Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Separation and a New Path

So much has happened. The girls turned five, we blew past Christmas, we blew past Easter, Spring FINALLY made it’s way to the East Coast and the biggest change has been my separation from Mike B. to become a stay-at-home dad. Granted, not by choice and probably not what you were thinking when you saw the title of this post!

For the first time in nearly 18 years, I am no longer working with my husband and best friend. Not having him by my side to bounce ideas off of, or eat lunch with, or vent with, or just be with, has been a HUGE adjustment for both of us.

What happened? In February, my company decided to eliminate my position. They gave their reasons, I accepted them, I mean it’s not like I had much of a choice. They were kind enough to give me a decent severance and I am collecting unemployment (for the first time in nearly 20 years!). All that being said, having just bought a new house in August of last year, not the kind of news you want to hear. Plus the additional stress of now having to rely on his salary, which thankfully the company upped considerably and they gave him a promotion, just adds another psychological burden we didn’t need.

The fact of the matter is I knew it was coming. I was not happy with where I was NOT going in the company. I began to see a pattern where the meetings and information I used to be privy to and contribute to began to close to me. I was, and still am to a degree, disappointed. The company had been bought out by a much larger entity and I saw a lot of exciting things coming that I could be a part of. I was cautious but very excited.

The first few months had been rough for us, and our girls. While we try to shield them from our stress, I went through the typical reactions most people go through when losing their jobs and no matter how hard one tries, the stress bleeds through.

Adjusting to being a stay-at-home dad while also looking for work does not come easy to me. I am a borderline type A personality and I have always worked and worked hard and long hours. Without big projects, I go bonkers and start having existential conversations with the dog…my future in a nursing home perhaps? Mike B.’s expanded role and now having to partially do what I used to do has also been a challenge as he’s just exhausted when he comes home. The adjustment for both of us, as I still look for a job, has been challenging and frought with stress and worry.

As the weather finally starts getting warmer and I take stock of what needs to be done around the house, there is a certain advantage to not being employed. If I didn’t have to worry about money, I would take this time to really dig into those home projects that need to be done. Staying at home also has the advantage of more time with the girls. I have become much closer to my little ones, which I love. But, like any stay-at-home parent, it can be taxing at times and we are starved for adult conversation.

Over School vacation week, I did take the girls to Chatham, Cape Cod for 3 days to give Daddy a break. It was nice. Weather could have been better, but all-in-all, only a few minor melt-downs. We had an exciting and freakish storm one of the days we were there. We went to a Bike trail where I rented a bike and pulled them along in one of those little trailers…that was fun, and exhausting for me! And to end our stay, Miss Rose found a Mouse…half dead…in Uncle Jon’s house (one of their Godfathers whose house we were staying at).

Prepped and ready for take off!

Lunch time! Such graceful ladies…

Uhm excuse me, but I'm the one hauling your butts! Where's my nap?

Dinner with a beautiful little lady…I think I may need some Botox…

So sweet, so innocent…she demanded ice cream right after this shot.

The irony in all of this, there still doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to get things done even while unemployed!

I’m trying to plot my new path. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow-up. I’ve taken on a few freelance jobs, which has helped cash flow, but still looking for a full-time position. 

We have slowly adjusted to the new reality for the moment. It comes with its arguments, mostly induced by the stress of it all.  We will get through this rough patch, and truth be told, I am grateful it is not worse…knock on wood. There are a lot of people out there far worse off than I with little or no options. The occasional down day I have where self-pity creeps in, I banish by remembering just how lucky and fortunate I really am.
  • I have options
  • I have my husband whom I would take a bullet for
  • I have my daughters whose love sustains me and I will protect with my life
  • AND...I have a dog…whose existentialist conversations are profoundly moving…mostly because when the mutt passes gas, you want to move out of the room as quickly as you possibly can!


Tigerlilycat said...

Enjoy the opportunities this break is giving you! Before you know it, you'll be head first back into the rat race so start some of those projects now (if funds and energy permit). And so so happy the title was a teaser!!

Doug and Bill said...

Ugh. So sorry Mike! That sucks the big one (sorry had to say it). When Bill was staying home with Cristina for the first 16 months we fought a lot about finances. I begged him to go back to work and now we fight about how much he works. Enjoy this time. And you're right, it could be worse. I'll say a little prayer for you that your dream job appears magically before your eyes soon.

Oh...and your girls are SO BIG! My god, I can't believe how much time has passed since I've seen photos. They're beautiful and you're so lucky to have them in your life, and that gassy dog (must be related to ours). Take care. Aloha!