know this? Competitive misery stinks.

Chunderella Wed 10-Jul-13 18:34:37

Good that you've cleaned the place. I'm a keep things ticking over rather than show home person, but everything always feels better in a clean house. Nothing worse than sitting there feeling defeated by the mess. Especially in a small place.

I second the suggestion to look at moving out of the south east. Would you be willing to consider that? Get yourself on homeswapper website asap. If you're in the south east, especially anywhere near London, there may well be people who'd swap with you.

ubik Wed 10-Jul-13 18:47:57

I do think people are being rather unkind. DP and I have been utterly skint at times and it really affects your mental health. It's so easy to feel negative and anxious when there's nowhere left to go.

Cyclebump Wed 10-Jul-13 18:53:04

I could have written this post too OP. We are in a huge financial bind at the moment and it's is all-consuming and stressful.

You and I have nothing to be ashamed of and we don't need to justify ourselves, no one should have to.

It's ok to get down sometimes, I know I do. I try and plan something to get myself happier. I cycle and a long bike ride always helps (and it's free). Xx

trackies Wed 10-Jul-13 19:01:56

OP, i live in a very affluent area. We are doing ok (have house etc) but alot of people around here have nannys/mansions/new cars/expensive holidays etc. and live like kings. There are a few who don't. No i wouldn't look down on you at all. Anyone with a shred of decency wouldn't look down on you for it. Your home does not reflect what's on the inside, and that's what counts. Anyone who judges you for it, isn't worth knowing.

IfIonlyhadsomesleep Wed 10-Jul-13 19:13:44

I absolutely wouldn't look down on you but I might appear a bit crap and awkward through being embarrassed about what I have in comparison. I am ashamed to admit that I'm like that with a couple of mums at school. Not sure how to break the ice so I think I appeared frosty to start with. Truth is, I feel very uncomfortable with have it alls who don't know it and fear being like that.

PoppyFleur Wed 10-Jul-13 19:52:44

My childhood was very poor but my parents gave my sister & I a fantastic childhood, they were loving & nurturing. They worked exceptionally hard & things improved but my sister and I remember having no food in the house until dad came home with his weekly pay. The hard times spurred us on, we did well academically & got good jobs but poverty never really leaves you. I work hard, I save furiously, I constantly budget. I'm not sure my husband understands my need to have a financial cushion but if you haven't really experienced hunger or seen your parents cry in despair, I'm not sure it's possible to understand.

OP your immense strength of character, your loving caring attitude towards your children will give them so much more than any material item. Life can be very tough & you have already endured so much but you are still fighting on. If you were a member of my family I would tell you what a great job you are doing and how proud I was of you.

marriedinwhiteagain Wed 10-Jul-13 20:37:33

Wouldn't, as I have said look down on you for what you don't have and where you are OP but I would find your attitude a bit wearing.

Smile and the world smiles with you.

Poppyfleur my DH's parents were ppor as children. As adults they were a deputy head and chief engineer. DH and his sisters were hungry as children because mil put the money in the bank rather than on the table. When MIL's mum died she couldn't see her dad before the funeral because she couldn't afford the full fare from yorkshire to London. When FIL died we found out they had over a million in tjhe bank. Now that is a sad and miserable existence.

Northing wrong with hitting hard times and juggling everything wrong woth never forgtting and being utteerly dysfunctionallu mean.

WouldBeHarrietVane Wed 10-Jul-13 20:41:47

Op bet the place feels much nicer now it is clean. Please accept any help offered here that would be useful to you. If you would like someone else to accept were you in a position to help them, then please accept help yourself now. You can return the favour when your DS gives you that £1 million smile

BeaLola Wed 10-Jul-13 21:37:45

OP and the other posters above who are in similar positions thanks for you and hoping things get better.

My Dad always says money cannot buy you health and love and OP anyone worth anything in terms of genuineness would not look down on you. Your DC are sooooo lucky to have parents who love them and nurture them. My parents couldn't afford much as we grew up and yes at certain times during my school days I resented the fact that we had no tv, hand me downs, no holidays etc etc unlike my school friends who seemed to have it all - but do you know people envied me - I met by chance many years later the popular girl from the big house who had the latest clothes gadgets etc and she confessed that she wished her parents had come to school concerts like mine did, that her dad had played games in the park with her like mine had and wished her childhood had been happy but it wasnt - i was really taken aback.
Your son may just get that million , what a lovely thing for him to say and He meant it - I hope you get some good luck soon., and don't beat yourself up for wallowing - wallow and then just look at your DC and feel. Very proud of yourself

JakeBullet Thu 11-Jul-13 09:09:53

"Smile and the world smiles with you" is good advice....but it is hard to smile and be carefree when you are worn down or feeling low. I know as I have been there too.

All I can say is that as I got better so did my ability to smile, hope it soon comes back for you as well OP. xx

pianodoodle Thu 11-Jul-13 11:04:15

I think finding good friends really helps.

If we go for a picnic there's usually 4 of us with the children as well. 2 women routinely buy all their food from the cafe at lunchtime and spend a small fortune. Me and the other girl get out our flasks and cool bags. Rather than being looked down on we're seen as the "organised" ones of the bunch smile

They know very well it's because we can't afford to buy food out but no one makes a thing of it.

They suggest days out that they know won't put either of us in an embarrassing position money wise, and we all have a good time.

I've been invited a few times for lunch and drinks after toddler group by some of the girls. They seem to do it every week. I just say I have to get back for whatever reason but I do sometimes wonder if they think I'm rude.

Trouble is (well, not trouble really) we got really lucky and are renting a house in a lovely area due to being friendly with landlord etc... For a good price. Because of that these women probably assume I have money! I sometimes wonder if the neighbours see me trooping home with poundland bags and wonder what the deal is ;)

We picked having a lovely place for DD with a nice big garden over having money to spend on "stuff" but I'm happier for it.

Bumblequeen Thu 11-Jul-13 12:19:48

So sorry to hear this op. As others have suggested, find your local Sure Start Centre. They put on a lot of free activities. Also try your local church.

It is hard to be optimistic when things around you look bleak ie dodgy neighbours, yobs hanging around your street.

Fwiw I have never lived in a posh area. Grew up on a council estate - not at all rough. I loved my childhood despite periods of poverty. Mum constantly borrowed money from people, had to eat at neighbours home before pay day, standing in the post office queue every Monday for child benefit and being late for school, had very few clothes in sec school. It leaves something with you.

I now hate not having access to money and will be frugal to ensure we can put money aside each month.

Now live in a mortgaged home in an undesirable part of the South East according to Internet. I pass tree lined roads in nicer areas and think one day.........

Life brings knocks, some we feel we will never recover from but we do.

cuteboots Thu 11-Jul-13 12:43:49

anyone who looks down on you isnt worth knowing anyway . If life throws you lemons make lemonade thats my motto. I hope you are ok and things get better for you XXXX

SoleSource Thu 11-Jul-13 12:48:33

YABU if you think you need to give the time of day to cunts that look down on you. You do not have to and should not EVER.

I feel you are going to turn your life around.

Keep a diary, you might regret it if you do not. You know for that book I feel you will write.

marzipanned Thu 11-Jul-13 12:55:37

OP I'm really sorry about everything you've been through. Yes - you'd be abnormal not to be depressed, but I think less because of your present circumstances and more because of your past history. Are you the kind of person who would benefit from counselling? I only ask because you've been through a world of shit and maybe you've internalised it all and not worked through it?

I had a tough childhood - not a patch on yours I'd say, but tough - and I didn't really get over it til I was in my 20s and with DH, because he forced me to talk and work through it all. My brother is in his 30s and still having all sorts of trouble in (an, to outwards appearances, 'good') life because he hasn't really emotionally dealt with what happened.

Yes to those suggesting you get out of the SE if it's at all feasible - you'd be amazed at what your £1300 pm can get you in other parts of the country.

onchanging Thu 11-Jul-13 12:56:40

I used to live in a council flat too and I used to get really down when I'd pass through the green leafy areas. Day to day life wasn't so bad, our estate was inner city but had lots of hard-working families of all nationalities, and our Tenant Management Organisation ensured that anti-social behaviour and communal areas were kept clean. It's worth getting together with other residents to see if you can help set up a TMO if there isn't already one, it meant our estate was a pleasant, safe place to live and we had control over what happened there, not the council. We even had a good communal play space so DS didn't suffer too much from not having a garden.

It is worth making sure that you're getting everything you're entitled to, because nobody should be in such poverty that they have clothes and furniture falling apart. When I was on benefits I had a really poor quality of life until I started looking into things like grants for uniform/clothes, schemes to get refurbished furniture/appliances, concessionary rates for DS's classes and my own gym classes - even holidays for single parents and low cost computers were available. I got referrals from my GP and through my DS's school, and used forums like MSE to find out what was out there. I think that once I became savvy to all the different schemes, my quality of life really wasn't that much worse than any other family.

You should be able to get therapy on the NHS, I have had about two years of psychotherapy for free and there is a commitment to offer more talking therapies so there should be something in your area. You may have to be quite persistent and not play down your situation though.

And don't believe that you'll always be stuck in this position. I was a single mum for years and never imagined that my life would change, that I'd meet someone who'd want to take on someone like me, with lots of health issues and DS with SN problems too. But we're now living in a mortgage-free house in a really lovely part of the country, and I'm retraining for a new career. Life has its ups and downs, and you never know when those ups are going to come.

adeucalione Thu 11-Jul-13 13:01:36

I don't suppose you looked down on poor people when you were rich did you OP? So what on earth makes you think that other people are looking down on you now? Most people make judgements and friendships based on shared values, not material possessions. I do think I would raise an eyebrow if you started justifying your situation at our first meeting though, as it could sound a bit chip-on-shoulder. I hope things pick up for you soon.

xuntitledx Thu 11-Jul-13 13:41:04

YANBU at feeling down in your current situation however YABU by convincing yourself that it'll never get better and you'll never achieve more.

Why do you think that? Why are you limiting yourself?

I've come from nothing and have worked hard to have something - we're certainly not flush but we're comfortable and we're not struggling to find the money for the next meal, for that we feel very fortunate but it hasn't been handed to us.

frissonpink Thu 11-Jul-13 13:57:07

You would get something gorgeous for £1300 a month here! (north west)

but

Then i'm guessing you wouldn't because you wouldn't be entitled to it if that makes sense. Do you get not get help towards your rent?

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Thu 11-Jul-13 14:04:54

My inferiority complex has probably been a product of my childhood. I was made to feel like something was wrong with me from an early age. I was just like my alcoholic, abusive father and his inbred family apparently hmm.

I think the fact that I was able to create the illusion that I had decent standard of living up until I was 35 (now 41) and I was doing 'OK' meant that was able to get past that but now it's all gone, there is no buffer left. I have been stripped raw and have nothing to hide behind anymore. I have had therapy but probably need more!

I don't think I looked down on people in my situation before. It had'nt touched me so it was'nt something I thought about much. My mother and stepfather definitely look down on people claiming benefits, taking 'their' taxpayers money. I had the lecture about claiming tax credits. I never even told them that we were being made homeless. Their mindset is 'you made you bed, now lay in it', 'god never pays his debts in money', 'you made your choice, you pay for it' etc so that had obviously rubbed off.

Rather than risk people judge me and my home, I have isolated myself which has not helped as I have no one to share my worries with, then on here. DCs seem happy enough which is the main thing. I do all I can for them. I am aware that I am very lucky to have my children and they are the sole reason I am still here I can tell you. Although one has SN and it has been a struggle to cope with him.

I have made plans to go to Uni in September as I cannot find a job doing anything and need some more qualifications as even £15K jobs in my area are demanding a degree hmm. I am desperate to change my daily routine and get out there and do something. No sure 2 days a week will be enough though as I will have 3 other days to fill and they are endless.

Writing a book is something I often think about Sole. Not just about the shit that has happened to me but the effect on my mental health. I hate to think of other people going through the nightmare that is panic attacks and extreme anxiety that I have been through and have been unable to tell anyone about due to embarrassment apart from on an anonymous forum like this.

PoorLittleNotRichGirl Thu 11-Jul-13 14:07:28

Sorry, I'm a crap speller as well it seems!

Reastie Thu 11-Jul-13 14:25:38

OP I wouldn't look down on you at all and those who would are not worth knowing. DC I don't think really see or notice things like whether their friends have all mod cons or not (thinking back to my childhood I was friends with people in huge extravagant houses and smaller more 'basic' homes and I didn't care.

I know you've said no to offers of help, but FWIW I live in the SE too, what ages are your DC/what clothes/shoe size are you? (please pm me if you like). I have a big pile of stuff that is too big for me (I've lost alot of weight recently) and too small for DD I don't know what to do with. If it will be useful to you you're very welcome to it, if you don't live too far away I can drop it over to you. I didn't mean that as a charity gesture to make you feel bad, just trying to help as you said your clothes are well washed, please don't be offended blush

adeucalione Thu 11-Jul-13 19:57:33

There must be other nice people in your neighbourhood OP, people just like you. Is there any way of getting out and meeting them?

The degree sounds like a fab idea, but your days would seem less endless if you could chat with a friend or go to the park with a group of mums. I don't think you need to feel ashamed of your circumstances at all, but if you are isolating yourself because of that reason then get to know the people who live near you, they won't be judging your home will they?

Dackyduddles Thu 11-Jul-13 20:06:05

Thing is op I believe more of us feel like you than not. Why would credit card firms and debt be so popular? We are all to a greater or lesser degree living beyond means. The only ones I know who don't are my parents generation. Cars are bought on finance. Carpets too! Tv's, it's all buy now pay later. It deludes most into believing they afford something which actually they don't have. It's facade. But one I think lots of people don't even realise they have built up as its normal now.

Does any of that make sense? I'm ashamed often as I don't nearly look at finances enough. Always something better to do. We are all just swans paddling furiously smile

Reastie Thu 11-Jul-13 21:10:28

OP further to adeus comment - I'm nice ( grin ) and I'm in SE (I'm in West Kent), I'm happy to meet up if you fancy it god I sound like a right stalker don't I . Anyway, offer is there.

looseleaf Thu 11-Jul-13 21:41:48

I haven't read the whole thread but don't shut yourself off. There's a particularly nice girl in DD's class whose mum won't let her come to play (despite our assurances our flat is tiny; it is) as she says she's too embarrassed about where they live. This girl (6) feels left out as always just seems to go home and has now stopped asking me if she can come over. I respect and value them greatly, they are a most respectable family but won't let anyone close for feeling inferior and I think that's such a loss to them and us as it's otherwise a very diverse and well-knit class. And I can tell we mutually like each other. Most of our friends have far more than us but I never think like that (until this thread) as we're friends

Notcontent Thu 11-Jul-13 22:16:18

It is all about how we compare ourselves to others and our expectations.
I am guilty of this. I live in a nice area but have a pretty crappy house (London prices). It's a mixed area, with lots of people who are much worse off then me, but also people who are much better off.
Of course I compare myself with the people who are of a similar background to me, with similar jobs. But I am a lone parent so much worse off - and i torture myself myself with thoughts of how I too should have a huge fabulous house, etc. I know it's not healthy.

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