Post Christmas Blues #NoMoneyMoProblems
Well, here it is. The day after Christmas. My family, the last of which visited today, has all left. The pre-Christmas season calm and quiet has returned and this year's post-Christmas blues is back with a vengeance, albeit rearing its ugly head in a new and different way this year.
At this time, my family and I are struggling financially. Not "sell our house" struggling but definitely "scrounging to make ends meet" struggling. As some of you know, I was laid off in April, at five and a half months pregnant, from a job that I adored and thought was secure. It turns out, that was not the case.
Well, being the big ol' pregnant lady, my employment options were limited, to the say the least. So going on unemployment was our best option. Well, six months and some odd weeks later and here we are. We have chosen to try and make it work with me being home. Among other reasons; the cost of daycare is astronomical, it doesn't seem financially feasible, and I am a firm believer that my baby needs her mama. It makes my heart ache to imagine my sweet girl crying because she is uncomfortable, or in pain, or needs soothing, and being only tended to, not truly cared for. It is every parent's right to choose for themselves, and LORD KNOWS, there are moments where I crave the adult interaction of a 9-5, but I crave being with Everly more.
That being said, I am doing some work at home, which allows me freedom where my schedule is concerned, but not so much freedom where finances are concerned. A friend of mine once said "Money is like oxygen. When you have enough, you don't think about it but when you don't have enough, it is all you think about." Hot damn is this true. Slowly but surely, our mounting bills that we committed to before being laid off, coupled with our newest addition, drained anything I had in my bank account.
Mike makes good money. And he works really, really hard for our family. But what does a family do when you are slashed an entire income and have a mortgage, car payments, insurance, groceries, diapers, etc?
It's ugly. Money is an ugly topic. It's not a safe dinner conversation piece and most definitely not safe bar talk. Hell, we don't even like to discuss it in our home, for it is a sad reminder of how we can try our hardest but sometimes, we just fail.
Christmas was a rush. It was full of adrenaline. Leading up to Christmas, we were able to focus on "just getting through" and giving our children a good holiday. We would never dare sharing our hardships with them - after all it is our burden. But that feels pretty rotten, too. I'll be damned if our financial worries don't creep into every avenue of our lives - our attitudes, our interactions, our nightmares. I will tell you this - I spend most of my day worrying about finances. So much so that I can be sitting with my daughter but at times am not truly present.
Christmas gave us the gift of not worrying for a day. We were able to pretend the problem didn't exist. We woke up with many gifts under the tree for the kids, but we both knew the other person was just holding their breath. Amid all of the laughter and smiles, I wept inside because I couldn't get Mike a proper haul.
Doing without the excess is one thing. It comes with its own challenges - especially when we are used to not having to worry. It's when it gets really scary that it shakes you to the core. It's when you wonder what bill you can skip, or how you can cut your grocery haul down to the necessities, or when you consider applying to financial assistance. It hurts. It weighs so very heavily and it is horribly humbling.
As parents, we do what we have to do. We have to trust our guts. While I know, in theory, it would be easier in the long run to leave her for 8 hours a day, but I won't ever get that time back. I KNOW this is the right call. I know that we can figure this out.
But can we? Am I making the wrong choice? What do we do next month? How long can we last like this? Other moms just do it, right? Is it more important for me to provide the emotional security for her, or the financial security?
Everyone has their opinions. Some, I am sure many, of you would say to suck it up. But in my heart, I can't. When I was laid off, I felt like I failed her before she was even born. I was a failure and not even a parent yet. At times, most days, I hate myself for that failure. But I fear I would hate myself more if I gave up and gave in.
I don't know. I don't have any sage advice. I wish I could wrap up this post with a pretty bow of wise words but I can't. This is my life right now. We are facing this as a family and we are just trying to survive. Hopefully, one day soon, we can thrive, not just survive. In the meantime, all we can do, is love enough to fill in the gaps.
Happy holidays and a worry free 2017 to you, my friends!