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 real-life 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: Do I qualify for a stimulus check?
- Mental health and coronavirus
- Prepare for a recession
- How to stay safe from coronavirus
- Tutoring near me? Finding a tutor online
$500 Weekly Kickass Single Mom Stimulus Grant
Every week starting March 26, I 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.
Beautiful update: I have received a total of $5,500 in anonymous donations from *three* sources. This means that for 10 weeks two moms will each receive $500 cash!
Email from a mom who asked to remain anonymous, and two bonus grants were distributed:
My husband and I are expecting a small stimulus check. We didn't expect one based on our income, and given that we are both lucky enough to keep our jobs and be able to do them from home, we've decided we'd like to donate it and sponsor two single moms for $500 each. If this were a few years ago I'd be in a very different position, and my husband remembered my struggle when we were dating plus what it would have been like for his single mom when he was a kid.
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 three 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 two, who lost her social services admin job to cancer, then a school bus admin job to coronavirus.
Ida Ndoye, a Bronx, New York mom of two: “I need the $500 now to buy diapers and food for my children for the next weeks, until I can get a response for food stamps.
“I used to work as a nanny in Greenpoint (Brooklyn). Due to the pandemic, my employers are now working from home. Being a full-time nanny, they offered me two weeks pay to help until things resume to normal. That was back on March 12th. Not being a citizen, I won’t receive any part of the stimulus check. I am thankful for the food pantry in my neighborhood which helps me with food and few diapers here and there for my infant.”
Bailey MacIntosh, mom of one, in Dayton, Ohio: “My father, who was a main source of help, committed suicide a few years ago. My stepfather is fighting a rare salivary gland cancer, and I am trying to take the strain off my mother. I am a certified chef, and I do independent contract work at a catering company that is now closed due to Covid-19. I tried to get unemployment but because I am an independent 1099 employee I am ineligible, leaving me with 0 income. Anything will help right now.”
Jasmine Isby, mom of one, Tupelo, Miss.: “Currently, no daycares or schools are open due to Covid-19 and my son isn’t able to watch himself, he’s only four years of age. My job [manufacturing] is forcing parents in this predicament to take a leave of absence with no pay and no eligibility to obtain unemployment and rent is almost due along with a light bill.”
Alisha Wilson, mom of one, Westminster, Calif.: “My work hours as a home health aid have been severely reduced to just 12 hours/week. I spent all of my stimulus check playing catch up on bills and buying food, diapers, and wipes. My bank balance is currently negative and I am unable to receive assistance from anyone I know as they are in similar situations due to the virus.”
Adonai Foster, mom of four in Beloit, Wisc.: “I'm behind on rent and bills and it's only me and my kids — and which one graduates in June of 2020. I'm a crew member at KFC, and due to Covid my hours were cut, so it's hard to stay a float working only 20 hours a week for $9.50 per hour.”
Tanika Hunter, mom of one in Baltimore, Md.: “I have been out of work since mid-March; I have been denied for food stamps and I live in a school district that does not have enough laptops to provide the students. My honor roll student has to rely on doing homework from my cell phone. She has vision problems and it is extremely hard for her to see the work. I do not want her grades to slide due to lack of resources.”
Tanya Domingos, mom of two, formerly a waitress, in Fall River, Mass.: “I get unemployment but that barley gets me through. I got kicked off SNAP because of my unemployment benefits so money is getting tighter. I don't drive so I have to pay for taxis, and my son is autistic so he has special appointments he has to go to.”
Vinneshia Covington, mom of two, Burlington, S.C.: “We recently moved cities, so for the first time in 6 years my children and I can have a home again. I got a job at Hardee's part-time. I walk 2 hours every day to and from work but it's worth it to finally be a little out the water, but I need help with bills.”
Christina Mills, mom of 1, Knoxville, Tenn.: “I am a foster mom of a precious 6-year-old son. I am now in the process of adopting him and we are both very excited! Finances have been tight as I rely on Social Security benefits. I do work as a petsitter, that came to a screeching halt with the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Jessica Morgan, mom of 3, Pennsgrove, N.J.: “My children are 5, 2 and 4 months and I am struggling to afford all their necessities. Due to Covid-19, I can not work because it is not safe for me or my children for me to work as a self-employed housecleaner.”
Andrea Weed, mom of 1 in Puyallup, Wa., lost her new business as a home daycare provider when the virus hit: “With the $500, I can pay for groceries and clothes for my 5-year-old.”
Brandi Snyder, mom of 4 in Council Grove, Kan., a store room attendant who lost her job: “I can't seem to get ahead because I never seem to make enough money, and I've been struggling so long that it feels like I can't breathe! If I could just get even a little bit of help I know we'll be OK, and maybe I can even be someone that my children will be proud of someday!”
Jasmine Sanders, mom of 1 in Las Vegas, is out of work as a Uber and Lyft driver: “I need to pay rent, keep our lights on, and have my car I order to get around. I have no income coming in at all and it’s so stressful.”
Tiara Jenkins, mom of 1 in Iowa City, Iowa: A para-educator who was laid off in March, she wrote: “Starting a summer job as a traveling CNA, but my car's transmission needs replacing to get back and forth or I won’t be able to keep this job.” Her Facebook profile name is “Tiara HighlyMotivated Jenkins.”
Da'Janee Chaney, Bronx mom of a newborn wrote: “I need $500 to help pay for my backed-up utility bills, get summer clothing for myself and my baby, and to get at least a big pack of diapers and some baby wipes. I'm currently in a job-placement program, I'm looking to get my GED and then go to college.”
Erikka Johnson, expecting mom with two daughters in Grand Rapids, Mich., whose hours as a direct-care worker were reduced: “I'm facing eviction due to working very low hours. With everything going on my girls and I can't afford to be homeless.”
Amanda Scott, mom of three in Oxford, Miss., lost her work as an office manager and waitress to Covid-19: “I'm raising two teenage boys and a 7-year-old daughter alone, but I'm giving it my best. All three need new clothes just in case school starts back. I'm trying the hardest I have ever to keep a roof over our heads and keep moving forward.”
Kay Zuanshi, 19, Starbucks barista in Greenville, S.C. “I'm raising a 7 month old independently. COVID has made it impossible to pay bills alone, as my hours have been cut drastically.”
Olivia Jeffers, mom of 5, and a chef in Hephzibah, Ga. “I have been unable to provide the basic necessities to maintain my home, or support my children being that I am unable to work and my vehicle is holding me back due to lack of maintenance and funds.”
Ashley Pratt, mom of 2, Pittsburg. “I am a single mom of two struggling to get unemployment after my job as an insurance appointment setter was eliminated. I don't have a drop of gas in my car or a dollar to my name. I'm literally going to McDonald's to steal napkins for toilet paper.”
Sharae Dillingham, mom of 4 in Indianapolis. “My car broke down and i just moved to this city. I lost my job.”
Britney Robertson, Houston nurse and mom of 1: “Although it is great that places are closing or making adjustments to help curve the spread of Covid, closing is not an option for hospitals. This money would help with childcare which has proven to be difficult due to childcare facilities closing and the fear of contracting Covid from others.”
Evangellene Torres, Jacksonville, Fla., mom of 2 who cares for her mom, who has Lupus: “I had to take a leave of absence when someone tested positive for Covid-19. Taking care of a 1-year-old and a 6-year-old, and my mom with health issues is a lot. I currently work at Home Depot and they cut my hours to 16 hours per week. I’m running out of options.”
Tiffany Hunter, Cocoa, Fla, nurse and mom of 3: “I have been furloughed due to the rise of Covid cases at my facility. On top of that I have to quarantine due to the fact I am Covid-positive. I have applied for unemployment and I have my daughter, my mother and also my nephew that moved with us 3 months ago due to his mother losing their place. The DCF worker has not been responding since they placed him with us, therefore we get no assistance as of now. I need help, the bills are still rolling in, and I have no income to pay them. I feel like I am losing control.”
Nicole White, mom of 3 in Akron, Ohio: “Had to stop work as a cleaner when our country hit a Level 4. I have 3 kids, and 2 have disabilities. I've been fighting for social security for two years now. My parents passed when I was young so I have no one to turn to.”
Francine Simplice, Jacksonville, Fla. “My son has 8 allergies at age 2 and I need help with money to buy food. I don't qualify for assistance. I'm also pregnant and the father left me. I worked in customer service, but I'm on disability because if postpartum depression.”
Ashanti Durham, mom of 1 in Los Angeles, who lost work as a special ed paraprofessional substitute: “I am currently homeless in need of basic necessities for my 2-year-old. Also need money for apartment application and or security deposit for apartments.”
Juanita Madden, pregnant mom of 2 in Nashville whose hours as a dog groomer were slashed: “I've had loss of income due to Covid, found out I was pregnant then recently my fiance passed away and I'm trying to do everything myself. This would help me keep my hope that things will get better.”
Patrice Marlow, North Charleston, S.C., mom of 3 lost work when Covid closed the restaurant where she was a server, and her income was limited by lack of child care.
Connie Papayani, mom of 5 and medical biller in Islip Terrace, N.Y. “My landlord needs his house back by October and I had less than $200 in income in June and July. No money in savings. Feeding kids on food stamps.”
Chianae Tihoe of Oakland Park, Fla., single mom of one who last her job as a Victoria's Secret manager due to store closure. “I'm behind in rent and being harassed with eviction,” she said. “Unemployment benefits in Florida are $119 per week that you may or may not get.”[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: Do I qualify for a stimulus check?
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: Do I qualify for a stimulus check?
- 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
Independent contractors and pandemic unemployment benefits
Unemployment benefits, including the $600 weekly bonus, have been extended to independent contractors including rideshare and delivery workers. There is more information at the websites of the Department of Labor and this helpful Forbes post.
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.
Immigrant resources during coronavirus
Your immigration status may preclude you from qualifying for unemployment and stimulus money.
Find your local food bank through the Feeding America website.
USDA National Hunger Hotline: 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM Eastern.
Government food assistance programs including SNAP / food stamps / WIC are enhanced during the pandemic.
Do you qualify for food stamps? Each state has its own income limits. Check with your local agency to see if you qualify. As one example, here is the current income limit chart for Pennsylvania:
See if your local schools offer free meals for families with children, and food programs for senior citizens.
Mental health and coronavirus
This is the most stressful time of many peoples' lives — and it is no wonder. Every vertical 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.
Listen to Wealthy Single Mommy founder Emma Johnson interview BetterHelp therapist Haesue Jo about anxiety, depression, isolation — and how to find joy, relief and beauty — during the COVID-19 pandemic, on her Like a Mother podcast:
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 alleviate 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 counseling platform. Here is my list of top online therapy sites, which includes BetterHelp, an A+ Better Business Bureau rated online therapy app, which offers financial aid and prices starting at $35/week for unlimited sessions. BetterHelp membership includes free support groups, and offers counseling for teens and couples.
Prepare for a recession
I read business news all the live-long day and 100% of economists around the world agree: We are well into a global recession, and likely a depression. You need to take this 100% seriously, and act accordingly now.
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. Here is a free emergency budget from Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit that helps women of all incomes and ages achieve financial independence.
- Shore up cash. A 12-month emergency fund is excellent, but save what you can. Every bit counts.
- Struggling with debt? Find a 0% balance transfer credit card.
- Focus on a side gig, and keep those multiple income streams coming!
- Sell stuff you don't need for cash
- Maintain / build your credit score. If you have a low credit score, Experian Boost on average immediately increases user's credit score by 13 points!
- 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 $8/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.
- You need disability insurance. If you do not have disability insurance through a job, Breeze disability insurance plans start at $9/month for people aged 18 to 60 years old, with monthly benefits ranging from $500 to $20,000. Get a free quote in minutes from Breeze >>
Free things during the pandemic
- This site has a comprehensive list of grants for individuals, artists, small businesses and non-profits.
- Just Dance workout videos on YouTube are my current favorite way to get exercise with my kids. I highly recommend picking a full workout, because that is at least 30 minutes that you don't have to negotiate with your rugrats.
- The New York Times made all of its coronavirus news + newsletter 100% free.
- BetterHelp provides unlimited online therapy for free for 7 days.
- 450 Ivy League classes for 100% free. Pay special attention to the coding/programming classes — huge growth industry eager to hire women.
- Don't miss the Yale Happiness Course. FREE.
- Cool, virtual free tours of national parks and museums.
- Get a free increase to your credit score with Experian Boost — which automatically increases users' credit score by an average of 13 points!
- The Savvy Ladies, a nonprofit committed to closing the wealth gap, is offering a free debt course, as well as a free emergency budget spreadsheet.
- Livestream concerts and music fests for free and more here.
- Tons of free movies, TV shows and other streaming from HBO, Hulu, Amazon and others
- Stream hundreds of Broadway shows for free
- Increase to your credit score immediately with Experian Boost — which automatically increases users' credit score by an average of 13 points!
- 102 ways to give back during the coronavirus — giving and love are free!
- Slash your bills for mobile, Internet, and other subscriptions with TrueBill, which negotiates deals on your behalf, and then takes a cut of savings — so it is free to you (I used TrueBill to cut my monthly AT&T bill by $16 while also securing a bigger plan, plus $23.20 in monthly savings from my TimeWarner/Spectrum Internet bill).
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”
That said, there has also been plenty written that staying home and away from others as much as possible, wearing a mask when in public, and washing hands for 20 seconds are excellent ways to protect yourself and others.
Tutoring near me? Finding a tutor online
Are you struggling to help your kid with homeschooling? Is your student falling behind because schools are closed? Do you just need some freaking help with schoolwork so you can get a break and earn a living?
In-person tutoring limited right now, but I successfully found a great tutor for my son via an online platform. Here are ways you can find affordable online tutoring for kids, as well as online homework help.
- Ask around via your friends, educators, or community Facebook group for a recommendation.
- Your child's teacher may know someone — or be willing to tutor themselves.
- A grandparent or family friend may be happy to help — for free
Online tutoring sites
These virtual platforms offer tutoring services for affordable prices, as online tutoring rates start at $30 per hour — which can be much cheaper than in-person tutoring:
- Sylvan Learning Centers
- Tutor.com, a service of The Princeton Review
As these services about:
- Private tutor (one-on-one tutoring)
- After school tutoring
- Summer tutoring
- Kindergarten tutor
- Elementary school tutoring
- Online homework help
- Tutoring for high school students
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.