For many families across Australia, the current cost of living crisis is a battle they face from the moment they wake up every single day.
“It’s a struggle day to day, living on one income,” Michelle, a mother of three, told Mamamia. “We’re from rural NSW so we generally only shop once or twice a fortnight, but now we have to plan when we go shopping around when bills need paying.”
For the 35-year-old, who has two girls, aged 11 and two, and a seven-year-old boy, the pressure of making ends meet is impacting her mental health.
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“The stress and anxiety of bills coming in, and not enough money to cover them, does sometimes trigger my depression,” she said, “and the way I feel about myself as a mother.
“But even getting support for my mental health is almost getting to the point where it is out of reach.”
Last week, the family celebrated her son’s seventh birthday. But a party or presents were “well beyond means”.
Instead, Michelle said they “pushed through to make his day the best day possible”, and invited family over for a barbeque where people brought their own meat and something to share.
“I feel a lot of guilt that we couldn’t give him as much as I would like to,” she said. “But he knows we’re struggling and doesn’t complain. He was so happy with what we did for his birthday.