COVID-19 Conversations: Unemployed During Unprecedented Times

Rachel and her eight-year-old daughter are currently living with Rachel’s father in California. Before the pandemic, Rachel had started a new job and was making plans to move back in with her husband, her daughter’s father. But since losing her job, she can’t afford the move she’d planned on.

Selfie of a woman with a mask and glasses.
Rachel shares her story about parenting during COVID-19.

How has life changed?

Rachel: Life in general right now is a complete change from what it’s been… from being okay financially to not being okay financially now and becoming a teacher and having to teach my daughter her schoolwork. Everything’s been a complete change.

I don’t have any type of income right now… it’s stressful. It makes things harder, to be able to know if you’re going to have a roof over your head or have gas to get anywhere that you need to go… to make sure that we have food on our table and water and electricity.

We [Rachel and her husband] were trying before this to move back in together, so that we would be there together to take care of our eight-year-old daughter… he lost his job and… I ended up losing my job, it didn’t allow us to move out together anymore… all the money we saved to put our deposit on a home and be able to pay our monthly rent is going now to make sure that our bills are paid.

How are you and your daughter doing?

Rachel: I would say our relationship actually feels a bit more stronger… It has brought us a lot closer, so I do enjoy that… she’s home with me, I don’t see too much of a change in her. I don’t feel that she’s acting any different or seeming sad or worried about the whole situation that’s going on.

In my daily life, it makes it more stressful just being in the house and just trying to stay in and not going out. It feels depressing, it doesn’t make you want to do anything, it doesn’t make you want to clean your home, it makes things hard, but then you don’t want your child to see you that way. So, you try your hardest to still get up and make her breakfast, and make sure she eats lunch, and make sure she eats dinner. And make sure she does her homework for the day for the school.

What do you do to keep a sense of normalcy?

Rachel: We’ve been watching movies together. That mother-daughter bonding. We color, I’ve been baking with her, so teaching her how to bake… For her, there’s been changes, but her learning to cook and bake is something she loves. I’ll take that over doing some school work some days.

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