I love blogging – it has opened up a world to me that I never knew existed. I have found friends who I know will be friends for life, a creative outlet that I crave to return to on a daily basis and more fortunate than anything is that it has become a job. A job I can do from home whilst being with my daughter. A job that I work bloody hard at but at the end of the day is totally worth it… well that’s what I thought anyway. Apparently, I am actually a lazy single mum after benefit scamming the poor people of the UK…
Trolling… why do people feel the need? I mean, my mother taught me if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all! However, some people just cannot resist jumping on the bandwagon can they…. Recently, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I have been appearing all over the internet and on television and radio as well because of a blog post I wrote called “Get Off Your Arse: Blogging isn’t a real job!” This discussed my problem with not being able to prove to HMRC that I was working enough hours to qualify for tax credits. Now, I think I work bloody hard as a blogger though for a lot of people blogging, let alone blogging as a job, is still a bit of an enigma. The number of comments I have seen over the past few days saying that “tapping away writing tripe on the internet is not a job!” or “social media isn’t a job stop chatting to your mates!” is absolutely incredible… better go tell all those social media managers, marketing, every brand everywhere that advertises and hey better tell Google as well, to stop chatting to their bloody mates!!
I was overwhelmed with the influx of comments that came in, primarily from bloggers, congratulating me on opening a lid on a topic that was long overdue to be opened. Through appearing on the BBC I discovered that it wasn’t only bloggers that were facing this problem, but that most self-employed people were having this issue from Farmers to Actors! The tax credits system is designed to work around people earning an hourly wage, which for bloggers can often be either mere pence or impossible to figure out as we often earn based on whole articles, posts or a set of online social media promotions. Something needs to be done about this, which I didn’t realise at the time, but my experience has definitely opened up my eyes to the bigger picture!
What I was naively not prepared for, were all the nasty and unnecessary comments that appeared on the BBC News tweets. I get that you are not always going to agree with everything people say, but why go out of your way to make comments. Of course, those ones weren’t the worst, merely being told I am trying to scrounge benefits I am not entitled to, or to go and get a real job didn’t really upset me as I know the truth. The hurtful ones came in anonymous emails sent to my blog account informing me that I was “a skank young mum who is wasting your daughters life by being on bloody social media too much!” Do they not get it? I’m not playing!!! I am not sat on my phone chatting to friends or having a good time, I am working!! Social media never sleeps… so how can we? I get up in the night to feed my daughter and whilst she sleep feeds on me I check the notifications of my blogging social media accounts and sort through them so that I don’t wake up to an overwhelming number… when my English readers go to sleep, my other readers from around the world are getting up and that means interaction!! I suppose the only positive thing I can take from that comment is that they think I’m young!! I was also reminded that “having a child don’t mean you get benefits! Good on you HMRC!” Uhhh excuse me? I have one child, that I am supporting myself from MY income, I am on no housing or job seeking benefits so you may want to rein your neck in on that one!
Through all of this I have really had to sit down and remind myself that actually I am not a bad person and the whole reason I started this was in fact to be able to stay home with her… so I am not in fact wasting her life by working around her! I am actually providing for her in the best way I possibly can. I think it is horrendous to call someone a scrounger and undeserving when they happen to be in a situation where they are reaching out for help. If, heaven forbid, they had an accident that prevented them from working, or caused them pain, am I meant to call them a scrounger and jump on the second they file for disability benefit all because there are a few people out there who cheat the system?! No, I’m not, because I am not that kind of person and the last thing they would need would be abuse at that time – they would need support!
No matter what you do in life, there will always be someone who doesn’t approve of what or how you are doing it. However, rather than making someone feel bad/worse by voicing such negative opinions publicly when they have in fact taken a bloody brave step in life, take mother’s advice and don’t say anything at all. There is a time and a place for everything, including opinions and I ask you to remember this… In a few years time when your son or daughter comes to you and says, “Mum/Dad I am going to set up my own business as a Decorator, Hair Dresser, Actor, Farmer and be self-employed!” What are you going to do…. watch the struggle to manage but support the fact that, despite the number of hours you see them slogging away, the HMRC won’t pay them the tax credits they so obviously deserve? Or, are you going to step up and help them do something about it?!