What to Do When Your Husband Loses His Job

Tips from women who've been there

husband loses job

My husband may lose his job if his company doesn’t get any work in. He will be unemployed.  I am a stay at home mom, and I am scared.  I have never been through anything like this. Any advice on what to do if my husband loses his job?  Asked by Samantha – Seattle, WA

Amy BrownSamantha, unemployment can be scary.  So can the uncertainty of the future and what it may hold.  This is when you look for support from women who have dealt with this issue.  Read on…

My partner just lost his job of 18 years, and I know that the prospect of unemployment is one of the most stressful times a couple can face. I’ve been finding the biggest challenge is how to not project all my fears on him but still be real and authentic in talking about the situation. I have found a few things that seem to be working well so far: 1) take care of yourself and encourage him to do the same. We try to work out, embrace healthy eating habits, and lean on others (as well as each other) for support. 2) Trust in him and his abilities. 3) Be proactive and explore the what if scenarios. Having even a possible plan is better than being unprepared.

Good luck to you and your family – I hope his company brings in the work they need!  Amy B. – 40 something

Amy C.My husband and I have been through a layoff, not too long ago.  There are a few things I’d suggest to you.  First of all, a layoff — with the money stress, unknown future, the job hunt — can be incredibly stressful on your marriage.  Supporting each other and being strong as a team may seem impossible at times, but please do what you can.  On top of everything else, you don’t want your marriage to suffer.  You will both need each other if this layoff does come.

Secondly, do not be afraid to let your community and family know what you are going through.  My husband ended up finding his next job with the help of a friend, and my neighbors were so supportive.  Several churches have support groups as well — where ever you can find emotional and job hunt support, take it!

Lastly, do not underestimate the power of a stay-at-home mom.  For most of history, it’s been the mothers who have made the difference in whether their family survived or prospered.  Take a look around:  any outgrown clothes you can sell on eBay?   Have room for a vegetable patch?  Do you have a neighbor who might be willing to hire you as the Afternoon Chauffeur (so much easier than being a nanny, and it can be invaluable to working parents)?  Can you find $10/week to start a Housewife Savings Fund? (I did that one year, and had enough to pay for Christmas presents.)  Are you able to sew/knit/jar/create something that can be sold at a farmer’s market? It’s time to think outside the 21st century box, and into what women have been doing for centuries to squeeze a few pennies.  Amy C. – 40 something

friend contacts you on social mediaTake it one day at a time and start getting ready now.  It is easier to make changes before he is laid off rather than wait until after.  Know that there are millions of other people in the same boat and you are not alone.  There is no shame in being unemployed or in cutting back to basics.  Make it game so the children aren’t fearful and the whole family pulls together.  Helene – 60 something


Marge G.Of course you are scared.  You have responsibilities, and along with those come fears.  They are natural partners.  But you fear something that has not happened yet, so do not let it overpower you.  Instead, prepare yourself in a productive way and maintain confidence in your husband’s ability to take care of his family.  He, too, is apprehensive and needs your support.  Begin by watching your finances and limiting your spending.  Pay down your credit cards and get all medical and dental checkups done while he is still covered by insurance.  If you have never worked, start volunteering to get some idea of what skills you possess.  If you have worked, brush up on those skills to make them relevant to today’s workplace.  In this economy, the job market is fiercely competitive, so quietly start networking and keep your eyes open for potential opportunities.  Widen your social circle and get yourself visible.  If your wardrobe needs updating, visit consignment shops for professional clothes at a reasonable price.   Think outside of the box for ways to make money and most importantly, if he does lose his job, do not feel you must hold to a certain social standing.   To keep your morale up, participate in low cost fun activities or join groups that involve people helping other people, such as church or service organizations.  If he remains employed, you will still feel more prepared for the future if you take these positive steps now.  Marge – 70 something



  1. I don’t know… maybe I am weird that way… but “unemployment” has never really scared me… I am mostly worried about the stress and worry it can cause for hubby but not about what’s going to happen! I know things will be ok… and like you said… you don’t want your marriage to suffer… It might be a “Mexican thing” that I don’t worry about that… I just know that if hubby is a hard working, responsible man… and main thing, God’s with us… then we’ll be fine! … Hubby and I went through a lot already…I won’t even go into details but we did have what Americans would call very rough patches (my hubby is American… and I say Americans because many Mexicans or people in many other countries would still feel rich if their life was “as rough” as it was for us) and stuff like that… Then when he got a job he had to work all day and also work at night cleaning offices… He was exhausted but he knew when he came home (wherever it was) but home to us, his wife and girls.. everything was ok… I was happy, I would make him the best meal I could even if it was just rice… and he felt like a king… I also made sure I always had flour and sugar and stuff like that to still bake good stuff for him… and honestly… nobody else needed to know about our struggles… I felt that was very private and we were NOT starving… so… why worry them? right? Things have gotten better and our marriage just grew stronger… but that’s just the way *I* see things! Good topic… very important to keep in mind that our hubby NEEDS US during that time! He doesn’t need to feel worse about being unemployed.

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