Having an unemployed parent may be something that many kids never worry about. It was something that had definitely never even crossed my mind until it happened to my family. Having an unemployed parent can mean dealing with tough times and added pressure on families. Most of my life, it was the norm for my dad to go to work as my mom stayed home to drive me to and from school and run errands. Suddenly one day, I heard my mom and dad talking about him not working anymore. That moment changed everything. My dad lost his job and became a stay-at-home dad as he searched for a job. My mom was forced to get a job after she had not worked since I was a toddler. She began working at a daycare and now spends most of her day with other kids. Even though it may sound silly now as a teenager, it was a huge change for me to have her being busy and away from me most of the time. It was weird to see my dad at my school meetings and swim meets when my mom was away at work. I missed her and wished things could be normal again. This new situation was really uncomfortable for me at first.
Although they did not show it, I know it was difficult for my parents too. At times they were frustrated, angry, impatient, sad and nervous about their finances. I can only imagine how being unemployed and worrying about being able to take care of your family’s needs is probably one of the most terrifying things for a parent. Through the ups and downs my family remained strong and tried to make the best of it. We have all stayed strong, together, hopeful and faithful that these tough times are just temporary. In life there are many twists and turns and it is important to keep fighting and keep on going. I know I am not alone and that many kids have probably experienced something similar. If you are looking to help out with your family finances, here are a few thing you can do:
• Cut Back – It may seem that you really need new clothes for the next month or that you need the latest version of the iPhone or iPad, but cutting back on these things will truly save a lot of money. You will have to give up some of the things you want. Remember the difference between needing something and wanting something. Ask yourself – “Do I really need this?”
• Host a Garage Sale – There is always stuff around the house that we do not want or need, so why not put a good use to it? There could be many people willing to buy things that may be useful for them.
• Eat At Home – Besides the fact that it is way healthier and will help you feel good, making your own meals will definitely save huge amounts of money. If you save your lunch money- about five dollars a day- every day for a whole school year, that’s already $900 per year! Imagine what you can do with that.
• Carpool – Riding together benefits everyone and helps the environment. It is way more fun than riding solo, and it’s just more time to hang out with your girls!
• Get a Part-time Job – You could work at the mall, movie theater, restaurant or somewhere new. You could also try sharing your talents by tutoring, babysitting or dog grooming. You’ll get work experience, meet new people, make new friends and earn cash!
Nobody in the world has a perfect life. It may not seem like it because of we see the media with beautiful, talented celebrities who seem to have everything. In reality, every person has their own kind of problems and there are many things that we cannot control. Having a parent lose a job means having to cut back and give up things like cars, electronics, clothes, food, and everything in between. Situations like these make a person grow, appreciate things and not take them for granted. Instead of getting sad or frustrated, it is important to be able to learn from these experiences. Your energy should be used productively by focusing on figuring out ways to help. Even doing the smallest thing can mean a lot to a parent. By pitching in to help your family, you can make an impact.