Happy: Eric has received–and accepted–an official offer of employment. We will soon have an income and a dramatic drop in our background economic insecurity. Yay!!!
Scary: Stress & ambivalence! This takes different shapes for Eric and for me; I’ll leave his stuff private and just dish on mine. My internal monologue runs along these lines:
I am apparently (and involuntarily) going to become the isolated stay-at-home wife of somebody with a 40- to 50-hour-a-week job: not what we were picturing! How will I get time to write and otherwise do my own work? Can that still be the same kind of important? How can we suddenly be together that little? Oh look, there’s our equally shared parenting flying out the window: bye bye! We must move ASAP so 9+ hours a day at work doesn’t translate into 11+ hours a day away from home! Noah is going to freak the fuck out, because Eric has been his primary parent and has never worked more than part-time in Noah’s entire life, and I’m going to be the person dealing with the weirdness all day long. I am not going to get any sleep ever again, and I basically stop functioning physically, mentally, and emotionally when I’m chronically sleep deprived. It will be fun to solo parent an exuberantly risk-taking toddler and a freaked-out six-year-old in that state! Oh crap, we need to baby-proof at least one room now. Like, NOW!
Happy: Eric can stop looking for work, after many months of plugging away at that dispiriting project. Once the dust settles, I should be able to take a step back and think bigger-picture about my own career, instead of desperately applying for stuff that might keep us afloat. For the first time in our nearly 11 years together, we’ll have an income source and weekly schedule that’s not programmed to disappear or change dramatically at the end of a few months. We can think about the future in new ways.
Scary: We’re having a lot of trouble finding an apartment that’s appropriate for our needs and that we can afford. We keep going around in circles about when we should move, where we should move, how we should move, what we can afford, and what the lesser of various evils might be. Meanwhile, getting a job is expensive! Student loan payments suddenly have to be made, some kind of childcare arrangements need to exist if I plan to write at all, clothes must be purchased, health insurance costs rear their ugly head. Plus, it bites to encounter this ugly truth: anywhere within an easy commute of this particular workplace is going to be worryingly expensive.
Exhausting: Have I mentioned that Simon is teething and has started waking up for the day an hour or two earlier than he had been doing? So we’re muddling through all this in a state of blurry, hazy, low-tolerance-for-complex-thinking exhaustion. A few mornings ago I told Eric I needed to go brush my teeth; once I got to the bathroom, I realized that my mouth tasted like toothpaste, which is to say: I was so tired I had no memory of the tooth-brushing that had already occurred. Not the best state for handling big changes and jumping into problem-solving mode.
But clearing up a little: I’m starting to understand some of the big-picture issues, I think. Basically, our whole situation has flipped. For a over a year, we’ve had tons of time together but serious money constraints, so all our problem-solving efforts have been aimed at the various problems financial insecurity can cause. Now we’ll have some money but far less time and flexibility, and we need to shift to new strategies. The emotional stuff is feeling less unnerving as we accept that this is really real and get our heads around it. But that doesn’t help us find a new home, get into it, or magically shrink the commute, alas!