When a Father Dies, How Does Mom Go On?


afford to be a single momIt's one of those questions that keeps me up at night: What would happen if my husband were no longer here? As a working mom, modern woman, and daughter to a single mom (for a period of time), one would think that I'd have all of this figured out. Financially, anyway. Emotionally I would never be able to figure it out. But when looking at the nitty gritty of raising two children to successful adulthood, it's terrifying to realize that 75% of our household income would disappear along with my husband, if god forbid, anything were to ever happen to him.

It's what Brooklyn mom, Jennie Perillo, is facing right now. Her husband Mikey died suddenly of a heart attack two weeks ago leaving her alone to parent her 3- and 8-year-old daughters

As a food writer, Jennie was not the main bread winner, yet will also not be entitled to her late husband's social security benefits due to the income she does have right now. She's in a tough situation, and a fund has been set up to help out the Perillo family. The family. Because it's not just you anymore, once you have children. You can't just temp, or wait tables, or simply skip that movie, when you have two little people in your house. Ramen noodles may be for dinner every night, but you'd better have more than one packet, or someone is going hungry.

It's simply something that you don't imagine happening when you have young children around you, so full of life and promise of the future. A life insurance policy can help a widow with grown children -- and living alone -- take care of the bills, and have a cushion. But when you're raising toddlers, there are too many years of care left after the money.

Whether you've cut back on work to be at home with the kids, or you just stopped aggressively climbing the ladder for the same reasons, a single mom's income can be dramatically less than her husband's. I know mine would be.

So other than help out Jennie Perillo by spreading the word, and donating to the Bloggers Without Borders account, I think I'll start to re-assess our family finances. Nothing could replace my husband, the father to our wonderful children. But being prepared financially would at least allow us to focus on each other, instead of the bank account, if the worst did happen.

Would you be okay, financially, if your partner was not around?


Image via Nina Matthews Photography/Flickr

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sarap... sarapunkinpie88

Yes, but I would not be able to stay at home any longer. We are in the process of getting life insurance policies, but for the next two years we will be crossing our fingers.

Ninja... NinjaRainbow

It was tough when my brother Phillip died, HE was the one raising my daughter as her father since her biological father has nothing to do with her. He helped me out no matter what I needed. When he was killed I crumbled, my only support system was gone. My daughter was only two but she knew he was gone. I worked three jobs to keep us above water along with raising her on my own. My family has pretty much shunned me since I was 14 over drug abuse. The hardest part was accepting it, I mean Phillip saved my life by dragging me out of an abusive relationship. He wasn't my Husband but if it wasn't for him we wouldn't have had the stable life we had. I miss him so much today still and my daughter does too. But we could only take it one day at a time and I still have to do that.

SandM... SandMsMama

Idk what I would do.. I'm a sahm, frankly bc I'm the only one I trust with raising my children.

Melis... Melissa042807

I think I would be. It would be tough, but we both have good life insurance policies and both our families live locally and are very suppportive. I know single moms with young kids who are not single by choice (husband passed away or left them) and they make it work, so I know I would too. Somehow. When you have kids, you just suck it up and make it work.

xavie... xavierlogan09

nope. This is why i am going to college. I have to be realistic. My fiance might not always be here for whatever reason. I need a good income to support my son on my own if i had to.

mommix4 mommix4

I haven't worked since I was 17,I'm now 31. But I don't stress about it. I know if that happened God would have my back

buffa... buffalove23

Not to be cynical....but when was the last time god gave you a paycheck? God may help you if heaven forbid something happened but who knows how far down you'd be?

momto... momtolittleg

We have a large life insurance policy on both of us- enough to pay off the house and car and all debt with money left over for college for my daughter.  On my teacher's salary, my daughter might have to come out of preschool and go back to being cared for (for free) by grandma, but we would be ok.  Without the life insurance, I wouldn't be able to afford our mortgage and would have to sell the house and get an apartment or something, but we could probably make it.  She'd be paying for her own college.

sweet... sweetmom1007

Oh my! I'd be ok with life insurance but my inlaws would have to help me so I can work.

Susan Delly

I'm from Missouri so if push came to shove, I'd just move back home to where my family lives.  With that move alone, I'd be ok raising my son.  Missouri is so much less expensive than California. 

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