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To think if you can volunteer you can work?

(82 Posts)
BoyMeetsWorld Fri 19-Jul-13 22:35:59

Now I may get flamed for this, not sure, but I'm not saying it as a personal dig against ALL people on benefits - obv every persons' situation is different.

But my DM is on a full wack of benefits for disability. Her disability is based on being scared of public situations (lots of people) & that she can't handle stress. So she doesn't work & she gets circa £28k per year.

Recently DM relocated closer to us because we are seriously struggling with childcare costs with baby 2 on the way (who isn't!) obv that's our problem, not hers, and we were exceptionally grateful for any childcare help - but as she literally does NOTHING else with her life (gets up at 10am most days, goes back to bed 3pm, plays on the computer all day) it didn't seem too unreasonable.

Fast forward few months & she was claiming she didn't want to get up in mornings to do any school runs. Fair enough though annoying - again, not her problem. Then she announced the stress of doing ANY childcare for us had given her a nervous breakdown. Cue days of slurred speech, acting oddly, lots of guilt tripping. We found a fulltime childminder - all pressure removed. 95% of our salary gone on house & childcare but, again, that's the same for hundreds of couples.

Found out today that she is volunteering 2 days per week at a very busy local animal sanctuary / tourist attraction. A)how can she claim benefits as cant be around people, then work somewhere with hundreds of tourists per day? B)how can she claim benefits for being unable to work as it causes too much stress, but is fine to spend 2 days volunteering? (she has no plans to ever work again btw)? So she lives 5 mins away from us but can't help us with any childcare yet is happy to help the animals.

Whole thing boggles my brain AIBU?

Nottalotta Sat 20-Jul-13 13:32:04

I don't think yabu - its more the specific circumstances of the volunteer role that's the issue isn't it?

hermioneweasley Sat 20-Jul-13 13:35:39

From what you have said she sounds lazy rather than ill, and therefore YANBU

gnittinggnome Sat 20-Jul-13 13:39:18

So essentially you wanted to have a rant that your mother won't help you with the childcare, and have wrapped it up in a host of other issues that also irritate you about your mother.

Other posters have said it far more eloquently than me, but I do think YABU.

Btw, if she were working full time, would you still expect her to help you out with childcare?

BoyMeetsWorld Sat 20-Jul-13 13:58:43

If she were working fulltime how would she possibly be able to help out? She'd be in the same situation time wise as us! And 'expectation' doesn't necessarily come into it as I've explained. It's her that's repeatedly messed us about by wanting to then not wanting to help with it - not to mention all the other people she's messed about along the way.

The childcare is secondary to the issue that I can't understand why she's not capable to be around people or cope with any kind of job (even proof reading from home or doing a quiet back office role) but can spend days in quite a physical role packed with tourists. And, again, that's not to say all people who cannot work must automatically not be able to volunteer either. But in this instance I just don't get it.

Letitsnow9 Sat 20-Jul-13 13:59:59

Yabu, maybe the animals help keep her calm and maybe volunteering will lead to a job. It's better she volunteers doing what she can and when she can than sitting around at home. She's 'giving back'

filee777 Sat 20-Jul-13 14:16:32

Mental health issues are not linear, she could be fine for a few weeks and then need a long break, when you are volunteering this is much easier than when you have been paid and suddenly find yourself with no money and no support while having a break down.

MrsMook Sat 20-Jul-13 14:17:32

My grandmother volunteers at a support centre. She's had her knee replaced in the last year. Being a volunteer, the centre is more flexible about what people can do and when than most employers. At 75 I wouldn't expect her to do a similar paid role- for a start, with the amount of hours she does in that level of role, the pay would be very little. She is also not obliged to do anything extra that she can't cope with that you would be for an employer.

When she was 60 she looked after my brother full time 5 days a week and found it draining. If I did live a convenient distance away, I would have no expectation of her caring for my children as it is more than is reasonable to cope with.

I volunteer- being a Guide leader is compatible with full time caring for two young children. Work isn't at this point in time. I can take my DCs with me, but couldn't to work.

There is a lot of overlap of paid and voluntary work, but there are circumstances where practical reasons mean you can volunteer, but not be able to work.

To say you will do something and then let someone down is unreasonable. (re Childcare)

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