Last Updated Jun 2, 2011 2:54 PM EDT
I've been thinking a lot about my own experience growing up in a single parent home (my mom raised five kids after my father left) recently because a very good friend of mine and her two young boys were just abandoned. One day they were a family and the next her husband was leaving her for another woman. She is now struggling to survive. Not only is she trying to deal with the emotions of the situation, but she has to raise her two boys and find a way to pay the mortgage.
So, what can must women do to protect themselves and their family? I'm glad you asked...
1. Stay connected socially. Your social network is your life-line in a divorce. You must have a network of friends you can call on for help -- a place you can stay while you and your family get back on your feet or someone to look after your children while you interview. If you go to church/temple, consider getting involved in small groups so you can extend and deepen your support network.
2. Stay connected professionally. Don't quit your network when you quit your job. Make sure your professional network grows, or at the very least, remains stable. A really efficient way to stay connected is to set up a meeting with two or three others in your network once or twice a month. You should also communicate at least once a month with every person in your professional network. Phone calls are best, but you can also ping them with a short email or note.
3. Keep up your skills. Mothers, and new mothers especially, have very little "free time," but keeping your skills up is critical. Invest the other 8 hours to keep your licenses and/or credentials up to date. You could also take a night class at your local community college. This furthers your knowledge and gives you a chance to network with professors (who are usually practitioners in your field by day) and other students.
4. Know your finances. This is a biggie gals. Don't leave it to your husband to handle everything. Schedule a "financial date" with your husband once a month to review credit card statements, investment accounts, and your budget. There are several EASY programs you can use to get a quick snapshot of your financial health, but my favorite is Mint.com.
5. Create a side business. One of the best ways to protect your family and earn some extra money is to start a side business in the other 8 hours. You could turn your hobby into a money-making business, start a blog, or invent something. For a starting point, check out the Top 10 Cre8tor Channels in my book The Other 8 Hours: Maximize Your Free Time to Create New Wealth & Purpose.
I'm passionate about this topic because it hits close to home, and unfortunately it affects a lot of homes. Most research shows that 45% to 50% of marriages end in divorce and that 84% of single parents are women.
Protect yourself and the women in your life by sharing this message.
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