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My mum thinks I'm middle class even though I survive on benefits

(90 Posts)
Aibuorwhat Wed 28-Oct-20 11:15:53

I'm 29, a single mum with 2 small children by 2 fathers. I have never been married. I am currently on Universal Credit, although will be starting university next year. My dad runs a successful furniture business and my mum is an ex beautician. She was privately educated and comes from quite a well off background but has always relied on men for money. She is also a massive snob. I feel like she is somewhat ashamed of me and my life and earlier told me that I am middle class, despite being on benefits and living in a council flat in not the best part of town. Apparently, you are what class you "feel you are". hmm I do not care what class I am, all I care about is raising my children to the best of my abilities and improving our situation. AIBU to think that my mother is wrong, and I am certainly not middle class?

I wish she didn't care about this shit.

OP’s posts: |
LouiseTrees Wed 28-Oct-20 11:18:11

If she and he gave you enough money to live mortgage and rent free then you’d be middle class but no I agree with you. She should focus on helping you not being classist.

ZaraW Wed 28-Oct-20 11:25:19

I'd ignore her. I can honestly say I've never had a discussion about class to family or friends it just never happens. The class system is shit and unfortunately too many people, especially on MN are obsessed by it.

Blueberries0112 Wed 28-Oct-20 11:27:24

I can see why she thinks so, you came from a parent with a successful business. My parents are in a lower class . When one of us was in trouble , none of us could turn to our parents for help. No inheritance either when they passed away either. But when I look at my husband and his parents, they are middle class, maybe more like upper middle class. When my husband was in trouble , they were happy to give him a ton of money and even brought him a car. They also paid for his child private school too. But he was not middle class at the time.

mindutopia Wed 28-Oct-20 11:34:22

Social class is much more about what you come from and who is in your social circle than how much money you have now. I know several friends who I would very much consider middle class - professional parents, professional jobs (teachers, nurses), very 'middle class' interests and hobbies, European holidays every year - who live in council housing and are on UC.

Dh and I definitely didn't have much money at periods in our lives. We weren't on benefits, but that's because we didn't qualify due to my immigration status, not because we had too much money. But we both come from families with parents who, despite not having much education, had well paying professional jobs, we went to private school, we have very middle class friends, hobbies and interests that most people would consider middle class, etc. We are definitely solidly middle class.

mindutopia Wed 28-Oct-20 11:34:55

But all that said, I don't know why it's a big deal to her and it sounds like a bit of a hang up, even if she is technically probably correct.

OwlOne Wed 28-Oct-20 11:37:57

I had children without being married and that didn't affect my ''class''.

Maybe theirs? (In society's eyes).

Not sure. Now that we're all older and it's all behind us (the benefit days) the fact that I wasn't married when I had them seems less and less important. It did feel important at the time. I felt like trash. Society does that to a single mother.

raspberryk Wed 28-Oct-20 11:39:09

It’s not about your current situation it’s about where you come from. Someone from working classes who wins the lottery isn’t suddenly middle or upper class because of the money, they’re still working class.

TitianaTitsling Wed 28-Oct-20 11:46:22

If you don't care what class you are from, why does it bother you what she thinks? You say she has always relied on men for money. is this because you see your dad as the successful earner so it's his money she's relied on and they are not a partnership?

TurkMama Wed 28-Oct-20 11:46:39

I don't think you are MC. Beautician isn't a middle class job nor is being a self employed business owner.
I think you are working class, which is just fine.
To me being MC means certain white colour/academic jobs, higher education, not on benefits or in social housing, home owners, well spoken, have some classic,art and posh sports interests, knowledge and education.
Your circumstances describe a working class person far more than an MC one and even your background doesn't sound that MC.

Aibuorwhat Wed 28-Oct-20 11:49:43

TurkMama

I don't think you are MC. Beautician isn't a middle class job nor is being a self employed business owner.
I think you are working class, which is just fine.
To me being MC means certain white colour/academic jobs, higher education, not on benefits or in social housing, home owners, well spoken, have some classic,art and posh sports interests, knowledge and education.
Your circumstances describe a working class person far more than an MC one and even your background doesn't sound that MC.

This is exactly what I think too.

OP’s posts: |
TwentyViginti Wed 28-Oct-20 11:49:56

raspberryk

It’s not about your current situation it’s about where you come from. Someone from working classes who wins the lottery isn’t suddenly middle or upper class because of the money, they’re still working class.

People living solely on benefits are widely regarded as the underclass by all other classes. A view encouraged by the government..

CecilyP Wed 28-Oct-20 11:52:21

I honestly don't think single mums really fit into the old-fashioned idea of the class system. If you have small children and unable to work so supported by the state for a time, you could be any social class. I think you would be pretty much the same class as you were before the children or what you will be again when they are independent.

flaviaritt Wed 28-Oct-20 11:54:31

Class has nothing whatsoever to do with whether you’re a single mum, employed, in benefits or whatever. It’s about family background.

Nottherealslimshady Wed 28-Oct-20 11:58:11

I dont think you are. I also dont think your parents are middle class. Sound like your mums parents might have been. My familys been working class as far back as you can go. I'm quite proud of that.
I'm also not sure being on universal credit classifies as working class, as you're not actually working.
Nonetheless, it's really an arbitrary system set up by the upper and middle classes to remind those below that they are better and more important and more powerful.

RaspberryCoulis Wed 28-Oct-20 11:59:44

Apparently, you are what class you "feel you are"

Well if you buy into the idea that you the sex you feel you are, then it's not too much of a reach to say you can self-identify as whichever class you feel you are too.

ComtesseDeSpair Wed 28-Oct-20 12:00:06

I think class is meaningless and nowadays, almost entirely made up, with so many people trying to shoehorn themselves into vague brackets based on such bizarre things as how many books they own, whether or not they appreciate museums and classical music and whether they’d buy their furniture from DFS. Is it really something you even need to argue about? Just smile and nod and continue living however you want to.

IAintentDead Wed 28-Oct-20 12:11:17

It's not that long ago that your class was determined by what your father or husband did for a job. Even if you had a top degree and were earning shedloads of money. You would be working class if your husband had 'working class' job. If you were married to someone 'upper class' even and lived in a million pound house. If you got divorced your 'class' status reverted to that of your father.

It's mad - I would say you are more reasonable to be worried that class matters to your mum rather than what class she decides you are which is totally irrelevant. (As is class)

Elsiebear90 Wed 28-Oct-20 12:12:40

I don’t think you stay whatever class you were born into regardless of your circumstances, people move between classes, especially between generations. It’s not as simple as “I was born middle class so I am always middle class” or “I was born working class so am always working class”. My cousin was born very working class, grew up in a council house, she’s a pharmacist, her husband has a senior government job and they live in a very exclusive area of a pricey suburb, they have a very solidly middle class life, I don’t think anyone would consider them anything other than middle class.

I’ve had some patients who grew up privileged yet have been disowned by their parents and are drug users/alcoholics, chronically unemployed, have criminal records, sofa surf etc., I don’t think anyone would say they’re still middle/upper class.

ZolaGrey Wed 28-Oct-20 12:29:53

I come from a middle class background and would consider myself to be middle class if pushed into a corner.

On the surface I live alone with my 10 yr old daughter (long distance partner) and live on tax credit and student loans. I think the only thing that keeps me in a sort of middle class bubble is that the house I live in is owned by my parents and I don't pay to live here, while I am at uni (PhD having just done a BA and a year of masters study) I'm essentially subsidised by family wealth. I know that this makes me extremely lucky.

Class is a difficult thing because, especially now, class mobility is much more possible.

The crux of it is that it doesn't matter, very few people care about class nowadays and the ones who do are generally dickheads. Ignore your mum, she's sitting in the dickhead/snob category and if you're happy, you're happy.

Branleuse Wed 28-Oct-20 12:34:18

its why the class system is such bullshit because there is just so much overlap that for the majority of ordinary people its just meaningless

MaudHatter Wed 28-Oct-20 12:35:09

If your mum wants a label then she’s working class.

StayCloseSpooky Wed 28-Oct-20 12:36:29

I am working class. Our household income is over £100k. Both DH and I are in senior positions in work and both educated to masters level. But we are both from northern mining communities. 'Class' is so much more than what you do for a job although in this case I would say your mum is projecting her own identity onto you. The class system isn't what it was 50 years ago, it's about how you identify I suppose. Ignore her. She sound a bit Mrs bucket.

Wyntersdiary Wed 28-Oct-20 12:37:08

I would say working class not middle class.

Middle class is professional and business people and their families.
but i wouldnt say a beautician is middle class, i would say thats a normal working class job.

MakingShapes Wed 28-Oct-20 12:42:57

My mum always said "class isn't about money, it's about class". Very frequently I get dismissed by people who say things like "well, you would think that because you went to a private school" or "you're only saying that because you've never been poor". They just entirely from my appearance/accent/mannerisms that those things are true. I went to a state comprehensive school, from a single-parent, low-income household and neither parent even has A Levels. I look white but I'm mixed race. Both parents were alcoholic and my brother was a drug addict from a very young age. I'm constantly dismissed because people think I'm too privileged to be entitled to an opinion...
Why does it matter to you what class other people think you are? I can understand why someone who grew up in your circumstances would be considered middle class. You're also going to go to university and are presumably seeking a highly skilled career yourself - that's pretty middle class too... I don't think you can argue that having children out of wedlock or temporarily claiming benefits negates those things to be honest.

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