It’s been talked and joked about in many Black films.
Black men, do not, under any circumstances tell your beautiful, Black wife when you lose your job.
And the movies are partially right. No woman likes to think about the burden of an unemployed man. But mamas, less face it, our black men are often the last hired and the first fired. So, if you are in your relationship for the long haul, you may want to prepare yourself for the day he says those dreaded words, “I got fired, laid-off or let-go.”
Mamas we’ve got to be a little more sympathetic to our men’s causes. Now, that does not mean by any stretch of the imagination, you’re going to sit on my couch, eat Fritos and watch Judge Judy while I’m at work. But, we’ve got to be more supportive of our men out there who stick by us, want to work and are trying their best to be a good man for their families. My husband went through about a year of instability before he found what I believe will be a good fit for him for a few years. During that time, we fought, I cried, he shouted and then I shouted, but ultimately we learned some great lessons about working together and how positive energy and risk-taking can create bonds that will outlive the period of unemployment in both of your lives.
1. Be Upset & Cry
As women of the African Diaspora, we are told all too often to get over it, stop crying and make a way out of no way. I say screw that. Be upset. You are about to step out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory, you have the right to express yourself (in a graceful way of course). While that doesn’t mean you have the right to cuss out your man, it does mean that you should make every attempt to understand why you feel the way you feel. And allow your man the same opportunity. Whether he’s been working at the company for 15 years, just got hired two weeks ago and received a pink slip or is stepping out on a new business opportunity, he’s going to go through very similar emotions. Allow him that.
Try to understand why the loss of this job means so much to the both of you and why this particular job meant so much to your family? Has the loss created feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, abandonment? Get down to the nitty, gritty and address those feelings rather than lashing out on one another.
2. Rob Peter to Pay Paul
This is one of the places us Brown Mamas SHINE! Where other women go into a fit and start having thoughts of suicide when their men lose their jobs, we go into super mode. Be proud of your resourcefulness mamas, and get on your grind. Call the gas, electric and cable companies and make those arrangements. Organize your expenses and revenues. Make those minimum payments. At this point all that matters is that everyone is fed, warm, loved and in the right state of mind. Remember, be patient with yourself and your hubby. The season to cry and be upset is over. It’s now time to get down to business. You will need an uncluttered mind and pocketbook to work as a team. Which brings me to my next point.
There are numerous ways you and hubby can work as a team to get him back on his feet. First fill out job applications together. Heck, you already know his social security number, hobbies, interest and last occupation. So, take this opportunity to put his name in the bag for gigs you know fit your lifestyle and financial needs. In addition, take this time off to work together around the house. One of the best things Me and Mac (my husband) discovered during his unscheduled time-off is that it really does take a team to run a household. Wash dishes together. (He washes, you put away) Do some fall cleaning in the basement. Watch a movie while you fold clothes. Whether he’s working or not, team work, makes the dream work!
4. Release the Tension, Permanently!
Okay so, he’s finally found a job. Yes! We are back on the road to financial stability, right? Or, are we actually headed toward another eventual financial and emotional meltdown. Think about it right now mamas, how many pairs of Black pants do you own? How many times have you had takeout this month?
The most important thing to remember about this situation is that it was not the loss of the job that had you and hubby frustrated, it was the loss of perceived stability and control.
But, you can prepare for that and take all that pressure off your hubby by being frugal today. Let’s be honest, you enjoy the extra time you got to spend with your man when he wasn’t working. More joking around, more hand holding, more lovin’ (hopefully). And you can keep those good times rolling permanently, if you learned how to live like your grandparents used to. Less is more.
It’s funny how our grandparents made way less money than we do now and were able to buy homes, own businesses and raise 8 kids compared to our 2 or 3. Take the pressure off hubby a little. Downsize your lifestyle, learn to be happy with less and enjoy the company of your family and friends. That way when one of you loses your job again (it might be you next time), you have a program in place that makes sure the love, teamwork and stability of your home doesn’t miss a beat!
What tricks have you employed to deal with unexpected unemployment in your home?