How I Survived When I Couldn’t Afford Wine (Or Food)

alleyBefore I had babies I used to buy fresh herbs, clothes and a lot of wine.

Now I have two babies and I buy ketchup and a little bit of wine.

But not so long ago, I could not even afford to buy ketchup, wine or anything else for that matter…

Like many new families, we found as the cost of living got higher and our income got lower our finances were stretched to the limit.

Things went from bad to worse. We were stressed, hungry, tired and before I knew it I was waiting in a dark alley for a stranger to give me a package.

I am not proud of myself.

My husband had lost his job and company car, my statutory maternity allowance had come to an end and we had fallen behind on our bills. I had a baby and young toddler at home so I was struggling to find work to fit around the sleepless nights and busy days. It was a really difficult time.

“I’ll meet you at 11.30.” I was told over the phone. “I’ll have what you need.”

“But how will I know who you are?” I asked.

“Oh, you’ll know,” they replied, and hung up without another word.

As I waited to meet my contact I glanced nervously around me. Soon I would have what I needed and everything would be ok.


To find out what was in the package feel free to click here and read my story in the New Statesman online!!  

Or, if you couldn’t care less and would rather read about babies not sleeping then check out this lovely page of No-Sleep Solutions..

Are you stretched financially since having babies? Have you ever been unable to afford food? I would love to hear your stories.

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14 thoughts on “How I Survived When I Couldn’t Afford Wine (Or Food)

  1. Incredible Emily-Jane! Really. I think I stopped breathing while reading your article. Times have changed and things are getting rough. Opportunities are scarce, jobs are more volatile than we’d like them to be, and the cost of living is what it is. This state of equilibrium that we depend on is so fragile, and we don’t really realize it until something happens.

    I am so happy things got better, and I hope they keep getting better. Your daughters are so lucky to have such a loving, caring mother like you.

    • Ah thank you so much! You just never know what is going to happen so it is impossible to be prepared for every ‘what if?’. At least when you go from having nothing to a little bit you take nothing for granted! x

  2. Congratulations on the article in the New Statesman. I’m really glad you got the emergency food – it can be a bit of a collision of circumstances when new kids mean lower income at the same time as increased expenses, and it’s hard to break out of a downward spiral. And of course some kids aren’t as easy to work around as others. You rock! Well done.

  3. Wow, that article really made me stop. I think it is your honesty. You are right, life is pretty fragile in the way that anyone can suddenly fall behind when life happens and then the further fall can be quick. So happy to hear it has worked out for you since! And I think the assurance that anyone can need and should then accept assistance is very important! Thank you.

  4. Thank you for sharing this and for giving other mothers the strength and sense of normalcy and lack of judgment in need help from others. We all need one another whether for food… encouragement. .. time… and/or love!

  5. Congratulations on both your bravery and the success in overcoming so many hurdles.

    Thankfully my emergency tin cans are still in the back of the cupboard… hopefully they’ll stay there a bit more and then of they go to the nearest food bank.

    Good post!

  6. Brilliant article (in a grown up magazine thingy!) I’m so sorry to hear things were so tough, and so glad you were able to get some support from the food bank – they are amazing places. They run one at my old job and as you say, are for so many different people who -for all kinds of reasons – are in desperate financial circumstances. When you have children it is a whole new ball game as well and the pressure you and your husband were under must have been massive.

    I really admire your bravery and honesty in talking about this – it will help so many other people who are struggling. I hope things settle down and Fireman Sam allows more work to come your way. It’s inspiring how much you are doing – children, writing, pitching, weekend-working – I’d ask when you find time to sleep, but..!

    • Ah thank you so much! I am not brave…but stupidly honest on account of sleep deprivation clouding my judgement, yes! I just feel lucky to find work, have family around and found the lifeline that is the Jubilee food bank at just the right time! Some people have it ten million times worse than we did.
      Sleep?!! I am so over stressing about that… However, I can get it these days!

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