A Friend in Need

Yesterday I found out that someone I know, a single dad with two young daughters, lost his job. It wasn’t entirely unexpected (it had to do with bureaucratic red tape at his place of employment) and hopefully it will be only temporary. However, best-case scenario is that this single dad will be unemployed through the holidays and will be able to re-secure his previous job, or get a new one – but not until January at the soonest.

I feel terrible for him. I mean, as a single parent, losing your job is frustrating and scary. But at this time of year? Even more so. I can only imagine how I’d feel if I were in his situation. He told me yesterday that he’d already prepared his girls for this news; and let them know that in the event of him losing his job, likely Christmas wouldn’t really be happening at his house. Such a sad and frustrating thing to have to tell your kids. Sure there are more things to Christmas than gifts; and fortunately his daughters understand that, but still. What parent wants to have that conversation with their kids, ever?

Oh – and did I mention – this single dad…. is my ex husband.

I feel absolutely horrible for him. I can’t imagine how I’d be feeling in his situation. Single parenting is challenging enough, without these extra stessors. He’s not dating anyone right now, so it’s not even like he has a supportive partner in his life. I feel terrible for my girls, who, while they will still get a Christmas at my house, are going to have a lot less this year as a result of their dad’s employment situation. Of course we’ve always taught them the true meaning of Christmas, and really they’re extremely understanding kids, but still. I know that they will worry about their dad’s situation more than they should. And to be 100% honest here, I am selfishly a little worried about the impact this will have on my own financial situation. Our current arrangement is that we share 50% of all expenses relating to the girls. Him having less money means that he’s simply not going to have the cash to contribute the way he did in the past. My girls are still going to need things like winter gear and the like….so of course it’s going to fall to me to provide when he can’t.

The whole thing basically sucks every which way you look at it. I keep trying to think of practical ways to help out, ways to assist him in getting through this difficult period, despite the fact that this is no longer my job to do in his life. After all, they’re my kids, too. At this point I’m at a loss as to what I can do without overstepping my boundaries, while still keeping my own priorities in line. After all, in addition to my own two girls, I have CBG and his kids to help take care of as well.

It’s just a tricky and difficult situation all around.

7 Responses

  1. Sigh. The unemployment situation we’re all facing these days is really sad. I can’t even believe our country is in such rough shape still. My husband was unemployed for 15 months and it was a challenge, a big challenge. It tested our patience. It tested our relationship. It tested our ability to think about our life a little differently. But ultimately? It was worth it. It ended up being the biggest blessing in our lives – my husband is now in a job that he loves and that gives he and I MUCH better balance than he had before, for the 15 years he spent in his prior job. So for that? I am thankful that he was laid off.

    Why am I telling you this? Not to say the situation is at ALL similar but to show you that this may end up with a silver lining in some shape or form. Once the shock of it wears off, perhaps your ex will make a change that will ultimately make for a better situation for himself and your kids AND you. For now, though? Hang in there. Big hugs.

  2. It is a very difficult situation, especially at this time of year. I hope he finds some work relatively quickly. Good luck to him.

  3. Hang in there my friend. I hope everything works out, sooner rather than later. Hugs to you and your family.

  4. Oh how sad. I’m sorry for him. I’m sorry for you and the girls, too. It’s a tough economy right now…way tough. This was my biggest fear when I was single and couldn’t find a job–my ex losing his job. What would I do then!?! And if he loses it now? I’d still be up shit’s creek, even with DH (who would do EVERYTHING possible to be sure we were taken care of) … but their dad provides so much because he makes so much (not to mention health care). There must be a church or social group that could help with the presents for the girls at his house … it is so hard. When The Ex & I first split up I learned in December the magazine I worked for wouldn’t be publishing. I was so, so scared about money–house wasn’t selling, etc., and all of the sudden I received a Visa gift card for $100 to buy some presents for the kids from a close friend who I had talked to on F/B about it. It was really sweet–helped give me faith in humanity again! Keep the faith sweetie!

  5. But he’ll be able to spend time with the kids even more over the holidays, yes? This is also a great time to volunteer… that way he’ll feel useful and continue building strengths to add to his resume.

    I’ll say a prayer for your family.

    ((hugs))

  6. Having been made redundant exactly a year ago today I know how awful the impact can be. However, there is always hope and you can still have fun at Christmas. I was lucky and got a temporary job that was meant to last until Christmas – I am still there.

    I hope it all works out for the best.

  7. […] feeling a bit of the financial strain. I’ve been dealing with some of my own issues. My ex got some bad news week. I’m on the verge of some changes in my own life; like finding a new place to live in the new […]

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