In a previous life, as a good corporate tax payer I sneered at those "dole bludgers" and "single mums" who just "wouldn't get a job" and expected the government to provide for them.
Then shit happened. I am now one of "those" single mums and rely on my government benefits to get me through each fortnight.
Yes, I feel entitled. I didn't choose the life I'm living. I chose a different life and I am finding it hard to let that go. I chose a comfy and cozy middle class life with a well paid husband, a nice house in the suburbs, regular holidays and time at home to raise my children.
When my financial dire straights first became apparent, I scrambled to get a job, even though I loathed the idea of going back to the rat race. I even got a job I enjoyed and was able to buy our own little unit, or rather, a mortgage.
By the time I was in a different job, nowhere near as nice as the previous one, I got sick of owning a mortgage and being owned by my employer. So I quit. I sold our unit and chose to live off the profits and government benefits.
I always intended, and still intend, to become financially self-sufficient. I expected to either find another "job" or earn enough from self-employment. It has taken longer than I expected and my savings are dwindling. I am beginning to panic. With that panic comes an increasing sense of reliance on my benefits and annoyance at the hoops I have jump in order to keep getting it.
I didn't choose to be a sole parent and I believe that our welfare system is there for the people whose lives have been thrown into disarray by circumstances beyond their control. The system is there to help them get back on their feet. Unfortunately, the system can do little for me in terms of finding work, but it can help me set up my business and partially support me while I build it up.
There are some that see welfare as a lifestyle choice and go through the motions of jumping through the hoops without any real desire to change. That is not me. I resent the hoops because I didn't choose to be here. I have full intention of being self-sufficient, but I resent the fact that I have to do it all by myself. That was not in the plan. I cling to that plan, to the promises made and to my lost expectations.
I didn't choose to be a sole parent, but I did make the choices that have led me to be here. I need to let go of the past, of the resentment, of the plan. I thought I had, but obviously not. To be honest, I feel at a loss as to what else I can do to help me let go. Nobody seems to have the answers.
Do you think we should feel entitled to welfare?
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