"I've waited on purpose until today for this entry. This is the day I see as the greatest easing of Lockdown and what I think will have the most effect on me and the girls. Perhaps not immediately but it will be a useful gauge of what is to come. From today (unless the so-called Indian Variant puts us back in to Lockdown again) we can go out and socialise more. Which as a benefit claimant simply means more cost. I know that sounds miserable, or ungrateful. But it cannot be avoided - it is going to cost me more now as the girls start going out with their friends.
Even just this weekend my eldest daughter, legally visiting a school friend of hers and having a take away tea in her back garden, set me back an unexpected £10. It was all last minute so the extras from a meal I had frozen during the week, which I had defrosted for her, was wasted. Don't get me wrong, I loved the fact she was going out with her own friends after having had a dark winter, locked away alone, mostly in her bedroom.
This shouldn't be a big thing - she should be making last minute plans and going out and enjoying herself. And she is - but I saw the cost of this first, before feeling happy she was going out.
Its fine at the moment - the Government are not ending the Covid-"uplift" to our UC until the October payment. But the loss of that £86pcm from then on is going to eat in to these little "treats".
I've only bought them clothes at birthdays and Christmas in the last year (my ex is providing most of their new clothes as she can afford to). So they do not miss out, but I'd like them to have something smart, or special, from me. It will be more difficult to do this next Christmas.
And then come the inevitable invites from friends to go out for a drink. Well, it wont be a drink, it will be a few. But for the price of a pint I could get 4 cans from the supermarket. Now I do know that sentence sounds miserable and ungrateful. Of course I want to see my friends and you cannot put a price on a laugh with your mates. But I will have to turn down several invites as I cannot afford it. I cannot tell them that, I just hope they don't see it as me being unsociable, or worse, unfriendly.
I'm a good worker, and I have a good job. I had kids to someone who didn't turn out to be anyone, as I am sure she thinks that of me too. But we didn't do anything bad. I love my kids and I want to provide more than just the basics for them. They know I will not ever be taking them on holiday, or buying them the latest phones. But there are some things I should as their dad be able to provide without worry.
I think this entry is a bit different to how I started in this project. I didn't really think I fit in with the other people in the project. I still feel that way although there are some common interests - my story isn't as extreme as some I have heard on here. But I do think I am finding a place in this now. Right towards the end. The relaxing of the rules is what is going to cause me problems. Little ones, but ones I need to address somehow."