It started off like a regular Monday. I got up at an insanely early hour to get some work done before dropping my 6 year old and my 3 year old off at their respective schools, like I said, just a regular working Monday. But by mid-day I no longer had a job. WHAT?!
I was laid off. It came as a complete and total shock to me, I had no idea it was even a possibility. Oh my Dios! By the time I had to pick up my 6-year-old daughter from school, I had turned into a sobbing insecure terrified unemployed mess. How would I explain to her why I was crying, why I was so upset? I decided all I could do is tell her the truth.
You might think that a 6-year-old does not need to be burdened with the truth of a parent being laid off, but hear me out. My daughter notices when I'm even a tiny bit upset and she doesn't like it. What can I say? I'm one of her favorite people. If I were to show up all teary and upset and not tell her what was going on, she would worry — and not only that, she might think it had something to do with her. So I told her in an age-appropriate way.
She looked at me for a few moments and then asked me if not having my job meant that I would have more time. I said yes and she smiled and said, "well, then it's kind of a good thing for me," and gave me a kiss.
I explained to her that I no longer worked for my former employer. She asked me why, and I told her they didn't need me anymore. She wanted more details so I said, "they need to save money and if they don't have to pay me, then they can save some money." I went on to tell her that if she noticed that I was sad or crying that it was because I was getting used to the change in my life and that I would be fine — that we would be fine.
She looked at me for a few moments and then asked me if not having my job meant that I would have more time. I said yes and she smiled and said, "well, then it's kind of a good thing for me," and gave me a kiss. I love her!
I'm glad I told her because I have been sad and I have been a mess, but now she knows why and isn't worried about it. I'm also glad I didn't tell her things she didn't need to know — like that I'm worried about money, and that I'm scared about the future, because those things she doesn't need to know. I'm here to help her understand and make her feel safe, not to make her worry about things children shouldn't be worrying about.
If you're wondering about my 3-year-old and how I broke the news to her, I didn't. She's still so young that anytime I'm at the computer, she thinks I'm working. So as far as she knows, I still have a full-time job. She also gets home after her big sister and by the time she's home, I'm too happy to be around both my kids to seem sad.