Stay at Home Mom Divorce - Coping Financially
The Start of my Stay at Home Mom Divorce
So, there I was, going through life without a care in the world. To my knowledge, everything was going fine. But, then a bomb dropped on my financial future like I had never expected. My husband told me he wanted a divorce and he was done.
After, the expected emotional breakdown over losing him and my entire life, I thought about my finances. I'm great with money and can live on a really tight budget. But, I was not ready for this.
If you are dealing with an impending stay at home mom divorce, you need to prepare yourself. Dealing with a divorce is difficult enough on its own. But, dealing with a stay at home mom divorce is an entirely different challenge. I will help guide you through all of things you need to consider during this troubling emotional and financial time.
This is not an article about trying to screw your husband over financially. If you reading for that purpose, just go ahead and press the "back" arrow on your browser. Your focus should be to take care of yourself and your precious children (child).
First Steps of Coping Financially With a Stay at Home Mom Divorce
If your husband just told you 5 minutes ago that he wants a divorce, this may not be the time for you to read this. Bookmark it and come back later when you have had a chance to deal emotionally. I am not recommending that the moment you hear "divorce" you start planning your finances as a single mom. Make sure you focus on saving the marriage first. (Leslie Cane has an amazing blog about how she saved her marriage.) However, do not just blindly worry about the marriage. If worse comes to worse, you need to be prepared to make it on your own.
Make a Budget
You may already have a budget for your family as a married couple living together. But, you need to now start a budget as a single mom. Using a budget as your first steps will help you address all the areas of your life that will be changing financially. You do not want to wait until the divorce is final and you have no idea what you are going to do to begin planning a budget.
If you have never created a budget before, now is definitely the time to start. There are tons of resources online to help you set one up. One of my favorite financial blogger, J.Money @ BudgetsAreSexy.com has a great list of the best free budget templates. The basic idea is to write down everything that you spend money on so you know how much it would take to support that lifestyle after your divorce.
When you are creating your first budget for your life after a stay at home mom divorce, you should make more than one. Make a different budget for each possible route you could take in your life. For example, I am/was an Army wife and was only working part-time. I made a different budget for different scenarios: moving back home and living with my parents for a while, moving home and getting an apartment, staying where I was, going back to school, working full-time, etc.
Every option you have, has different expenses associated with it. If I moved home to Florida, housing was going to cost more and so was child care. If I stayed where I was, I already had a job to work with. You have to think of your own personal life and the options/costs involved with each choice. By making all these separate budgets, you can compare how much each life choice would cost you.
Compare Expenses and Make a Plan
If you just got the news about a possible divorce, start thinking about where you are going to live when everything is all said and done. Call friends or family and find out if they have a spare room to rent or if you could stay with someone for free temporarily. Call around to different apartment complexes and find out how much they charge for rent and what utilities are included.
As a stay at home mom, you haven't probably had to worry about child care and you will need to start looking into it. Find out how much the rates are for full-time and/or part-time. Ask what time they open and close. Find out what kind of food they serve and take a tour.
Decide How You Will Earn a Living After Your Stay at Home Mom Divorce
Even though we don't want to admit it, stay at home moms really do depend on their husbands a lot. No matter how independent you are, you needed your husbands income to be a stay at home mom. Now, that your income steam will be cut off, you need to figure out how you will make a living.
Some moms find a way to still be a stay at home mom after their divorce. They do it through, work at home jobs, blogging (my dream job), starting a business out of their home etc. Check out the article on SheKnows.com about work at home mom jobs for some ideas.
Start Working on Your Resume
After taking a look at your budget, you will probably notice that you no longer have the luxury of staying at home with your little one(s). When I got the news of my impending divorce, I had just started working part-time as a waitress for extra spending money. I made my budget and went "oh sh*t" when I compared my cost of living to my earnings.
If you only work part-time or are a full-time, stay at home mom, you will probably be looking at entering the workforce again sometime very soon. This means it is time to build a résumé that highlights all of your marketable qualities.
If you have been a stay at home mom for a long time, you may want to read some resources about writing resumes specifically for stay at home moms.
Hang in There
Going through a stay at home mom divorce is not going to be an easy feat. But, stay strong for your own sanity and the well-being of your kids. You will make it.