The greatest yet most rewarding challenge in life is providing for your family which is definitely worth the extra grind and hustle it takes sometimes. Not to mention the pandemic we are living through has made it even more challenging from a financial perspective.
From a cultural perspective the role of a provider use to be the sole responsibility of the father. However due to many factors this has shifted over the past few decades it is more common to see families that have both parents employed in the workforce.
According the Bureau of Labor Statics in 2021 the percent of both parents working with children under 18 was 63.2%. This is up 3.4% from 2020 at 59.8%.
First let’s look at the top three definitions of provide.
According to dictionary.com the top three definitions of provide are:
- to make available; furnish
- to supply or equip
- to afford or yield.
When we are able to make available opportunities, supply basic needs and afford the essentials for our families there is much happiness derived from this. This happiness that we experience is what keeps us going some days when life gets difficult and things get tough.
Whether you are married, a single mom or dad providing for your children there are many aspects of providing that we could discuss however I want to focus on three critical areas.
These are the core elements that when you boil it down are critical for every provider(s) to focus on and ensure they are doing the best that they can with the what they have to provide for their family.
Make sure you read the rest of this article to learn how to provide better for your family …
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Understand The Importance Of Providing For Your Family
It’s important to understand the importance of providing for your family. We must take a proactive approach in caring for our family as it enriches the lives of the ones you love. When you’re focused on taking care of your loved ones, it can be a lot easier to get through tough times.
Knowing that you’re doing everything you can to make sure your family is taken care of can give you a lot satisfaction and peace of mind. Finally there are so many benefits to each individual in the family as well as society.
Providing for your family is not babysitting or looking after your children. To compare providing for your family as babysitting is defining it as a transactional entity and hints that children are seen as a hinderance. To be honest there are days when can it feel like a bunch of thankless tasks but you get through those moments by remembering who you are doing it for.
There are many ways to provide for your family, and each one is important. You might not be able to do everything, but every little bit helps. Here are some of the most important ways you can provide for your loved ones.
Parents are roles models for their children and when they see you eating healthy and being physically active you are setting a great example for them to follow. Especially when the days are longer and kids are not in school, take the time to add more physical activity to your family’s calendar. This gets more challenging when they head back to school and then we have to balance homework and their other extracurricular activities can be hectic.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute starting with small steps to get your family moving more is the key.
They provide some ideas to get your family moving:
- Play a game of tag instead of watching television – Tag provides fun andphysical activity and it also increases everyone’s heart rate at the same time.
- Start a family garden – Home-grown vegetables and herbs are great money savers and ensure they’re available for healthy summer meals and snacks
- Go old school – Draw hopscotch or four square courts on the sidewalk.
- Plan a nature scavenger hunt. Use small nets and mason jars to catch butterflies or interesting insects, and collect flowers in the neighborhood or at a local park.
- Organize a neighborhood softball or kickball game – Help your children plan it with their friends. You can also plan healthy snacks and drinks when they need a break.
Another way to provide physical support for your family is by giving them healthy meals to eat. This can be done by finding recipes online that are both nutritious and affordable. I personally love to find new recipes online and try them out!
Or you can do what we did about 4 years ago… which was think outside the box and sign up for a meal box deliver plan. There is truly a meal kit for every household as they range from dietary preferences, price and serving size.
We are currently members of Every Plate because they have flexible menus every week and they have something for everyone in your family. They have the following categories:
- Vegetarian – Delicious
- Top Rated
- Family Friendly
They use less packaging and simple ingredients for delicious, filling meals that are easily doable. Their goal is to bring tasty value and convenience, not make you a chef. There is no commitment, and you can skip when you want and cancel any time. You can also skip weeks in advance in case you’re going out of town. Super easy… we love it!!!
Not only are the meal box plans nutritious and healthy, they also promote a reduction of food waste. Since grocery meals are not pre-portioned, there’s a higher chance you’ll buy too much. When that unused food spoils, it’s almost certain you’ll throw it out.
The New York Post has a great article that explains why meal kits are better for the environment than grocery shopping. In the article it states that a study done by the Department of Agriculture, estimates that up to 31% of the food produced in the US is wasted. Researchers reveal that since meal kits deliver only the food you need, the larger plastic footprint is offset by the savings from reduced waste.
Finally we love to order our meat from two different companies:
- First is Omaha Steaks because they have the best selection of steak, chicken, port, seafood, starters, sides and deserts. Theyas they do run some great deals to stock up your freezer. We have never had anything bad from them.
- Another company we recently started ordering from is Grassland Beef. We like them because all their beef is sustainably raised on family farms. When it comes to providing the best meat for your family these are our go to places.
This is one of the most obvious ways to provide for your family, but it’s also one of the most important.
Wise financial management is all about anticipating and preparing for the future. There are three areas that we must put action towards.
- Handling the costs of today and tomorrow
In our efforts to keep up with the everyday expenses, it’s easy to neglect the important long-term goals of our children. Or you may be caught up in our consumer-driven culture where many families go into debt because they want to keep up with the Jones’s. By doing this you are mortgaging your future and our children’s future.
When it comes to your children’s economic future we need to ensure we provide the necessary education to support their dreams. Every family has their approach, but we invested in a 529 college saving plan for our kids. You can save as little as $25 per month where it will grow more due to the tax advantages.
We must also set up a sinking fund in order to be prepared for the unexpected and make room for those special things you want to do with your family. This can be for special trips, going on a family cruise or planning a cross country trip to visit some of our nation’s national parks.
Check out my blog on sinking funds
2. Teach your kids how to manage money
You can never start too early when it comes to teaching our kids about money. Make sure you have open communication about money and how to develop the right relationship when it comes to money.
We recently signed our daughters up for the Greenlight debit card. The Greenlight debit card and app is a way for parents to help teach their kids healthy money management habits that will serve them in the future as they become adults.
Check out my blog where I did a review on the Greenlight debit card for kids or click the link below to learn more.
We also must model the right attitude about money to our kids. One approach you might consider is sharing some financial matters with them. You can do this by turning a month’s wages into cash, so your kids can see how money is divided among the different expenses. This will give them a greater understanding the family’s resources and how much things cost like groceries, electricity, school clothes, car insurance, etc.
Finally, I think it is always great to show your kids how to save money and to make use of coupons and deals when possible. There are many websites and apps that offer great deals on everything from groceries to clothes. We like to use the Groupon App to look for local deals or travel savings.
Last but not least one of the most important things you can do for your family provides them with emotional support.
According to the Medical News Today, “Giving emotional support is a way of helping people feel connected and less alone. This is not always easy, and different situations call for different types of support.”
This means being there for them when they need you and listening to them without judgement and respond emphatically. This means that we have to resist the urge to want to solve their problems or talk them out of how they are feeling. When we validate their feelings it lets them know that how they feel is ok. For the most part we as parents have probably experienced the feelings they are having and can relate.
Sometimes all our kids need to hear is that they are loved unconditionally no matter what. We must actively listen and give them our undivided attention so we can ask questions to better understand their experiences. Also, since kids do not have the ability control their emotions as well as parents they need to see how you respond to bad situations by modeling emotional intelligence.
It can also mean providing a safe and stable environment for them to grow up in. Your family members will look to you for emotional support during tough times. It’s important to be there for them when they need you. Just listening to them and being a shoulder to cry on can make a big difference.
It’s often said that children are our future, and it’s up to us to make sure they have a bright one. By providing emotional support for your family, you’re setting them up for success.
Finally, the emotional support you provide might look different, depending on the situation, cultural or social norms, and the people involved. However, there are some characteristics of good emotional support that apply in any situation Effective emotional support is:
- respectful, treating the person in need with dignity and consideration
- nonjudgmental, which means that a person does not judge the other’s thoughts, feelings, or perspective
- compassionate, providing reassurance and understanding
- unconditional, which means that the person does not need to do anything or react in any specific way to get support
- person-centered, meaning that it focuses on the wants and needs of the person seeking support