A few weeks ago (the beginning of my fourth week of 80% time, to be exact), Rich lost his job. It was a bitter pill to swallow and left us both a bit shell-shocked. It happened before lunch so Rich met me and we walked over to the North End for pizza. This was Monday of that week of crazy warm weather and I had not seen the forecast so I was wearing my winter Michelin Man jacket. I ended up carrying my jacket but I was so distracted with thoughts and conversation that I didn't realize how warm it really was until later. (75 degrees in March!)
We've had so many ups and downs over these past six years. There is so much beyond our control in life and some of it just isn't worth the fight. I told Rich to look at this as an opportunity to enjoy some time off from the stress of working. To enjoy some time with the girls.
I currently do not plan to return to work full time unless my employer requires me to do so, which could happen. We can survive on my 80% pay (less $450 a month for health and dental insurance) but we may not be able to save anything. And we'll need to adjust some of our spending. We do have some savings although this isn't exactly what I had planned to use those savings for. We've weathered a lot worse and just as before, all will be fine. We'll find a way to make it work.
As parents, we walk a fine line between providing financially for our children and sustaining a career. Quite honestly, we are sometimes forced to make decisions that absolutely suck. Sometimes we give up careers in order to have that decent work/life balance. Sometimes we accept and work at jobs we don't really like. Life is a lot different when you have little ones.
Understandably, the girls were a bit confused with the sudden new schedule. Grammy now only watches them on days when Rich has class or if there are appointments. Parking at the train station costs $4 a day so in order to save a few bucks (and because on some days, we just don't have an extra car) someone drops me off and picks me up.
So not to sound like a bratty know-it-all but to the readers and commenters who want to know why I work, here's something to think about. The state of Massachusetts is an employee at will state, which means that on any given day, you could find yourself standing on the sidewalk holding a ratty cardboard box of personal items and a phone number for the unemployment office. (And if you think you've been wrongfully terminated, good luck fighting it.)
Then there's the cobra payment for health and dental insurance. Anyone want to guess how much that sucker will cost you per month for a family? If you guessed $1,500, you are correct.
One night during that first week, Rich was telling me about some adventure he and the girls had had that day. I remarked that he was a good dad and he said something like, "Well, at least I have that." You know what? That is more important than anything. At the end of your life, what would you rather be remembered as?
I know my answer.