‘My ex owes $50Ok in little one assist and my mum helps with hire’

“All of my Centrelink payments go into rent, I’ve lost my business and my mother helps with the rent,” says the Melbourne single mother.

* Katrina is locked in her small two-bedroom Melbourne apartment with teenagers waiting for the sun to shine again.

Just a little sunshine, she hopes, will temporarily dry the tears that come to her eyes each day as she battles the crippling financial and emotional burden of being locked up.

“I thought I was strong. I believe in breaking barriers, but that’s different. It’s like being kept underwater for a long time – and they ask you to go underwater again, ”the single mother of three explains to Kidspot.

“When the first lockdown came last year, things got real and I realized just how big some of the difficulties would be as a single parent.

“You have seen me cry many times. My little one would say, “Mom, you are crying,” and I had to explain why … it is definitely not a happy time. It’s like having a Seasonally Adjusted Disorder (SAD) all the time. It’s like a thick, dense fog and it comes in waves. “

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A Melbourne single mother lost her business and all of her Centrelink payments go into rent. Source: iStock

“I lost my business just 36 hours after a major operation”

Katrina has three children from two different fathers. One owes about $ 50,000 in unpaid child support and the other lost his job at the start of the pandemic and therefore couldn’t help much.

The 45-year-old suffered another blow last year when she lost the company she had built and run for 15 years, just 36 hours after major surgery.

“It was absolutely one of the darkest moments of my life. Work had turned me into ‘crap, I’m going to be unemployed and I don’t even know if I can get a job,’ ”she says.

“I had to make a plan and move because I couldn’t afford the rent for the next month.”

The family moved from their four-room house (plus study) to a small two-room apartment with the help of money borrowed from Katrina’s mother.

“I applied for a crisis payment from Centrelink, but because I had money in my bank account that was intended for the moving companies, they refused to pay.”

Katrina and her two children, ages seven and 13 (her oldest is 17 and just moved out of home) now live on $ 611 per fortnight through JobSeeker and about $ 400 per fortnightly family tax break.

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“All of my Centrelink benefits go to my rental”

Since the rent is $ 2,000 a month, the family only has $ 11 left.

Katrina started her studies and started a new company at the same time, but Centrelink expected her to apply for 20 positions a week as well.

“Being a single parent looking for 20 jobs, going to college, studying at home and starting a new business got me out of my mind … I was having trouble breathing,” she admits emotionally.

“I put my studies on hold and focused on building my business and I’m just beginning to work with clients but some have pulled out because of the virus … I can’t get a job outside of the home because I have to. “Be there for the children.”

Every week Katrina gets more difficult financially and emotionally, and this month she is once again dependent on her mother to pay the rent.

“I didn’t know where else to turn except my mother. It was literally my last option, ”she reveals.

“It felt gross, it felt awful, and I didn’t mean to burden my mother. She’s on her own too, and it’s the first time I’ve had to ask my family for money since I was a teenager.

“Every month has been a struggle – everything dries up… the savings are all gone, and I don’t have a lot of super at all – it evaporates into nothing. There is a lot of catching up to do every month, so I’m worried about what the next few months will look like. “

“I have a meltdown in the shower because I have no one to bounce things off”

Katrina admits that she probably suffers from depression and has now managed to see a psychiatrist after a month on the waiting list.

“I have a breakdown and go crying in the shower because I have no one to ricochet things off,” she says with the pain evident in her voice.

“It feels like a situation that is out of control. It’s like having PMS all the time – I’m so emotional all the time … there are times when I don’t sleep.

“I feel physically ill because of the financial pressure. Always having to tell people that you need payment extensions is a terrible feeling.”

Every day is fraught with worry about whether she can afford to go to the stores to buy groceries or put gas in the car – and she says that her once healthy diet has been replaced with more carbohydrate meals, which in turn is hers Affects mood and wellbeing.

Katrina hopes that if the lockdown can be lifted, people will regain confidence that they will spend money and their business will grow.

In the meantime, she hopes a little ray of sunshine will ease her heavy heart.

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