Living Unemployed and Homeschooling

My family, like many other home school families, lives on one salary.  My husband, Doug, has been unemployed for  2 months.   For many this would be a worst case scenario.  We are holding steady.  And instead of panicking, we are thriving.

Painter unemployed while home schooling

Do you have a savings “gland”?  Finances can be that gland; limiting you from functioning in your marriage.   You feel most secure (healthy) when you know there is money on hand in case of an emergency.

While going through Financial Peace,  I realized that having money set aside was a priority for me.   My husband and I  followed the plan and kept up our emergency fund.  Then my husband changed careers.  Our emergency fund kept us afloat during that transition.    His job didn’t work out, and we are now living on unemployment.

Having each other! 

“Keeping the main thing the main thing” is hard to do!  As a wife, my response means either supporting my husband or discouraging him.  I set the tone in my home.  Early in our marriage I  overreacted often. I felt like I wasn’t in control of our money.   One memory I have of responding  wrong was when  my sweet husband went to the store and bought hamburger meat  “on sale”.  All I saw was the price tag.  It was not a deal in my mind.  He wasted money and I contemplated returning the meat.  I didn’t return it, but I caused my husband to lose his confidence in making simple purchases.

Respecting my husband’s decision making is paramount.  He is not a child. He is my husband, the leader of our home.   In the past, whenever  I felt my savings gland being threatened, I felt like I had the right to reprimand his foolish choices.  This does not build trust, love or oneness.   Quite the opposite happens, it pulls couples apart.

Now 12 years later I have grown in this area.  I am thankful for growing up!  Now I know that complaining about my husband’s purchases, hoarding  money, or blaming my husband is wrong.   It causes frustration,friction, fear and separation.

 

What Can I Do to Help My Husband during this Season?

I can build confidence in my kids and my husband that we will be OK.   I see the big picture now.  Honestly, we have minor “side effects”.    We cannot buy the extras, take our dog to the groomer, or go out to eat or purchase anything that is not a need.   But we have each other.  Being unemployed does not have to touch the inside of us.  It is just money.

My attitude is a big part of how much less money effects us!  Watching how I talk about money to my children is important.  Do they feel fearful about the lack of money?   Some things will change for them.  I could try to buffer them from feeling the belt tightening, but instead I let them know that things are different.    I listen to them and show them how to be thankful.  I can command them to be thankful, but the best  advice is to live it out before them.

My husband needs to know that I am behind him.  I am his biggest cheerleader.   If I were an employer, I would hire him.

 

Lessons Along the Way

 1. Be Contentbanner-939233_1280

How you think matters; it matters a lot!  I am determined not to have a “poor me” attitude.  I can make the necessary adjustments.  I know that many others are truly in poverty.  We are not.

Demonstrating Contentment

Overall I am a saver, but curriculum is one of my biggest weaknesses.  At any given moment, I could write a list of helpful books or resources I would like to purchase.  We own too many books!  I realize there isn’t enough time to read all that we already have.  I need to say no to the urge to get the books I would like to have.

Our food budget is the most critical.  We do need to eat.   I have begun to plan 2 weeks at a time.  The majority of our meals are made with chicken.  Trying to make meals exciting and new doesn’t always work.  My children have caught on that we are having chicken again….  But I have found some great inexpensive recipes along the way.  (I will post them at a later date.)   We are not going hungry!

Unemployment surprised us, and we were unprepared.    However, we are eating, wearing clothes, and we have a place to live.

2. Be Generous

My children also need a picture of how to handle financial difficulties.  We don’t hold tight to what we have. We share! Adults need this lesson sometimes more than children.  We can give of ourselves, our time and our money.

Now I can assure those who fear finances that we really can live on less.  This is a reset we needed as a family.  I am looking forward to the day when my husband is employed, and we can continue this journey of being thankful, content and generously give from what we have.

3. Be Thankful

Our family is learning deep lessons about faith, love and sticking together.  We do believe that all things work together for good for those who love God.  We do love God.   We know (he will) help us through difficulties.  In this world we will have trouble.   But living out that verse, and knowing that we have peace that goes beyond the circumstances is amazing.   I wondered if my kids were aware of what was going on…then I found this…. from my 8 year old daughter.

 note from mariah frame

 Live Content With Little

Could all this be contributing to our character? Often, I wondered what the magic bullet was to help my kids live contented lives in this demanding, materialistic world. I believe I have found the answer: Be content with little.

Its the little things now that bring hope, great encouragement and joy.  Lately we have rejoiced in getting a refund check, free food at a restaurant,  thoughtful notes and encouragement.  In our world we are drowning in the “the sea of stuff”.    Children  today have a difficult time learning to be thankful. Why? Because they have way too much. If it’s not the parents spoiling them, then it’s the neighbors, friends, or  grandparents buying them whatever they want. Even if the kids aren’t the recipients of lots of gifts, the culture around us screams that they are missing the latest and greatest toys. They will be happy if they have it all. It’s just not true!

Now I can assure those who fear finances that we really can live on less.  This is a reset we needed as a family.  I am looking forward to the day when my husband is employed, and we can continue this journey of being thankful, content and generously give from what we have.

 

  Difficulty either keeps us apart or it’s the glue that holds us together.

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