Managing your family for the New Year
Massy distribution tasting brought four homemakers - Monique Williams, Georgina Phillips, Fay Whyte, and Annette McLeod - together for a forum at The Gleaner's North Street offices on December 16. All shared similar experiences about supporting their family on a minimum wage - taking care for children and grandchildren.
Phillips, Whyte, and McLeod, whose daughter and grandson live with them, said that they played a vital role in their grandson's life and ensured that he was well taken care of.
Whyte told Flair that she shares her fortnightly wage as a janitor with her daughter to help with her grandson. To supplement her meagre income, Whyte rears chickens, which provides food for the family.
It is also important for Whyte that her family and grandson eat healthy even if she is unable to provide a full-course meal. "In the mornings, I make him soursop juice sometimes with ginger, and sweeten it with honey or molasses, and if I don't have it, I give him water and send him to school. He eats no sweets," Whyte shared proudly.
Phillips, who is a bartender, notes that she helps to support her grandson in more ways than one. The main lesson she tries to instil in him is to be satisfied with what she can afford to provide for him.
Phillips notes that she grew up with seven siblings, and her parents could not afford to send them all to school.
Williams, mother of two, told Flair that as a promoter, her job sometimes forces her to travel across the island, so she entrusts her mother to take care of her children.
Although her dream of becoming a marketing manager was put on hold when she became pregnant as a teenager, she is currently attending the Heart institute, pursuing a certificate in marketing so that she can be an example to her 14-year-old daughter of never giving up on one's dreams.
Williams said that she encourages her children to save by having regular partner plans with them - $20 per day. This allows the children to buy what they want when she can't afford to.
Because her job is sporadic, she also economises by buying in bulk.
McLeod considers herself a 'house girl'. She loves to be home when she is not in her shop selling.
In ensuring that she makes a profit, McLeod said she shops around to find the best deals.
Plus with her no-more-meat diet, McLeod uses her creativity, creating all kinds of recipes from what she has, while making them look and taste delicious.
All four women have their own means of survival, which seems to work perfectly for them and their family.
Manage your family the best you know how to incorporate grandparents and aunties to help with family support for your children. Encourage your children to conserve and save and do well in school. The rewards are great.