Monthly Archives: May 2014

The Dole Bludger

I hear it all the time. Dole bludgers this and that. They suck up taxpayer dollars. They are a drain on society. They’re lazy, probably fat and stupid, and just need to get a goddamned job or have their benefits cut and leave them to fend for themselves. They’re the great scourge, the great drain on our resources, they don’t deserve our support (we won’t go into superannuation and how much more that costs than the unemployment benefit)

Who do you think these people are? How many of them? How about wake up and look at the reality of unemployment beneficiaries.

There are not screeds of people out there hanging out on the dole, kicking back in the sun and enjoying the good life. Being a beneficiary is hard. There is not enough money for food and power and rent all at once. Living on rice and noodles isn’t really that much fun, believe it or not. Or spaghetti and baked beans. Going without heat in winter – not so bad if you’re up north, but tonight it’s going to be -5C in Christchurch, and those without the resources to keep their heating on are going to suffer. And getting behind on rent is a quick ticket to homelessness, which is rather more shit than just being a beneficiary. 

People want to get off the benefit, because being on it is miserable. At least if you work full time you make a bit more, making your life less shit. Plus, you get to be inside all day and warm, or out on a crew working hard and keeping yourself warm.

Let me underline that. Being employed is better than being on the unemployment benefit. People don’t actually really want to be on the dole. The vast majority are off within two years, and around a tenth of one percent of beneficiaries are on it for more than ten years. Those people are not scroungers. They are people with issues around employment that WINZ can’t change, like police records. Even WINZ can’t get a murderer or rapist employed. What, you think that these ten-year veterans just cruise on through, grabbing their handouts with both hands? No, WINZ do their damndest to get people off the benefit, and that actually includes working with people to get them a job when they’ve been on the dole a while. They don’t just have a free cashflow pooling at the feet of benefit veterans.

Lay off on the goddamned ‘dole bludgers’. Yeah, I’m sure they exist and you may even know one, lazing around in his parent’s back yard smoking pot. But they are not a representative sample of the unemployed population. The unemployed population is made up of people that want a goddamned job.

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Problem children

“There is no such thing as a problem child, its problem parenting.” This came up in a comment on my FaceBook feed today. I disagree, quite strongly.

Kids are all different, as are parents. Sometimes parents suck, but they have kids that naturally want to be good so the kid turns out ok. I grew up in an abusive home, which I would class as bad parenting, but I’ve come out wanting to do the right thing by people, wanting to help wherever I can, even over-stretching myself to do things for people. I figure that even though I’m not perfect, that’s probably able to be defined as turning out ok. 

I consider myself a decent parent. I have polite, respectful children that people compliment me on quite regularly. But, for three months, every time something didn’t go my younger daughter’s way, she would stamp and scream about it. It disrupted her class, and she had to spend so much time in the principal’s office calming down. It was incredibly humiliating. My child was ‘that kid’. And then, as unexpectedly as it started, it stopped again. She was back to being my sweet child. She still gets angry, but she doesn”t act out so badly any more.

Does her sudden behaviour make me a bad parent? 

My younger daughter absolutely begs to be allowed to help do chores. She loves helping and feeling responsible. On the other hand, my elder daughter hates chores and whines copiously whenever she’s made to do them (so we have a lot of whining in the house). They’re the product of the exact same parenting. Should I believe that I’m parenting one badly and the other well?

Kids are all different, and some are simply harder to handle than others. They all have their own quirks, and some are more humiliating for the parents than others. Going straight to blaming behaviour on bad parenting isn’t fair – until you see how the parents treat the kids, you can’t know whether that assumption is valid or whether you’re condemning someone unfairly.

Real women

“Real women are independent. They’re not content to being just a house wive” – a horror of grammar that passed in my twitter feed today.
I’m sorry, but you’re painfully wrong. First, who gave you the right to define ‘real women’, @MensPost? Who are you to make that judgement? Real women are whoever defines themselves as women, and your arbitrary judgement is un-called for, unnecessary, and unwanted. Go to hell.
Second, real women come in all shapes and flavours. Some are independent career women. Some are 50s style stay-at-home housewives. Some work part time to save for holiday money. Some are solo beneficiaries with chronic illnesses. Every one of these, and every other flavour of woman, is a real woman. And don’t even start on ‘real woman’ body shaming. Whether you’re thin, round, pear shaped, busty, whatever, you’re a real woman.
No one gets to try and delegitimise anyone else’s existence based on arbitrary criteria. That’s bullshit, and should be called so at every opportunity.

Obsession

I can’t stop thinking about the move. It obsesses me. I wake in the night to worry about it. It is a constantly open tab on my browser. It’s not healthy. I can’t stop.

Stress explosion

So, I was doing well keeping my school work under control, but it’s started to get away on me a bit. A few extra weekend hours should fix that, right?

Well, weekends are out. Because I’m losing my home. The family that own the place have decided to come back and live in it, and so we have to find somewhere else by September 5th. I was planning to be here another four and a half years, until my younger daughter finished primary school. I feel like my home and my future plans have been ripped out from under me, and that’s not doing anything good for my mental health.

We’re allowed to leave whenever we want, so the rough plan right now is to keep an eye on rental places and get a feel for how much we have to pay to get what we want. Then, starting the 14th of June, we seriously attempt to get a home. I want to try and get the move and the unpacking done before the next semester starts, to reduce the combined stress of Uni and moving. I hope it works that way.

Meanwhile, everything’s just tumbling around my mind, with no solid trains of thought. I might have to email my psychiatrist if I get any worse. Sigh. Stress.

I wish it was in my head

“I wish this was in my head because then I could deal with it and get better. It’s not.”
I was reading an article today about Myalgic Encephalopathy (chronic fatigue syndrome) and this gem popped out. I actually cried a little.
I do not want to take away one jot of the difficulties faced by those with ME. But psychological issues are not just things in your head that you can just deal with and get better. Taking away from the complexity of mental illness like that is cruel and devalues the reality of people living with a mental illness diagnosis.
I sometimes wonder why people denigrate other’s experiences like this. But it’s pretty simple. Until you walk a path you can at best be sympathetic, usually oblivious, at worst plain cruel.
It shouldn’t matter what a stranger says. But the thousand cuts eventually make you bleed out.

Things I care about

I’ve found theta here are currently fewer and fewer things that I can bring myself to care about. Anything that’s on Facebook that’s not actual posts or good commentary is pretty much out. Quiz-like things are way out, and there’s even a brief moment of anger at their sheer existence.
Politics and social justice can still pull my attention, but if the first paragraph isn’t great, I’m out. Too long equals didn’t read.
There are still people that hold my attention and keep my interest, but equally there are people that just don’t any more.
Friends are dropping away now as I bury myself deeper into family and Uni. Those are the two things that take my time and attention now. I don’t go out much any more. Never really went out a lot but now excursions hat aren’t necessary are nonexistent.
If it was not for the internet, I think I would be completely isolated by now.
I don’t know whether I care though.