As single parents, we live in a vulnerable environment. Under some circumstances, when an ex-spouse loses his/her job, it affects the other ex-spouse directly. “Emergency Funds” and reserves dry up twice as fast when one party has to pay child support or spousal support (or both.) With the loss of one income, we start feeling the heat. So, what happens? The “Domino Effect” takes place: both sides of the single parent family suffer financial hardship. Bills get prioritized based on necessity. Parents live off of their credit cards to pay for gas and groceries.
These days, it seems that anxiety and emotions are at an all time high. Communication between struggling families is short and angry. That anger is often built on the shame, guilt and inability to provide what was once a stable environment for the children in a family with two parents who are no longer together. But I think this is when our children need us the most. Our children need to see the good in human beings through our actions. This is not the time to make parenting a lower priority because we are so stressed out — I think we need to put it right at the top of our list, for the very reason that many of us are so overwhelmed.
I believe we need to sit down and put pride aside and have open, honest and direct dialog with the mother/father of our children. If the money is not there, it’s time to be honest and create a workable solution. It’s time to support each other and pull together resources, if at all possible. Whether it is adjusting child care schedules or sharing meals in one household, the goal is simple: we need to create a workable solution to get back on our feet together and make a conscious effort to bring the co-parent family back to financial health.
I understand that it’s hard to stay positive these days. I look around and see and hear the economic news on TV and in the papers and it just makes me feel like giving up sometimes. But it’s important to remember that we can collectively do something about it if we put our minds together to work on the solution.
If anyone would like to share their ideas for how they are managing as a single parent, I would love to hear them. I believe one of the answers is that we need to come together, share ideas and support each other. This will help us, and most importantly, it will help our kids.