Q: Recently, I lost my job where I was employed for the past 12 years. It was unexpected, and we do not have a lot of savings. I am concerned about kids. We live in what I guess you could call a typical “suburban” area. We have a nice house and my children enjoy a “nicer than most” comfortable lifestyle. As a mom, I do not want my job loss to disrupt their lives, but I also know the limits on our family budget right now. How do I help my family through this job loss?
A: Given these economic uncertain times, you are not alone in your financial struggles. Many families today are experiencing the effects of the economy. Many moms have lost their job, or are finding themselves having to make tougher financial decisions. Regardless of the cause, financial stress will effect both moms and their children. Here are some thoughts to help your family with your recent job loss.
First, if they do not know about your job loss, it is best to tell them. Something like that would be difficult to keep as a secret. If you hide it from them, you rob them of the opportunity to grow from it. Honesty is always best in these situations.
Next, it would be helpful to talk to them about their feelings. They may be experiencing a lot of fear, envisioning their having to move leaving their school and friends. Or they may even be embarrassed because so much of today’s culture is based on what you wear and how you look. All of that costs money, which is limited right now. Allowing your kids to express their emotions often is preferable to having them deal with on their own. It helps them understand this is a family matter that effects everyone, and it is okay to not be happy about it.
Communication is important. If you feel like you are going to have to make some modifications to your family budget, then tell them. This can be an excellent teaching opportunity to educate your children about healthy financial management skills. If there is something they want but is not an essential, then have them turn their own creative juices loose to find a way to pay for it themselves.
Financial stress is part of the norm for many moms and their families. Get some support for yourself as a mom. Check out the local support groups that specialize in rebuilding careers, unemployment or some individual counseling. Inquire about any community service agencies that offer sliding scale counseling services in your area. There may also be some women’s groups the specialize in this area. Don’t be afraid to reach out.