I received an email yesterday:
We are worried about the future of your mortgage
What mortgage? I thought as I lay awake at 3am. Then I found out that there’s a name for the cause of my insomnia: housing poverty. I pay 65% of my income in rent every week. I’m not in debt but I’m about three pay days away from severe financial distress. So most nights I wake at 2am wondering how I’m going to manage and stay awake until 4am.
Housing poverty occurs when people who fall in the bottom 40% of wage earners put more than 30% of their weekly take-home pay into housing, which reduces their capacity to save money and thus their financial resilience.
According to an analysis by the Council to Homeless Persons, those paying rent alone on the average weekly wage for women would be priced out of all but one inner Melbourne suburb and even outer Sydney.
Jenny Smith, the chief executive of Council to Homeless Persons and chair of national peak body Homelessness Australia, said the situation for many single women was untenable and left them vulnerable to homelessness in the event of a crisis, like losing their job or a high medical bill.
“When you look at your average single woman on an average wage, you can see it’s very, very difficult to rent anywhere reasonable,” Smith told Guardian Australia.
“If you do, you are essentially putting yourself into a poverty situation.”
Sydney is a wonderful city, offering so much, but how can we revel in art and music and the joys of life when we financially stressed to breaking point? Single motherhood can be an exhausting cycle of taking time away from work to focus on motherhood, then overworking to earn enough money to pay back debt. And this is compounded when children have any kind of health issues. Maternity leave when kids are small and most need an involved parent impacts women’s ability to earn enough to support their children. My financial stress is caused by:
- Ridiculous Sydney housing prices
- Father who doesn’t pay for his children
- Working in the highly rewarding but low-paid arts sector for my entire career
- No politician with the balls to take on negative gearing/capital gains tax and make affordable housing a priority
Single working women on average wages in Sydney and most of Melbourne cannot afford to live alone. Men can. Does that seem fair to you Bernard Salt? I’m going to keep eating smashed avocado as I can’t pay for my own home with room for all my kids. Oh well. I could possibly live in a bus shelter when I’m old and it will be peaceful sharing with our cat.
In 1986 I was living in London and I had a flatmate who modelled her hair on George Michael’s fluffy bouffy do. She scored tickets to see Wham at Wembley Stadium that summer. I didn’t speak to her for a while because she went to the gig and I didn’t. It was never about Andrew, it was always about George. I loved George but I was too afraid to admit it. For a while there it wasn’t cool to like George Michael’s music, it wasn’t grungey or dark or rock enough. I’ve never liked cool obscure underground bands that nobody has heard of, with male singers who can’t hold a tune, I’m a huge fan of bright, shiny commercial pop. So George was the shiz.
I love George’s lyrics, I love his melodies and his voice. When I was 14, he wrote songs in the key of teenage angst. George understood me and my worries. Christmas doesn’t begin for me until I hear Last Christmas on the radio.
I can’t believe he’s gone at the age of 53. In the 90s his music kept my heart alive. I hope the dope didn’t kill him.
“Do you enjoy what you do? If not, just stop, don’t stay there and rot.”
Thank you George, I hope you’re blazing a trail with some gorgeous angelic backing vocalists in heaven
G’day. Here’s my last minute Christmas list for you. I’ve been very busy this year, so as I haven’t really had time to be naughty I think I’m in with a chance of getting a few of these items. So this Christmas I wish you could:
- Please send really sick kids home from children’s hospitals with good health
- Please give their parents a restful break
- Please find homes for homeless people, especially those battling snow and bitter winds
- Please change the gun laws in the US
- Please outlaw the over-supply of greedy real estate agents who profit from people’s basic need for housing
- Please give the tectonic plates a rest for a while
- Please kick out politicians who put their own personal profits ahead of the health, harmony, safety and education of the nation they pretend to be serving
- Please send French champagne and chocolates to my loved ones while I have a lie down
- Please keep an eye on my eldest as she adventures through the wilds of South America
- Please tell whoever is in charge of choosing who dies (I don’t know where they are, maybe in the office next to yours at the North Pole?) not to take any more of our fabulous artists. Can this entity please choose despots, thugs and so-called success coaches in 2017 instead?
I’m trying not to be greedy but some peace, love, joy, giggles, goodwill, gratitude, patience, kisses, health, harmony, dark chocolate, extra light for Channukah, belly laughter, hugs, respect and no new Mariah Carey singles for a while would be ace too
Thanks mate, I’ve got beer waiting for you as long as your reindeer poo out the back of my garden
Halloween is a day of celebration for dentists, who shout “Ka-Ching!” as they book skiing holidays at expensive resorts while our kids gobble sugar. Single mothers also love to be a part of the pagan goddess ritual of decorating houses with cheap crappy decorations made in a Chinese factory and the foraging of bags of sugar and chemicals to feed small beasts. Every year, as we make our way down our friend’s streets (never in our neighbourhood) I barely hear the cries of, “Mum we haven’t got enough lollies,” because I’m too busy flirting with the dads I’m chatting up.
I love Halloween. At work I try to make sick children happy, and scaring well kids on October 31st is a brilliant release. I can stick warts on my nose, paint my face green, have a few beers and channel my inner scary mummy. I love to rise to the challenge of freaking out a kid who has a decapitated head stuck to his chest. Last year I happened to be driving the clown van on the night of Halloween. As a bonus, I managed to embarrass my teen who was hunting in a pack with her besties with my elegant clown fashions.
On October 31st, macroneurotic parents are unpopular, shunned along with their raw, vegan, unprocessed dairy, wheat and taste-free ‘treats’. On All Hallows Eve I don’t cook dinner and my kids get fed by strangers. My youngest child has perfected a sweet innocent look that fools most people. Her blood-curdling scream is evil. I pretend she doesn’t belong to me.
But there’s one thing I don’t understand: Why take a toddler or a baby to Halloween celebrations especially if they’re your eldest child? Parents save yourself the trouble until your kids are at school and stay home with a cheeky bottle of fun. I nearly ran over a rampaging preschooler dressed as Justin Bieber last year.
Back in my day….
No one was allowed on a bus with a pram unless it was folded when I had babies. There were no special pram parking spots on buses or trains. But back then women didn’t think that spending two grand on a pram was a good idea because people actually believed they could one day own a home within four hours of Sydney, so they put the money towards their mortgage instead. Now everyone under the age of 50 in NSW is stuffing their faces with expensive avocadoes and craft cheeses because the idea of actually buying a car or a house in Broken Hill and commuting on overcrowded public transport and congested motorways is too much.
Rage is all the rage in our part of the world. Segue rage, bike rage, parking rage, WestConnex is raping my suburb rage, Saturday night there’s nowhere to go out and my rent is so high I can’t afford a social life anyway rage is all part of living in Sydney.
And the Bernard Salt groupies who voted for the anti-science numbskull pollies currently in power continue to negatively gear, tut tut and invoice government departments for their opinion. Sigh. Anyone else looking forward to the Sydney property crash?