I'm not sugar-coating this for you: Shit is real and it's going to get worse before it gets better.
Chances are you are either losing your mind trying to figure out how to work from home with kids around, or out of a job altogether and terrified about the future.
You are not alone. I am in it with you, as are tens of millions of other single moms around the globe. The thing about single moms is that 100% of us have been through some serious life-fucks in the past. You got through that mess, and you will get through this one, too. The upside is that everyone else is in a similar situation, so the social-pariah factor that single moms often deal with is less this time around. That is a powerfully good thing.
As for me, right now I am trying assuage my stress with efforts to focus on how I can serve others, daily exercise, regular games of Uno with my family, and lots of cooking (managing what my family eats three meals/day gives me a sense of control during these out-of-control times). I also try to tackle unattended practical matters in an effort to feel productive, including cleaning out my inbox, washing my makeup brushes, and trimming my bush.
Here, via my weekly+ email and social, I will share stories and tips from other moms' struggles, joys and successes as they are shared with me.
Please post in the comments your biggest questions, challenges, advice and tips for other moms. What is on your mind? Where to you find strength? How can you serve others?
Keep reading for more resources and updates on staying safe, sane, managing your money and otherwise surviving the fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- $500 Weekly Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant
- Money, single moms and quarantine
- Mental health and coronavirus
- Prepare for a recession
- How to stay safe from coronavirus
$500 Weekly Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant
As of March 26, Every week, I will give away $500 cash to one single mom, no strings attached.
The 2020 Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant has one goal: Give a hand to single moms struggling with money, health, stress, child care, illness and loneliness.
Qualifications are simple:
1. You're a single mom.
2. You need the money right now.
Single Mom Stimulus Grant Winners:
Maria Caudillo Delgado, in Austin, Texas, came to the U.S. from Mexico fleeing gang violence when she was 17, now she has 3 kids ages 8, 4, and 8 months old. She's currently a Legal Permanent Resident here but wants to take citizenship classes and learn English to be able to help her kids in their own education. She just began renting her own apartment in January, was sustainably working in housekeeping but due to COVID-19 they furloughed most hotel workers. The money would help her pay her rent during this crisis and help her focus more on the future rather than worry about the present. Maria is a client of the family shelter Posada Esperanza.
Marquita Thomas, Wilmington, Del. mom of 2, who lost her social services admin job to cancer, then a school bus admin job to coronavirus.[Previously, this was a monthly $1,000 Kickass Single Mom Grant, which celebrated single moms doing incredible things in the world. You're still doing incredible things in the world, but the world is very different today, so the program changed.]
Money, single moms and quarantine
If you live in the United States, you are likely getting a stimulus check of up to $1,200 for you, and $500 for each kid from the federal government. Here is a calculator to estimate how much you will receive.
This post in the New York Times answers all your questions about the stimulus checks, unemployment and small-business packages (including for freelancers and solopreneuers). To summarize:
Unemployment and coronavirus
- Current unemployment benefits are expanded for those who lost their jobs due to coronavirus, or must care for a family member diagnosed with coronavirus.
- Part-time and self-employed workers are included.
- In addition to benefits from your state, you may now qualify for an additional $600 per week.
- The bill provides all eligible workers with an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits on top of what your state already allows for.
For self-employed and small business owners: Paycheck Protection Program
This post has a great calculator to estimate how much small business loan you ma get from the Paycheck Protection Program designed to help small businesses and freelancers sustain the coronavirus epidemic. The loan is forgiven if you keep paying employees / yourself for 8 weeks, essentially making it a grant:
In summary, the CARES Act SBA Loan:
- Average monthly payroll expenses x 2.5 based on the past 12 months
- Payroll expenses include:
- Salaries up to $100,000, tips and comp time — including for contractors and freelancers
- Group health benefits
- Rent, utilities
- Retirement benefits
- State and local taxes for employees
Paid leave and Covid-19
From the Wall Street Journal:
Employees who can’t work because they have symptoms associated with Covid-19 or are under quarantine must receive two weeks or up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at their full rate or the applicable minimum wage, if higher.
If an employee is caring for a quarantined person or a child who can’t go to school or day care because of the pandemic, the employer must provide two weeks or up to 80 hours paid leave at two-thirds of the employee’s normal rate.
Employees who have been employed at least 30 days can also take up to 10 additional weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds their normal rate to care for children at home due to the outbreak.
Workers may be able to take leave intermittently, but only with their employer’s permission, according to fresh guidance issued by the Department of Labor.
Also, tax returns aren't due until July 15, but you can still file for a refund now.
What about your 401(k) and other investments in the stock market, now that investments are in the pooper? Three things:
- Do not sell! You will be selling low. Don't do that.
- Keep contributing to your 401(k) if you can, and I join many investors who are investing now that the market is low, and stocks are on sale.
- Beef up that emergency savings account. 12 months worth of expenses is great — but every little bit counts.
- If you lost your job, are worried about losing your job, or otherwise want to keep cash on hand — please keep cash on hand. An FDIC insured savings account is never, ever wrong. CIT Bank pays 1.8% APY for deposits of $100 or more in its money market account.
You are likely looking for ways to make quick money, or start or build an online business or job from home.
Mental health and coronavirus
This is the most stressful time of many peoples' lives — and it is no wonder. Every verticle of your existence is challenged:
- The globe is facing a life-threatening plague — and you yourself may have Covid-19
- Money / employment
- 24/7 time with your kids and everyone else in your house
- Struggling to homeschool — likely while working from home
- Relationship challenges
- Co-parenting challenges / nightmares
- General, horrible anxiety and depression.
How to deal with stress?
- Try to stay socially connected. I know I get really worn out speaking with friends and family afar, since the conversation always circles back to current events, and 100% of the news is horrible. I set a personal goal to reach out to five new people each day that I have not yet checked on. I don't always feel like chatting or IMing or talking to them on the phone, but I am touched when I hear from old friends or colleagues. Focusing on others can help allievate stress.
- Join our Facebook community, Millionaire Single Moms. Just knowing that others are in a similar situation can be comforting, even if you don't post.
- If you have a regular therapist, ask if they can conduct phone or video sessions.
- If you don't have a therapist, or you lost your job and benefits, consider an online therapy platform. Here is my list of top online therapy sites, which includes BetterHelp, an A+ Better Business Bureau rated online therapy app, which has a 7-day free trial and prices starting at $40/week for unlimited sessions.
Prepare for a recession
You can read more about how to brace yourself financially and emotionally for an economic downturn in my post, but here are the highlights:
- Slash spending and create a budget
- Shore up cash. A 12-month emergency fund is excellent, but save what you can. Every bit counts.
- Focus on a side gig
- Sell stuff you don't need for cash
- Maintain / build your credit score
- Don't cancel your life insurance — even when a plague heightens your fears about what would happen to your kids should you get sick or die, life insurance is critical. However, you may want to find a less-expensive policy. Bestow, an A+ rated carrier, offers life insurance for as little as $3/month with no lab or medical exam, guaranteed >>
- Make sure your estate plan is up-to-date and reflects your wishes. Here is our guide to estate planning and wills for single parents, including information on living wills and trusts with LegalZoom for $179 — including free attorney consultation.
How to stay safe from coronavirus
As for the big C(orona), here's a summary of what you can do now to protect yourself and your community. Remember: We are all responsible to each other now. Your choice now matter — no matter where you live.
After watching this video from a family physician on safely shopping for food, this was my recent grocery run:
- Sanitized shopping cart
- Quarantined non-perishables in the trunk of my car for 3 days
- Washed and sanitized 100% of food and products that entered my home
- Stripped buck-ass naked in the laundry room next to the kitchen, immediately laundered 100% of the clothes, coat and chonies I was wearing, then streaked across the house — past a nonplussed, sleepy 10-year-old son — to take a Silkwood shower of a lifetime.
This advice is based on National Institutes for Health backed research that found:
“The virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is stable for several hours to days in aerosols and on surfaces, according to a new study from National Institutes of Health, CDC, UCLA and Princeton University scientists in The New England Journal of Medicine. The scientists found that severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable:
- In aerosols for up to 3 hours
- On copper up to 4 hours on copper
- On cardboard up to 24 hours
- On plastic and stainless steel up to 2 to 3 days”
Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker,” her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.