When Your Husband Is Unemployed – A SAHM’s Perspective


I don’t want to assume everyone knows what SAHM actually means. It means Stay At Home Mom. Meaning I don’t go to work and earn an income.

As of this week, my husband will be out of work for 5 weeks. Our only income at this point is unemployment. And believe me when I tell you I’m not AT ALL confident that we’ll be getting those checks much longer. The California economy is in the toilet right now. Yesterday it was announced that because CA lawmakers couldn’t come to an agreement about the state budget, they will be laying off 20,000 state employees. How much longer before the state says, sorry, there’s just no money to give the tens of thousands of unemployed people in our state alone?

CNN reports that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued 10,000 layoff notices Tuesday, affecting a wide spectrum of

state agencies and employees, in an effort to deal with the budget crisis, a spokesman said.

Another 10,000 layoff notices might be sent Wednesday, the spokesman said. All the layoffs would take effect July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

Anyhow, we’re a one income family. We’ve obviously cut out all unnecessary spending to try and make that final paycheck and unemployment money carry us through. A problem I’m starting to see is that Jason is now competing for the same jobs with ousted CEO’s and people that were much higher on the food chain than he’s ever had to compete with before. People who used to make six figure incomes are now having to settle for lesser jobs just to be employed. This means taking jobs that Jason, and others like him are well qualified for, but can’t get because someone who had once never dreamed of taking “that” job, are now forced to do so, just so they can stay afloat.

One of my biggest frustrations comes from the recruiters. Wait wait wait! I’m not going to slam recruiters here so if you’re a recruiter keep reading, please.

I’m glad that he gets calls and emails from recruiters telling him about job opportunities. While none of these opportunities have panned out, it’s nice to know people are looking at Jason’s resume and think he’d be a great candidate form Company X. Where I find myself the most frustrated is when they call, tell you about an “opportunity” and send you the job description, then ask you to let them know if you’re interested or not. So Jason does just that. He reads it over, sometimes sends it to me, and then replies back with yes, I’m interested. Over and over that’s it. There’s never any kind of follow up saying, thanks for the interest, the position has been filled. Thanks for the interest, but Company X doesn’t feel you’re qualified. Thanks for your interest, but we’ve just hired some other poor unemployed sap that’s getting paid $50k less than he’s really worth.

Jason even had a face to face interview with a recruiter who was acting as a screener for the company that was hiring. Jason left the preinterview feeling really good and hopeful. The recruiter flat out told him he was a shoo-in. Guess what? That was the end of it. Jason emailed the recruiter and I’m not really sure what came of that.

Look, if you’re a recruiter and you’ve stumbled upon this post, please take this to heart. Don’t tell someone they’re a shoo-in and NOT FOLLOW UP. Ok, so he didn’t get it, please send an email saying as much. There’s nothing harder for both of us than having my husband’s hopes lifted by a recruiter with yet another “opportunity” only to never ever hear back from that person again. Just send a simple, I’m sorry but you’re not the guy.

And if you are a recruiter that stumbled upon this blog post, thank you for what you do. Thank you for helping people find jobs they otherwise wouldn’t find without your help. All I’m asking is that you remember the people you’re trying to help are worried sick about their future and that of their families. Please, just send a follow up if they didn’t qualify. That’s all I’m asking for. That’s all anyone wants. They just want to know, and not wonder for days. Just write up a little script or something that kicks off a rejection email. We all just want to hear something, anything.

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Jen Tucker

I'm a wife, mother of three and stay at home mom. I consider myself blessed to have such a wonderful network of friends and family around me. It may not be large, but it's an important one. I look forward to sharing my stories with you, and it is my hope that I can bring a smile to your heart as you read.

3 thoughts on “When Your Husband Is Unemployed – A SAHM’s Perspective”

  1. Thank you so much for your realistic description of life in an one-income household! My husband and I are in the same situation (for almost a year now) and I agree that the recruiters are a source of great frustration. As I write this I hope that your husband has found full-time employment … we are still hunting, but we are definitely learning valuable lessons along the way about being a team and sticking together … those marriage vows have really kicked in and I am grateful that we have our health and each other.

  2. As a SHAM and with husband just laid off I stumbled upon your blog. Help! I am so worried about how in the world am I to pay the bills with an unemployment check less than 10% of husband’s former salary salary? While my husband may have a job lead it isn’t secure for another 6 months. Unemployment will not even pay for the mortgage. We do not have credit card bills or car payments, just parent school loans from college and utilities and insurances. Due to medical problems we both have to be on COBRA which is $200.00 more a month than previous medical plan. I am afraid to even shop for groceries. Since we have been eating healthy, mainly raw and organic for years (we eat vension, not store meats) we eat mainly fruits and vegetables which are higher priced where we live. I always thought I could work if in such a position but when I went to look for work my experience is over 40 years old and there are too many newly unemployed ahead of me with the few jobs available. I would appreciate any comments you may have for me regarding this whole new experience of unemployment at our 35th year of marriage. P.S. While we have 2 children they both live in other states (more than 24 hrs driving time away) and have families but are dual incomes just to keep afloat as well. Thanks!

    1. I wish I had some advice for you, but I don’t. I’m sure there are plenty of websites out there that do give solid advice on how to get through tough times. I’m sorry you’re going through this, as we are going through it again too. Just hang in there.

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