A recent shared Facebook post on the planned Medicare co-payment of $7 has produced one of the strongest responses ever for Single Mums and Single Dads. Clearly, many of us worry about the upcoming budget.
The majority of single parents do it very tough financially.
The proposed budget looks like it will even further restrict funds available. These decisions, which reduce the minimal amount of finance available to single parents, have a negative effect on nutrition, health, and emotional and social well being for the whole family.
Many single parents already report struggling to pay for groceries, rent and transport. Unsurprisingly, the financial stress affects parents’ mental health. We all lose sleep over how we are going to pay the electricity bill.
Let’s face it, we won’t be able to change the budget that is eventually handed down…
So what can you do?
It’s becoming more important than ever to build yourself a strong social network so you have lots of extra support when you need it. It will help to boost your resilience.
- Join parent groups, single or not: they are everywhere if you look; your local library, Meetups, sports clubs, craft and hobby groups.
- Do your own thing: if the network you need does not exist… Build it! Facebook is a great way of making these connections. On the Sunshine Coast there is now a social group of over 250 women who meet socially, do activities together and help each other, all started via a Facebook group. We swap second hand clothes, meet for the odd drink or movie and create new friendships.
- Swap: Use these networks to exchange help and services: you could take turns looking after the kids after school, swapping babysitting. A website such as Share Shop (www.shareshop.com.au) offers you the opportunity to swap your skills with others, and it costs nothing to join.
- Network: informal networking is also the best way to hear about any job opportunities, much more productive than looking on Seek.
- Budget: budgeting is a major skill, and most of us have to rob Peter to pay Paul. If you can, I would suggest investing in a budgeting program such as Simply Budgets (http://www.simplybudgets.com.au). I have used it for the last 7 years and it has made me realise how much I am tempted to spend on little things I don’t absolutely have to have, although I really, really want it!
It’s not easy, but with help from friends, other parents and school, you can make it better, for yourself and the kids. The kindness of friends has brought me to tears, like when I had appendicitis and my best friend just took over. And I have found strengths I did not know I had!
The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising up every time we fall.