There is a misconception about food insecurities.
One might consider that a person with food insecurities is someone incapable of supporting themselves or their families, but there are varying degrees of food insecurities, as noted by the USDA. And similar to the effect that we would not minimize an individual’s feelings regarding pain, anxiety, or fear, we cannot forget the realities of those who struggle with basic needs, regardless of their situation.
Many of them wear a cloak disguising themselves as successful, happy folk, but at the end of the day, they sit in a constant state of fear that they will be short by the end of the month, unable to tame the echoing rumble of a family’s inner belly.
Last night, my eldest was up late, scrolling on YouTube shorts and playing video games. Like any 17-year-old teenage boy, he strolls over to the fridge, rummages through, and eats the leftover chili that I was hoping to add tomato sauce to in order to stretch it to a second meal of spaghetti.
Food insecurity doesn’t always have to do with unemployment or poverty. It can be attributed to a lack of affordable housing, rising cost of living, and quite frankly, choosing to pay utilities over purchasing groceries.
I have job security. I have a great, safe apartment. My kids participate in extracurricular activities. I have a reliable vehicle. But not everything is always as it seems from the outside looking in.
Life happens. Relationships take a turn. Unexpected costs shatter savings accounts. Bills continue to arrive. And then, like 64% of Americans, you begin to struggle to make ends meet and you find yourself living paycheck to paycheck… if that. And of course, one of the hardest hit… single moms.
Though a proper budget is key to avoiding a financial crisis, budgeting can create a whole new level of stress. The inflexibilities of decision-making and accepting that family will come second to the creditors, landlords and utilities can be a difficult position to manage, as a head of household, often attributing to the feeling of failure.
The reality is that moving in and out of food insecurity simply adds more stress to a household that may already be wrestling with instability and unpredictability.
I swallow my pride. I often accept my situation… sour as it can get. I go to the cabinet and found potatoes. Yes, this will do. I will scrounge through the fridge to find a variety of toppings that will make this potato an exquisite meal for the day.
My father FaceTimes us as we are eating and asks, “What are you eating? Are those potatoes? I just love them baked. So, what I do first is…” I can’t help but love him.❤
My situation is classic:
I only see my family about once a year, when they come down to the United States. Many great memories are made as we spend time cooking, tidying up, and adding new pieces to my decor trying to make the most out of what I have.
My mum fills my freezer with homemade family recipes.
My dad buys, in bulk, Kraft Dinner, after a long-awaited visit.
Nearly 70% of single mums in America do not receive support, according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, posted in an article by NPR. That is not the case for me. I am blessed to have friends and family who would give the shirt off their back in order to ease the stress of “doing it on your own”.
But as many of you probably understand, first, you must be willing to speak up and second, you must willing to receive. Many of our families and single parents struggle in silence. I know, because I am a confidant to many students who have the courage to explain that their family can’t pay the fee or cannot order the uniform.
Pride and frustration often blind or morph reality. Despair sets in and the ability to tackle even the smallest of tasks ends in failure. Constantly managing emotions, while putting on a happy face can be draining. There is no disputing it. I work hard… I raise other people’s kids, as a teacher, while worrying about raising my own.
I can already hear the ping on my phone as my father textes me after reading this post.
“I’m fine.”, I’ll respond… because I will be. But that is not the case for everyone…
So love thy neighbor, check in your friends and give back when you are able,
xoxo 🙂 Annie
*Times are tough for many of us. I want, as a community, to be more aware and compassionate for those who have fallen on difficult times. The families and individuals come in all shapes and sizes… choose to find understanding. Many people are being hit hard by the financial crisis, the social-emotional toil from our years in “Covid Mode”, and the uncertainty of the world around us.
I am thankful for those who follow me on WordPress and/or those who take the time to ponder my thoughts, as this platform can be therapeutic and connects us all with a world open to expression and new ideas. So…
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.“
- Caroline Flack, 2019