Monday, July 1, 2013

Six Things Not To Say To An Unemployed Single Mom

Can we just please cut through the BS and say it?


Sorry, I was going to put something else "stinks" but it just didn't have enough oomph.

I'm really scared. It took forever to get unemployment started. And it's only $317 a week. My rent is power bill is due...Bree needs contacts...Trey needs a haircut before we start confusing him with the mop (Just kidding, Trey would be confused with a hairy power pole way before a mop!).

And...perhaps...the worst thing of all. I've lost my groove. I've lost the certainty that I was on the right track, my sense of mission or purpose, my sense of rightness. I feel adrift.

The good news is, I'm holding on to God like a life raft in the middle of the ocean. I am consciously looking at Him each and every day because goodness knows if I start looking around, I'm going to seriously lose it. (Sort of like Peter, walking on water with Jesus, get distracted...the Bible says he 'saw' the wind...and next thing you know, you're drowning in the choppy waves)

The bad news is, it's hard to get out of bed in the morning...or afternoon. Not that I'm saying I've slept past noon...but I'm not actually saying I haven't.

In the midst of it all, there are friends who love me. And I know they love me. I have no doubt. And some of them love me so much that they want to make me feel better. And so they give me comfort...and advice. And trust me, I know my reaction is not fair and I know they are being helpful. But like another friend said, we cannot give comfort and advice from our reality. We have to-as the old cliche goes-walk a mile in their shoes.

1) You'll find something.
Similar to the "you'll find someone" or "plenty of fish in the sea" you hear after a break up. I get that I'll find "something" but WHAT? And what the heck happened to what I had? And please understand and give me time to mourn that because I miss it. And I'm scared that I'm not cut out for private sector and I'm scared I won't be able to find another non-profit job...and I'm wondering am I even supposed to be there. And then throw in the question "What if I could go work for a theatre?" and what happened to being on mission and what if I'm not as good as I thought I was...and, and, and...PS I need to find something NOW!

2) You deserve the rest.
Okay...that is actually truth. And I appreciate someone noticing. And now, I've rested. No more time to rest. I need a job. One that pays money. Enough money. Now.

3) Use the time to volunteer.
This assumes two that I'm not volunteering (I've actually continued to volunteer for the theatre and have consulted for two different non-profits on a volunteer basis) and the other, that I have the gas to go volunteer somewhere.

4) When I was unemployed...
I went to school, redecorated my house...etc. This one is actually conditional. If the situation is similar and the stories helpful, encouraging...this one is usually allowed (unless it's four in the afternoon and I haven't changed out of my pajamas yet...then we have another problem). If however, during your time of employment you had savings, severance or a spouse bringing home a healthy pay check...please understand it is not the same. Not even a little bit. And I just cannot deal right now.

5) So and so took one year, two years, three years to find a job.
This one makes me think of the scary pregnant stories people told me when I was pregnant with my first child. The ones designed to make me have a panic attack. I don't have 1/2/3 months...let alone YEARS! We're back to the "now" part of my dilemma.

6) You just need to cut back on your budget...
Again, there is an assumption...and just in case you aren't aware, there's little to nothing a single mom with two teenagers who has worked for non-profits for the last decade can cut back on when looking at her budget. I've taken Dave Ramsey, loved it, use it.

For all the things not to say, there are so many to say! For the friends who have asked me how I am and been okay with the fact I'm not okay. For the friends who have given me hugs (and, just so you guys know, I know some awesome huggers). For the friends who have helped with gas or grocery money. For the friends who had pizza delivered because not only did I not have food, I had no gas to go get food! For the friends who have prayed. For the friends who have seen job postings and sent them to me. For the friends who won't listen to me whine and give me a swift kick toward the shower. We are so ridiculously blessed to have all of you in our lives and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

This is not a condemnation of people who want to be helpful...this is just a reminder to think before you speak. My fervent desire is that no one's feelings are hurt. I know why you say it and where it comes from and I appreciate it. I just want you to know, you don't have to have the solution or the right answer. Just be there. It means more than you know.

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