Here a few things you need to know about me, you know, beyond the More About Us post I wrote not long ago.
I write a lot. I work hard. I don’t have any money. My wife works even harder than I do but doesn’t make any more money. I’ve never really had much money – when my parents divorced, my mum had to work three jobs to support us. We didn’t have much money to spare. The dinner table got woodworm but we could never replace it. I didn’t eat a meal at a table at home until we moved to Wales. Things were better there but there still wasn’t money to spare.
It didn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter.
For me, I grew up in two different worlds almost – when I was with my mum I was happy but skint. I had free meals at school and had to save every last penny to buy anything and still had to steal money from the penny jar if I wanted to buy some sweets. I got a fifty pence extra off my mum for lunch at school sometimes and a couple of quid pocket money. I was happy in mostly good health (except for the fact I caught measles, rubella and whooping cough once cause I’m not vaccinated but that’s another post). I was well-fed. Clean. My mum spent time with me and took me places. I did my homework and read books and okay, I wasn’t always happy, because depression knows no boundaries, but before that kicked in I was good.
With my dad, things were different. I had money. I had money and no care. My dad drank and spent most days in the pub from around one in the afternoon to anywhere between seven and midnight. Depending. On Thursday he did the banking first. Sometimes he went to a working man’s club. My dad gave me a tenner a week, that I put in the bank, my dad paid for me to go swimming and the cinema and I can still get him to buy me most things. He has a saying, “I can’t only give two answers, yes or no.” If it came to money, and he’d had the right amount of alcohol, the answer was usually yes. The wrong amount of alcohol and the answer was no, buried deep inside a slightly threatening guilt-laden lecture.
I had videos, and fifty pound Nike trainers and money for sweets.
I ate poorly. My nan made us dinner but it was mostly tinned potatoes, frozen pizza. We drank coca-cola by the bucketful every day, more if we went to the pub with dad (and we often did). I stopped showering there sometime in my teens and washing my hair. Both my sister and I returned home to my mother filthy, full of sugar, lacking vitamins, and usually with nits and rashes (we never took our meds or used our eczema cream) and colds.
I had money for sweets but ate those sweets sitting in a smokey pub watching my dad drink with a bunch of other kids, watching their dads drink. The working man’s club was better, less smoke, more room to play. Card games and there was a playing field and we had imaginations that weren’t dulled by the atmosphere we were thrust in. I had so many toys, Lego galore, my dad took us to Spain one summer holiday, my nan spoilt us. Everyone spoilt us.
I could go on. But it’s rehashing old memories and old issues I have mostly passed and I did have therapy for this thing.
Basically, I know what I’m talking about when I say money isn’t everything.
I don’t own my house, and I literally this month finally caught up on my bills. My microwave is fourth hand, my Xbox too. I bought my tv off my friend, sold my old to my sister. The hoover was a present. The netbook I’m using cost like sixty quid on eBay and is probably fourth had too. I buy food in bulk wherever I can find offers. Most of the furniture in my living room comes from Craft – a second-hand store in town. My bed is new. So is the mattress. That’s about it.
Tattoos, I spend money on tattoos. Those are new.
Again, I could go on, but I don’t need to justify myself or my life to you or anyone. I don’t care what people think.
My wife does…
I wish she didn’t because it really doesn’t matter what people think of our financial situation. Or what they think about anything in our lives. She will be an amazing mother, she is an amazing person – the best one I know. She has a good heart and a pure soul and is better than every other person you will ever meet. She takes everything too hard and I wish I could make everything better for her.
The thing is we have a roof over our heads and food for our cats and as I start my Dispenser training life will always improve. Slowly.
The money will never really make a difference to how I raise my child, how much I will love it. I don’t have six hundred quid for a fancy pushchair but I do have time and love.
My baby will have shelter and poetry, warmth and words, sustainable and soul.
For me, that’s what makes the difference. And when my kid is thirty-three and writing their own blog, I hope they will remember that too.