Firing a single mother – What to do if you got laid off
Going through a lay off as a single mom is one of the scariest things that’s ever happened to me. There are so many unknowns during this time, so many plans disrupted, so many fears and feelings of hurt and betrayal. How could my boss sleep at night, firing a single mother?
If you’re a single mom and were just fired or laid off, here are a few things to do right away.
That’s going to be your first instinct, and it’s what I did too, but that’s not going to solve your problem.
Apply for unemployment, food stamps, temporary cash assistance, and medicaid for you and your children.
These things are all income based, so even if you didn’t qualify before, you likely will now that you are jobless. The only thing is that they calculate your qualifications based on the previous 30 days of income, so you can either: wait 30 days after you were let go or spend time on the phone and fighting with an appeal if they decline you.
Also, you may be rejected for these forms of government assistance if you do not have your child’s father on child support and refuse to go through that process. That’s a door I don’t want to open, so I was not able to receive medicaid or food stamps.
Apply for WIC.
You can be on both food stamps / SNAP benefits and WIC at the same time. Once you’re approved for food stamps, you don’t have to provide proof of income for WIC.
If you own your home, contact your mortgage company to see if they have any mortgage deferment programs.
Sometimes you can delay your payment by a month or two to just give yourself some time to breathe. Make sure you don’t have to repay the deferment immediately though, as that would mean a double, triple or even quadruple mortgage payment due right away.
The ideal scenario is one where they just tack on the payment to the end of the note. You’ll likely have to have your credit pulled and go through a formal application process to do this, but if you can take the pressure off for the short-term, that’s the goal.
Reach out to your child’s school.
There may be scholarship opportunities, emergency funds, or programs for discounted childcare and meals. Every district and daycare program is different, so understand what your options are here.
I was able to apply for partial scholarship toward my son’s daycare tuition. I’ll know in a few weeks if I’ve been approved.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
The next few days and weeks are going to be filled with job applications and you need these two in tip top shape. Make sure you check for spelling and grammar issues and you discuss your accomplishments, not just your tasks.
Apply to anything you’re even remotely qualified for.
Even if you have to take a pay cut in the short term, it’s better than $0.
Reach out to your friends and family.
I posted to LinkedIn and Facebook that I was laid off. I explained my situation and my skills and I asked for help. I am incredibly grateful for the dozens of people who shared my post, messaged me for my resume to pass along, and gave out my name and number to people they know.
While I haven’t gotten any job offers from this, I have followed up with every single person who reached out to me and could have a few potential freelance opportunities out of it. I’m so thankful for the people in my life willing to support me during this scary time. Don’t be embarrassed, ask for help.
Stay positive, and busy.
The hardest thing is the downtime. Your mind starts to race and you start to worry. So keep yourself as busy as possible. Apply for as many jobs as you can, volunteer, clean the house, write, do something to keep your brain occupied.
I’m just over one month into my unemployment at the time of writing this and there are still so many questions, but I’m trying to stay positive and hopeful that something better is around the corner for me and my family.