As the economic recession in Nigeria takes its toll on state finances and organizations big and small, the home front is not spared. With job losses and unpaid salaries, homes and marriages are under serious crises due to financial pressure.
Last week we all woke up to hear the shocking news of a man who stabbed his wife and baby to death because he didn’t have a job and could no longer feed them but can only feed himself. Another chose instead to kill himself after handing over the responsibility of taking care of his household to his eldest son.
We hear of couples, even single mothers selling their babies to raise money to take care of themselves. As strange as this may sound someone had asked that since these people can no longer feed their babies aren’t they free to give them to people who can? A talk for another day. Kidnapping is no longer for so called criminals alone, people now as a way of making money off friends and families stage their own or family members’ kidnap!
With all these strange occurrences the law enforcement agencies sure have a lot on their hands, but you will agree they are a fall out of situation whereby people can hardly feed themselves and their dependents so they become desperate and easy target for vices. Dealing with the symptoms doesn’t provide long lasting solution, little wonder we hear similar news sometimes with a new twist every day. One may argue that when people have the right values even hardship would not be an excuse for criminal activities. While I agree with that, we have to keep in mind that we all don’t have same values and not everyone can stay true to their beliefs in tough times.
With the cost of food items and everything else skyrocketing with each passing day when the means is either shrinking or not even there, it is indeed tough to make ends meet. Mothers as usual are expected to stretch family resources no matter how meager so that there is food on the table and other needs in the home are met as well.
In a home where the bread winner has lost his or her job, or salaries and allowances are not forthcoming, or business is slow, we tend to pick quarrels and engage in needless fights at the slightest opportunity which causes a lot of tension thereby adding fire to an already bad situation. Instead we can unite as a family and be more supportive of each other knowing that no one would have wanted such in the first place. So instead of focusing on how terrible the situation is, we can think of ways to make it a little easier to deal with. Here are a few tips:
- Families need to communicate better and carry each other along. This helps reduce assumptions that could lead to waste of family resources. For instance a partner who isn’t willing to communicate with the other could go shopping and buy what is either available or not needed, when such funds could have been channeled to some other need.
- Most couples are not open about their finances and plans but there isn’t a better time to begin to trust each other and make plans around available resources to enable us achieve family as well as personal goals. Couples together can decide what project is important and urgent and which can wait until situation improves.
- Also families can help each other make good personal hygiene and lifestyle choices so as to stay healthy and cut down on medical expenses. Also families can work together to create menus that will encourage a cut down on consumption of processed food and encourage wholesome foods instead.
- The current economic realities should be communicated to children as well so they too can learn to make adjustments where necessary. For instance children may want to know why family outing or holiday is not as often as it used to be. Parents should be able to explain the situation in a way children can understand.
- Look around you and you will find that women are beginning to make lots of stuffs themselves. A few days ago I stopped to have a brief chat with a friend, I told her I needed to get a bottle of disinfectant around the neighborhood since I had missed it when I shopped earlier that day, surprisingly she offered me a bottle of disinfectant if I didn’t mind that it wasn’t branded. She had just learned how to make some household products for home use and that was her first attempt. If you have the time, learning to make some of products we use daily at home is one way to cut cost.
Families can find the strength to go through this trying period by seeking help and guidance from the Almighty through prayers, and by encouraging each other. Recession like any other phase in life will come and go, but a positive attitude, a mindset open to possibilities and a grateful heart will make all the difference.
Please share with us how you and your family are coping through the economic recession so other mums can benefit. Thank you!
Until my next post, #BeAwesome!
Image courtesy: allafrica.com