Working Nearly ‘Impossible’ For Mom Of Disabled Child
Rachel Skidmore is a single mother of two children who is on welfare because she is unable to balance work and caring for her disabled daughter.
Rachel lives in Victoria with her seven and eight-year-old children, and has little family support. Her daughter is visually impaired and has cerebral palsy, developmental delays, anxiety, seizures and epilepsy. Developmentally she is a toddler, and Rachel is not able to leave her alone.
“Working is next to impossible because I have a responsibility towards my daughter,” said Rachel. “I feel more burnt out than when I used to work.”
Rachel is one of over 3,000 people who filled out our Let’s Talk Families BC! Survey in 2014. Like the majority (35%) of families, she struggles the most with income. As a single mother, she also struggles to find the time to take care of herself. Taking the time to ensure she rested and healthy is crucial in making sure that she is able to take care of her family.
“It is difficult to do the simplest, things like showering, without worrying about child related matters; simple things to help me cope, relax, and recollect my energy,” said Rachel. “I am a captain of a ship, if I am not coping well the whole ship will sink.”
Rachel receives $233 a month from the government, and 15 hours of caregiving, or time off a month. While it is helpful, it is not enough. She feels frustrated because people often assume that because she is on welfare she doesn’t want to work. As her daughter’s caregiver, she would like to qualify for disability assistance, but her daughter isn’t old enough, and she can’t receive it by proxy. Her dream is for the government to pay stay-at-home parents at least minimum wage.
“I would like the government and community to realize that each family needs help differently,” said Rachel. “We need a different bracket for our families.”
Do you struggle with the cost of raising a family? If so, we'd love to hear your story.