Someone has called me out on Facebook.
A news article in our local hometown rag was asking people how much they think a big family of seven would need to get by – a question added to their Facebook share of the article about a family struggling to make ends meet on $1,000/week welfare payments.
My qualm was the number of people jumping in to demand this woman keep her ‘legs together’ and her ‘pants on’ and stop having kids.
The whole point of the article, as I saw it, isn’t so much OMG these feral unemployed people have a large number of kids, as OMG they’re caught in a cycle they’re struggling to escape from and the cost of living is so high in our cities (Melbourne in this case) that even $1,000 a week doesn’t leave much over after the usual necessities of rent, electricity and food.
You can’t shove the kids back into a uterus when things get tough.
Now I admit I haven’t seen the ‘A Current Affair’ story highlighting the plight of this family. But then I don’t think most of the people commenting under the share even read the article, they just wanted a chance to whinge about a family receiving any sort of welfare. They clearly missed the bit where the mother and her mother were doing courses to try make themselves more employable, and the bit where the grandmother is quoted as saying she doesn’t want this life of welfare for her grandkids.
But I took issue with the main gripe in the comment thread.
After reading comment after comment of people bagging this woman’s sponge-like eggs out I put in my two cents worth: Really wish people would stop the ‘stop breeding’ bs. The kids are here already and you’re not being asked to do the hard yards raising them. I have seven kids. It’s a lot of work. It’s not for the faint hearted or lazy.
And my comment drew a few responses. Some people even doubled down.
Ur missing the point Bruce,it’s not about the raising them, have another 10 but don’t expect the government to fit the bill.
Hey have as many as you like if you intend on supporting and raising them right! Don’t worry about having so many though if you intend to do neither is all I am saying.
People seem to get very upset at the idea of Centrelink payments being their taxes, but have little to nothing to say on whether there are legitimate employment opportunities in an area.
The comment I most wanted to applaud was:
9 billion given in fuel subsidies alone to mining magnates… Hey let’s attack a family on welfare!
Furthermore, this article says nothing about where the dad is. Or if there’s one or more of them. If he ran off or died. If he’s ever been a part of their lives. If he’s working. We can all make assumptions, but without knowing the answers why do we assume the worst?
Anyway, that was all okay. I made a comment and there was a discussion. Some people even stood up for the family. And mine.
And then….this appeared:
How much money does Bruce Devereaux get from the government for his 7 kids, ?????? 2 might be off his financial care now due to age, but that still leaves him with 5 to claim for…so I guess that Bruce Devereaux is also getting $1000 a week to travel around Australia,, blogging, on welfare payments…are you standing up for another …welfare recipient with the same number of kids as yourself???,also livid
Firstly, I would just like to point out all grammatical errors are her own, including what appears to be sticky ? and , buttons.
Secondly, this person has clearly done some research on me, knowing two of my kids have left the nest.
Thirdly, pleased she spelt Devereaux correctly. Although the fact she linked the first instance of my full name directly to my FB account probably helped.
Fourthly, it didn’t come up in the comment thread under my comment. No. She started a whole new thread with this at the top for all the world to see and judge me on.
Fifthly, and if I’m honest this was actually my first thought, the HELL!!!
“Let it go,” said Tracey.
But that only made me think of that ear worm from Frozen which got me, if anything, more upset.
My first attempt at a response was rather cranky, so I simply savoured the use of words and phrases Facebook wouldn’t wait for admin to hide and then backspaced and started again. Let’s break it down and you can tell me how I did:
Haha no we both work.
I thought it was important to lighten the mood a bit after all the rage she’d introduced to the topic. I also know from experience people hate it when they’re trying to make a serious point and you snicker. Much to their detriment, my kids know that too. Then I thought I’d educate my aggressor on her concern my family is on some sort of taxpayer funded junket.
We’re both self employed. Both work a lot more than 40 hours a week too. Do we claim Centrelink? Yep. Perfectly entitled to do so. Its not dodgy or shameful or, in fact, anyone’s business. It’s also not the sort of figures you’re talking, but it does help 🙂
In retrospect I hate myself a little for typing the incorrect ‘its’. I put the smilie face in so I didn’t appear to be shitty with her. Then I instantly decided that I was cranky so I added:
also, a big collective raspberry from my family to you for your tone and attempt at shaming us for being us (and FYI that is a lot of spittle coming your way 😉 )
There aren’t many families who aren’t on some sort of benefit in this country, even if it’s only child care support, a medicare card or free hospitals if they fall ill. Our system is one of the great things about being Australian.
But that’s all beside the point. Big families are a lot of work and cost a lot of money to keep the wheels turning smoothly. We have to buy more beds, more sheets, bigger cars, bigger houses, more clothes, more meat, more fruit, more nappies, more formula, more children’s painkillers, more bum chocolate, more electricity, more water, more dishes, more washing, more yelling, more Christmas and birthday presents. Just basically more in every sense of the word. We usually can’t even go to a theme park or show without paying on top of a family pass.
But we who are doing it also generally wouldn’t change a thing. It’s a tough gig but it’s also extremely satisfying. By the time Miss5 is old enough to leave the house we’ll have been parenting for nearly 40 years.
And here’s the thing, after all this happened I was lying in bed – fuming – with Tracey talking about the kids and how lucky we are to have them all.
“If we hadn’t decided to have more,” I said, referring to our decision at one point to leave it at our oldest two kids, “we’d have been childless now. Just you and me.” You probably assume I was saying this wistfully. Nope. “That’d be so boring!” Then I had a thought which genuine saddened me. “Can you imagine that one day we’re not going to have any kids at home?”
I mean, it’s only about fifteen years away!
Tracey immediately put my mind at ease by bringing up the fact I’m ten years older than her.
“Not in your lifetime, Darl,” she said, kissing my forehead.
But the really good news is with me gone she could finally rort our welfare system the way we intended when we tottled off to bed to fertilise her eggs, over and over again. Good times ahead.
Raising a family on little more than laughs
– this post is not sponsored or gifted –