When Bad Stuff Happens

Our old life was destroyed in one moment.

And just like everybody else... We never thought it would happen to us.

We'd just returned from a wet camping holiday. Our  tent was sprawled, drying across the driveway. I was making piles of dirty clothes from opened suitcases, across the floor, ready to wash. It was a mess. And we had no fresh food: not even bread or milk to eat.

Then in amongst the chaos, a mate brought my husband home from the surf. He'd been injured.


When the ambulance took us, I had no idea we were beginning a terrifying life-journey and my husband and I would be tested to beyond what I ever thought possible.

We went from a double income... to no income at all. Me being taken out of the work force to care for him.

My husband was deemed legally blind and remained so for many years.

And then it got worse...

At a time when our finances dwindled, our medical bills soared. Just the gap for one specialist-visit every  week, was more than we were bringing in. And we visited him, every week, over months.


We had private health insurance but the gap for just one specialist, for one surgery, was over $3000 (which was huge 19 years ago) and that didn't include anaesthetist fees. And I was told my husband was facing multiple surgeries over many, many months.


We were financially haemorraging. I was afraid we'd lose our house, unless I could somehow, pull a golden rabbit, out of a non-existent hat.

And like some of you are going through at the moment, for the first time, I lined up in the Centrelink queue. I still can't explain how desperate  I felt.


After being in phone cues for over an hour and a half, and then standing in line with other desperate people, I was told they couldn't help us.


I recall weeks later, after numerous frustrating attempts to gain help, I stood at the counter late one afternoon and teared up. I asked 'Isn't there someone in this whole place that can help us?'

The girl looked at me, then at the clock, then back at me. She shrugged. "You can see the social worker if you like. There's an appointment available in three weeks."

'I'll take it,' I said.

Then going forward many months, we experienced cruelty, deception and bullying because of my husband's disability. It was a shock. And although I thought I'd been bullied a few times in my life, I'd never experienced real prejudice before.


It's like someone put a clear dome over us, limiting what we could do. And it's so hard to break through it. e.g. I was told I was overlooked for a position because my husband was blind and it would be too hard for me to do it.


They made the decision for me...

And they really thought they were being kind.


I was crushed by ignorance and unfairness.

But I reminded myself, life isn't fair. Sometimes you get a whammy you never ever expected, or deserved. And I'm sorry if that's what you're experiencing at the moment, because it hurts, a lot.


...And I get the fear. I was terrified. I was so scared that I might not be able to keep it all together.

But somewhere, in amongst it all, I learned to let my fear drive me...


I never knew what I was really capable of achieving because I'd never given 100% before. But when I did, my life transformed.

And now it's my experience that I offer, because I've been there. I was a young mum with two young kids, a huge mortgage, no money and a newly-disabled husband. I simply didn't have the luxury to fall in a heap.


But with time, not only did we survive, we learnt to thrive. And it was my own bad experiences that inspired this website; purely so others don't feel the same level of hopelessness, fear and abandonment that I felt.

And although I know it's hard trying to get a job when there's a pandemic and so many are unemployed, I get it. (It's a bit like trying to get a job at any time, if you're blind... Seriously!)

But what did I learn that worked for us?

1. Do at least one thing today to improve the situation

2. Find what assets you can redeem

3. Analyse your marketable skill set & follow up any leads

4. Accept help

5. Conserve energy by: planning together, being cooperative and supportive of one another

6. Know... tough times pass

7. Try to find an opportunity for growth

8. Let adults deal with the adult issues and let kids be kids

9. Live within your reduced means


10. Love one another

I Learned I Still Had Choices. I chose to:

  • Act today to do at least one thing to improve the situation, rather than focus on the problem. E.g. What alternative income sources can be created when we live in a society obsessed with funny cats, our life's maddest edges, obscene levels of wealth, poverty and COVID 19. Be creative. What is your skill set?


  • What did I have that I could immediately sell? (I sold my car for $2000 and our old caravan for $1000.) What do you have that others may want?

  • Look at what I could do to earn, or save money? e.g: mowing lawns, cleaning, stacking shelves, delivering groceries for older people, driving trucks to keep food supply chains working, technical positions testing for COVID 19 etc.

  • I believed the situation I was experiencing would pass and with time we'd be back on our feet. And I did every thing I could, to ensure this happened.

  • My husband and I planned together and worked as a team. Disagreeing wasted our very valuable energy and we were already stretched. We needed all our strength to solve problems.

  • Being kind and thoughtful cost me  nothing but made a huge difference to our world. We had one rule in our house and that was cooperate. It may sound cheezy but we genuinely worked together for the good of all of us.

  • I tried as much as possible to filter what our children were privy to. It broke my youngest son's heart that his dad had been blinded. He began to read the same book to my husband as my husband had previously read to him... And it still makes me tear up as I remember it.

  • I began to use money very sparingly, living off between $40 to $70 a week to feed a family of four. And I used everything I already had in my pantry sparingly (Go to the recurrent menu planning section to see what strategies I put in place. This seriously saved us heaps and heaps of money over years which I later used to pay off our mortgage in half the time. But it helped free up time generally.)

  • Know some will advise you out of ignorance and some will be apathetic about your situation. You can either learn from your experience (what not to do to others in the future) or let it hurt you. Choose wisely what you focus on. If others haven't been through it, maybe they really don't know what it's like to be you.


  • Now is the time to learn what you're really made of.  It's possible adversity can build your character. Let adversity feed you. You can come through this as a kinder, yet stronger person. After this is over you'll likely have  a greater depth of character. And I know in my case, I couldn't voluntarily go back to the levels of ignorance I operated at prior to my husband's accident. I now can't walk past people living on the street and not give them money, because I know how easy it is to get there.

Know you can get through this...

Learn more:

Click on any of the image links to learn more. I know this information could change your life because it changed mine:

Finding Money During a Crisis
Finding money during a crisis
When More Bad Stuff Happens
When More Bad Stuff Happens
6 Tips for Home Schooling
Tips for Home Schooling
Money Saving Tips During Pandemic
Ways of Saving Money During Pandemic
Best Free Links For Self-Isolating With Kids
Free links while self isolating with kids
Tips on Explaining COVID 19 to Kids
Kids and Covid 19
Kids and Covid 19
Unusual Tips: Giving Up Smoking
Giving up smoking to improve your child's life chances
Tips: Timesavers for Healthy Meals
Timesavers for Healthy Meals
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Best Parenting is a high quality parenting website designed with child and family success in mind. It highlights what successful parents do differently to those who struggle. Best Parenting provides free online resources for busy parents who want the best practical advice on: how to give kids a best start in life, better tips for parenting toddlers, effective child rearing strategies, behaviour management tips, successful goal setting and organizational strategies for successful families, easy family dinner recipes, self-care tips for time-poor parents and free kids learning games. The aim of Best Parenting is to provide quality practical parenting tips and advice to best help children and families succeed, using the convenience of a website.

This website provides examples of what worked for me over decades and you are welcome to use these ideas as you see fit but you do so at your own risk. Best Parenting does not provide any guarantee that this information will work in every circumstance with every family or with every child. It is your responsibility as a user of this website to ensure that you adhere to any recommended safety suggestions either implicit or explicit on this site and supervise your children while playing any games suggested. Similarly users of this website are advised to follow any recommendations for seeking professional advice as all information on this site is generic. Best Parenting is an independent website and is not affiliated with any other groups, clubs, religious organizations or educational systems.


Best parenting takes time. The best parenting advice ever is simple: Do your best, don't give up and love your children, no matter what.

by Multi-Award Winning Educator. Early Learning Expert. Author/Illustrator.

     ©2019   ​Australia  


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