Dear Harriette:

My husband and I have been married for six years and have two beautiful children (ages 2 and 3). About a year ago – around the time the pandemic started – I lost my job. At first, my husband was extremely sympathetic and supportive about my struggle to find new work, but now it seems his patience is wearing thin. He makes passive aggressive remarks about being “the only one who pays the bills” and gets angry with me when I spend “too much money” on groceries.

I think he’s looking at it the wrong way. Because of the virus, our kids have not resumed school, and I think it’s convenient that I am able to take care of them during the day. If I were working right now, we’d be spending thousands per month on child care. I’ve had no luck in finding a new job, and, honestly, I do not really want to do anything but stay home and care for my kids. What should I do? – Mom of Two

Dear Mom of Two: Sadly, women have fared the worst during the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions have lost their jobs. According to a McKinsey report (bit.ly/372FpV3), women are 1.8 times more likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic than men and currently represent 54% of the current job losses in our country. Moms of young children have it especially hard, as you see, because of child care challenges.

You and your husband need to talk openly and honestly about life as it is today. The stress is real for both of you. Together, you have to figure out a way forward. Make a budget that is as lean as possible. Get support if you need it, including visiting a local food bank. Agree to work through this together. You can also look for online work, like telemarketing or data entry, with flexible hours that you can do from home.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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