The stereotypes have shifted. We are living in times which can suddenly flip our normal family life on its ear. Almost overnight, you may find you are having to switch roles, and struggle to find a new way to balance the loads. This is the tale of my Modern Day Prince Charming - does he sound like someone in your life?
|He cooks. He cleans. He changes poopy diapers. He's the Modern Day Prince Charming.|
After a long stretch of unemployment, my amazing husband deserves a tribute today as he starts his new job!
|Never pass up an opportunity to post a picture of fireworks. That's my motto.|
We had just taken the best vacation of our lives, to Walt Disney World with my parents, in January 2009. Got a heckuva good deal on our package - a "Special Offer" that Disney was running, due to the sagging economy. Little did we know, that the first day back to work after our trip ... my husband would be laid off.
This particular job was fantastic, and had relocated us from two states away just a few years prior. It had enabled me to be a stay-at-home mom, something we had not even previously let ourselves dream of. It demanded alot from him, and he was often exhausted, but we were grateful and happy for our circumstances.
The longer he worked for this company, however, the harder it was to keep up our morale. We became increasingly aware of their propensity for layoffs. This was the kind of employer that views their employees as easily dispensable ... lay 'em off if you get slow ... just hire 'em back when you get busy again ... then lay 'em off again when you get slow. Maybe that is a sad reality at many work places. Personally, I haven't had to work anywhere with that approach to doing business, and I found it disgusting. Needless to say, it began to wear on us both, leaving us with the sensation of always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It felt like working for the cold hearted Wicked Stepmother, with her holding our entire fate in her claw-like hands. And there was nothing we could do about it.
|Would you enjoy having your whole family dependent on her? Yah, not so much.|
Living off of one income is great if you can swing it, but having all your eggs in one basket like that can be nerve-wracking. Plus, we LOVED where we lived! I had family here in town that we were thrilled to be close to. We had gotten all established with a new circle of friends, and enjoyed every aspect of the great outdoor opportunities Colorado afforded us. And to thicken the plot - for his particular occupation, this employer was the only game in town. So when he lost his job, among other things, the thought of having to leave just broke our hearts.
So it was a blow. It is to anyone who goes through such an event, and I know that many, many people have gone through such an event. First, we were shocked. Then, we were scared. Finally, we just felt numb.
Well, here's the good news: we weathered the storm, and were able to avoid moving away. My husband is much more present with us all, now that he is no longer being physical, mentally, and emotionally drained by his 13 hour shifts. Something opened up in my field locally (a fortunate surprise, as this was unusual), so I went to work and he became my Modern Day Prince Charming. And he was able to flourish in this role! Disappointed as I was to see this necessary shift come about, I couldn't have been more proud of how he handled it. Can you imagine your husband cleaning the house, taking care of the kids, doing the laundry, and having supper cooking when you got home from work? Those things are HARD! For a WOMAN! He didn't do these things perfectly, but I hadn't done them perfectly, either.
I confess that for my Type A personality, I did have to adjust my attitude, and learn not to be so critical. I caught myself a few times, annoyed that something hadn't been done "my way". Really, Tami? Are you really actually irritated that the underwear your husband just laundered and folded were folded in half, instead of a tri-fold?
He threw himself into it, even going through a phase early on where he was baking bread on a daily basis. I thought that was really cute. Until his bread started turning out way better than mine ever did. Then he started complaining about how "it was raising too much". His WHOLE WHEAT bread. RAISING too much. Ya, we had to have a little chat about that. Bragger.
The bond that he has developed with our daughter, from being her primary caregiver, is a touching thing to see. Because she was 3 when I went to work, she does not recall the times we spent together when I got to stay home with her. I admit, I struggled to come to terms with that. The moment that hurt the most came when she was 4, got sick in the night, and only wanted her daddy. Ok, that one still almost makes me cry, to this day. You are supposed to want your mom when you are sick. I still do. But it's hard to resent such a beautiful relationship.
I know there are many families out there who have had to all chip in and figure out a way to struggle through these recent, tough times. Many have had to go through role reversals, such as we did. If you are having a hard time with that right now, I'd just pass along to you the truth that I have always reminded myself of when my situation is less than ideal: Nothing is permanent. We focused on the good aspects of our life during this time. Money was tight, but we had what we needed. Our lives were much more flexible than they had been before. And we had alot more time to spend together. I wish the same blessings for you all!
So as you head off to work today, honey - I'm so proud of you. I love you. Thank you, my Modern Day Prince Charming, for all that you have done and continue to do for this family.
By the way, no regrets on having blown that big wad of savings on our Disney trip, right before heading into poverty. Worth. Every. Penny. :)
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Upcoming post: Why in the World Would I Make A Cake From Scratch?!