This is a little bit off topic from the usual Suddenly Mummy fare, but I recently got a new social worker and something she said has been knocking round in my head so persistently that I feel I must blog about it in the hopes that getting it off my chest will get it out of my head!
It was the first time we had met. She sat in my lounge watching a news report about changes to benefits that happened to be playing on the TV. Then she said, "I've got to be honest with you, I've got no time for rich people. They just sit there with all of their money and do nothing to help the poor."
Putting aside how inappropriate it was for her to say such a thing in the course of her professional duties, I have to say I was really offended by it.
To explain why, let me tell you about my awesome Mum - I'm sure she won't mind. My Mum comes from a working class family and grew up in a two-bedroomed terraced house with her parents and two brothers. While she was still school-aged, she fell pregnant, at a time and in a place where that sort of thing was just completely unacceptable.
I'll gloss over what happened immediately after, but basically, she eventually found herself alone, penniless, and a single mother, barely into her twenties. And when I say penniless, I mean she couldn't afford to buy coal to put on the fire.
So she did what she had to. She went out to work. Some years later, she married again, and I came along. There was still no money, even though my Dad worked. We lived in a council house and my Mum made our clothes, made our bread, and made an awful lot of meals out of potatoes. In short, she made do.
When my parents made the decision to improve their conditions, it simply meant more work. They took turns to get an education while the other one worked and worked and worked, evenings, weekends, whatever it took. My Mum scrimped and saved from awful, demeaning jobs so that we could go on a camping holiday each year.
Eventually, both my parents qualified as teachers, but my Mum couldn't get steady work in the FE teaching she had trained for, so she took another risk, and applied for a job that was unlike anything she had done before. She got it, and then she worked and worked and worked in that business to make a success of her role.
Because of my parents' hard work, my upbringing was pretty cushy actually. Yes, there were times when I was very young when there wasn't enough money, but I don't remember that. What I do remember is how hard my Mum worked so that I could have all the benefits that she didn't have. I have the life I have today because of the hard work that she did.
As I became an adult, my Mum entered a new phase in her life. She gave up her job, re-mortgaged the house and with her husband, she started a new business. She didn't pay herself at all for the first year, and she worked and worked and worked, even completing an MBA. They made a success of that business and provided many secure jobs for local people.
My Mum is amazing. Even though she has taken some hard knocks, she has refused to sit around wasting time having a massive pity party about how unfairly she has been treated, and demanding that 'someone' do something about it. She has always assumed that it is up to her to make her life what she wants it to be. Everything, absolutely everything she has, she has earned by sacrifice, detemination and hard work.
Now she is retired and, by some people's standards, she'd be called rich. And because of that, my social worker would have no time for her. That's the Social Worker's loss I reckon.