The downturn economy done turned on me

NS December 16th, 2009

fuck money

Though I know all about the recession and that unemployment is scarily high (7.9% in the UK and 10% in the US), I’ve been lucky in that no one close to me has lost their job or their house or anything like that. Sure, everyone is downsizing and being careful and cutting back and worrying, but it hadn’t had a personal, possibly profound effect on me until Monday. Because two days ago, while I ran between my bedroom and bathroom in the midst of a violent and unforgiving stomach virus, The Noble Husband (who had the same virus, on the same day) came to inform me that his boss had just called and told him that his role had been terminated at the company he is contracted out to and that after Christmas he is to report back to his employer’s offices where they will “try to find him something but there are no guarantees.”

No guarantees. In January, the worst month of the year for lay-offs, in what is the worst time for jobs in the UK in 13 years. And we are told this while being violently ill and 11 days before Christmas. The timing was impeccable, let me tell you.

I rolled around in bed, writhing in pain from the hot knife of pain in my stomach, while hot tears rolled down my face. I would’ve sobbed if I hadn’t thought it would only make me sick again. I wouln’t have ordered that last set of gifts from Amazon, only hours earlier, if I had known this was going to happen. I wouldn’t have had my hair cut and highlighted, wouldn’t have gone for lunch with my friend on Saturday, wouldn’t have stopped into Costa for all those lattes. Couldawouldashoulda, as they say. What’s done is done.

As I lay in bed that night, drained and exhausted in more ways than one, I began calculating in my head. Even if TNH’s employers were able to keep him on at their offices, he would go back to his base salary and there would be no overtime. Without overtime we only barely (and I mean barely) make it from paycheque to paycheque. The little amount of money I earn each month (a couple hundred quid, at best) pays for our cleaner and childcare, only recently-begun endeavours that were supposed to free up some of my time so I could write, and have some time away from the children to be myself again. It was a luxury, I know, but I felt that after years of living bare bones I deserved it. I deserved a shot at a career too, didn’t I? I deserved a few hours a week without the kids hanging off my legs, whining and crying and with snot crusting onto my trousers, right? And at the time, I really convinced myself that I did. I thought I could write my book proposal, set up a new website to go along with it and kickstart a freelance career, all with the 11 hours a week I had to myself.

Who the hell was I kidding?

Don’t I know that this is the stuff of delusional, pampered houswives with no control over their own financial destinies? Isn’t this exactly the kind of head-in-the-clouds, puffed up thing a writer thinks of herself, especially one with no other discernible way to support herself or her family if crunch time came? I mean, sure, I could go out and get an admin job in some office somewhere, like the one I was in before I left to have my first child and to which I never returned, but it wouldn’t pay the bills. It wouldn’t even come close to paying the bills, let alone food or clothes or anything like that.

Because the reality is that writing this blog doesn’t earn me a single goddamn penny (nor do I want it to) and I’m  sinking my pay into childcare and for someone else to do my cleaning  so I could pursue some half-arsed pipe dream that couldn’t buy us a loaf of bread at the moment.

But while a part of me feels that I was just kidding myself that this good thing could last and that I’d be able to do all I’ve ever aspired to do, another part of me is so incredibly angry and sad. If (and it’s a very likely ‘if’) my husband doesn’t find another job that pays more in the next couple months, we’ll be back to living hand to mouth again and I will have to use every scrap of whatever we’ve got to buy necessities, not niceties. So goodbye childcare, cleaners and coffees…it was nice for the whole two months that it lasted. And I know that sounds so incredibly fucking privileged and middle class and entitled, but god damn it, I had waited for it and worked for it and longed for it and I’m afraid that if I go back to absolutely no time to myself, no time to write, no time just being me, that I may seriously lose the plot. I was only hanging on by a very thin thread as it was — now that thread feels like it’s being wound round my neck and pulled tight.

To make me feel even more like a whiny little princess, when I asked my neighbour this morning if there’s any way I could dry one load of towels in her tumble dryer because we’d all been sick and I had laundry coming out of my ears and my sister arriving tomorrow for her three week stay, she looked at me uneasily and said “Sure, if you can hook it up to your electricity.”

I looked at her, puzzled and said “Sorry, what do you mean?”

She nodded her head towards her husband, who had just gone inside the house, and said “Well he’s not been working in ages, has he? We’re skint. It costs too much money to run the tumble dyer so we stopped using it. Maybe try the launderette up the road?”

I  apologised profusely and told her I hadn’t even thought of the cost of electricity to her and wanted the ground to swallow me whole. I went inside, shut the door and had to fight back tears. Right before Christmas and people can’t pay their electricity bills and others are losing jobs or have been out of jobs for months, like my neighbour. And here I am worrying about having to go back to caring for my children full time and having to scrub my own toilet again and staying up late to write instead of doing it during the day. Boo fuckin’ hoo.

I’ve got my ticket, waiting to see if it will be stamped; waiting to see if we’ll climb aboard the Unemployment Train or merely have to downgrade to Economy Class. Lots of people are already on the train, it will be crowded. People who have lost their homes, their cars, their possessions, their dreams — they’ll all be there. Those of us who haven’t lost anything but stand in limbo with fingers crossed will be there too. But whereas before I didn’t think I’d ever have a reason to ride, I now know that all of us, any of us, could be called aboard at any time.

Welcome to the recession, bitches. We’re in for a bumpy ride.

Photo credit

39 Responses to “The downturn economy done turned on me”

  1. Potty Mummy says:

    Yep, been there. Still there, to be honest. And whilst I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, what it has made me realise is what’s important. The rest of the stuff is just fluff and nonsense. Nice fluff and nonsense, obviously, but still, not vital. I don’t NEED the Starbucks hot chocolates, the fancy holidays, the cleaner, the nights out. Sure, they’re great to have, but the thing is that on the rare times we do get them now, I appreciate them so much more. Not saying for a moment that you didn’t, of course – but I probably took it all a bit for granted before everything came crashing down around our ears.

    It’s crap, no doubt about it. You have my sympathy – but you will get through it.

  2. jen says:

    don’t you dare spend one minute feeling guilty. we all need, nay DESERVE, those things which feed our soul and make life *living*.

    you will have those things again because they fuel your passion.

    and TNH will find someone who values his work for what it is worth, I have no doubt of that.

    I’m ao sorry this happened – there are always bumps in the road that we can’t foresee. but it’s not useful or fair to beat yourself up over them, so try not to.

    if you need anything I’m only a phonecall away

    Jen

  3. Heather says:

    it’s perfectly normal to have the anger and sorrow over losing your free time, your you time, your time to write. I understand completely. And yet the conversation you had with your neighbour does put it all into perspective a bit, doesn’t it? For all of us, I think.

    So sorry to hear about your troubles.

  4. TheMadHouse says:

    You know what, its all relative. We live hand to mouth, month left over at the end of the overdraft and it isnt nice, it isnt pretty and it doesn’t make for a good nights sleep and a happy relationship.

    I have decided that my time will come when the minimads are in school, until then I will just have to suffer, but I can make a mean hot chocolate and milky coffee!!!

    I do hope something happens that makes life a little easier all round

  5. geekymummy says:

    Man, that suck rocks. I hope the new year looks brighter. At least in the good old UK this doesn’t mean you are without health insurance on top of everything. Hang in, you are a talented writer and will make money off it one day I’m sure.

  6. I am so angry for you. Angry that this happened, angry that it has to be so hard all the time. In some respects we are lucky, hubby is in a secure job – the pay is shit but it’s regular. For me to be at home with Kai and try and pursue some semblance of my dream it’s meant cutting back to the bone but some how we have just about survived. I feel like money is forever holding me back and I hate it.

    I hate opting out of the 9-5 mentality, trying so hard to fulfil our potential, as writer’s and women, has to mean so many sacrifices and becomes so impossible at times. I’m sure, I hope with all my heart, that once you’ve come thought this awful time of letting go and making do, that you will be able to pick up the threads of your plans and dreams again. They aren’t going anywhere and it is not dellusional or selfish to want them or need them. You deserve it so much.

    I hope this passes soon, that you find an answer and something to get you through. But in the meantime I am thinking of you and sending you all the love and support and good wishes I can muster.

    xxxxxxxxxx

  7. I’m so sorry that this has happened to you. I was made redundant last Christmas (on the 19th!) and it really put a downer on the whole thing for me. The past year has been a bit of a nightmare, to be honest. And like you I was angry because the things I’d taken for granted – expensive cappucinos, regular hair appointments – went out the window. And I had worked really, really hard to earn my lifestyle, so it was a big blow. All I can say is that everything I’m hearing is that it the tide is turning. House prices are rising again, holidays are being booked, consumer spend is up. So fingers crossed for you and please don’t let it overshadow your Christmas x

  8. This is what I hate about the recession – its not the people who got us into this mess who are going to suffer but normal people who are trying really hard to have more than just work and keeping their heads above the water financially

    Fingers crossed that things will work out for you

  9. Linda says:

    Someone in my family and their family lost their house around this time last year. The spiral of depression that this unelashed has been hardest to thing to bear and not just his. Now things are getting better. My partner has been made redundant from his last two jobs and he now works with me. All of this sounds terrible I’m sure but thing is turn the clock back five years and he was diagnosed with a potentially life threatening illness, times may be tough but there’s not a day goes by that I don’t thank God that he got better. Like Pottymummy says things will get better, you can still take time for you when money is tight. Let the house get messy for a start. Good luck and much love to you.

  10. I understand how you’re feeling. You work so hard for something, only to have it yanked away. Yes, I’m sure somebody could read this and think you’re acting spoiled and whiny, but everyone deserves to have the things they work hard for, and if you were really such a spoiled princess, you wouldn’t even be worried about this – instead you’d be sitting and waiting for someone to come in and take care of it all for you because that’s what princesses do. They have daddies that will pay the housekeeper and the nanny. So what you’re going through just makes you middle class, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting what you’ve worked for.

    I’m really lucky. Even though my husband can only cover 2/3 of our bills, I was able to leave my job because I get a lot of money in scholarships – enough to make up that 1/3 gap. I also have a MIL who comes over 2 days a week to hang out with the kids while I do homework. But I bust my ASS for those scholarships, and they could be taken away from me at any moment. I know we could move into a 1 bedroom apartment out in the sticks and probably make it on his salary, but I’m just not willing to live that poor again – not right now – not unless that was our absolute only choice. And I don’t think that makes me spoiled – I think that just means I want to live a less stressful life.

  11. That is so shit.
    We have had the cold hand of recession hanging over my husband’s job on a couple of occasions and it is crap. We’ve ridden it out and seen friends lose their jobs along the way and the fallout has been horrendous.
    Husband took it really hard when a good friend lost his job who he words quite closely with. He got to keep his job, his friend did not.
    The recessions cruel fingers worm their way into all our lives.
    I wish you the very best NS, I really do x

  12. I of course meant ‘works’. Gah!

  13. cartside says:

    somehow, I have a feeling things will get worse before they get better, for so many of us. I can feel the crunch around me, it’s only starting to take effect. It’ll be a long recession, and many will suffer (apart from bankers the shitheads). Our financial system was built on an illusion and we were happy for the good ride we had for some time. It’s back to the bare reality of life. We’ll have to find ways to get back to basics and the bare necessities, reassess what’s important and what is not. It’s always hard to downsize but we’re resilient, it can be done, and maybe it can spark our creative sides to get ourselves out of this mess. Without the help of government or banks that have put us into a culture of dependency.

    I hope your anger will turn into something that will become a turn for the good.

  14. NS says:

    @Potty Mummy – I’m sorry you’ve experienced the same thing. I can totally learn to live without the coffees and the cleaner, but the childcare? That one’s got me worried.

    @jen – I think I needed to beat myself up about it because I know I shouldn’t, really, but it’s that guilt reflex that seems to come in the moments right after you receive bad news. I’m working it out of my system, slowly.

    @Heather – It really does put things into perspective, yes. I felt like such an asshole.

    @TheMadHouse – You’re right, it’s hard on the relationship when money is so tight. Best wishes to you as well.

    @geekymummy – I thank my lucky stars every day that I don’t have to worry about how my family’s health care will be paid for. I cannot even imagine what it’s like to lose one’s job in the US and have that additional HUGE worry.

    @Josie – Thank you hon, that means a lot. And you’re right — as women and writers, especially, it’s hard to carve out time and careers for ourselves. Very hard.

    @Liz – I do hope that tide-turning comes quickly, for all of us!

    @Muddling Along Mummy – Thank you. And yes, I think we’re all justifiably pissed off that the bankers are still taking their fat bonuses while the ‘regular people’ suffer.

    @Linda – I so wish I could just let the house get messy. I mean, I’m not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination but I do get very irritable if things are filthy and in utter chaos because I have to sit amongst it all day. I’ll work on breathing deeply and letting it go though.

    @The Feminist Breeder – Thank you, you’re right of course. You’ve cheered me up. :)

    @Tara – I hope those fingers don’t worm their way into your life. I’m pinching and scratching at them, trying to keep them away. Shoo, recession, shoo!

  15. Emily O says:

    Sorry to read this has happened. I hate the way this recession has hit so many people who have done nothing other than work hard, try to keep a roof over their heads and bring up their families. My husband was out of work for the first six months of this year, he’s the sole earner and it was tough. It still is tough. I looked into putting the children into nursery and then the salary I’d need to earn to pay for their care as well as everything else. In a hopeless job market and the break in my career there was nothing I could do. The feeling of helplessness is dreadful. Don’t think you’re delusional about the writing, you’re very talented and I’m sure it will work out for you. Unfortunately creative professions can’t guarantee you the money like working in a supermarket can. Whatever happens I hope you manage to find some time for writing still and some solutions to your problems. Often it feels like one step forwards and two back. Good luck x

  16. A Free Man says:

    This is a powerful read. We’re really lucky down here in that we’ve been able to largely escape the recession. It all seems very abstract. But reading something like this makes it almost hyperreal. Best of luck to you and your family.

  17. Luciana says:

    This happened to us last year, two weeks to Christmas. We were sick with worry and had an awful six months into 2009. But do you know what? My husband got a very decent pay out, an even better job, works from home which means he sees a lot more of our 2-year old, and he is very contented! I spent a long time considering how to manage childcare – we only have the one – and I decided to “import” an au pair from the country I am originally from. She’s been with us for nearly two years now, although we had to make some investment in bringing her over (school fees, visas, etc) she only costs me £80 a week and that includes quite a bit of housework too! The only inconvenience is that there is a third adult in the house, but as she is socially very busy, we hardly see her when she’s is not working, so it works perfectly! You should consider this option, if you have a bit of a space to spare. I’ll be happy to share my experience, maybe it would work for you?? take care, and as the English say, don’t let the buggers get you down!!! x

  18. My iPhone ate my original response which added very little to much of the above other than “that sucks.”

    I’ve found myself in the same situation more than once, may do so again (and I try to always be mindful of that). I know from your blogging that you have a lot of strength and faith in yourself and your family so I hope you’ll understand that I’m not being patronising in saying that it WILL pass and things WILL get better.

    That doesn’t mean that I don’t know how bad they are right now.

  19. Cave Mother says:

    So sorry to read this. I don’t think words really help that much in a situation like this. But I hope things get better, or you learn to live with them as they are.

  20. BoozleBox says:

    I wish I had something to say that helps but I don’t. everything about it sucks. my dh works for a tiny outfit and a grumpy boss and has lots of time off sick too so I live in constant fear that he will lose his job which is why I work full time. I feel incredibly grateful that I’m earning and yet at the same time I resent not having any time for myself. I basically rob myself of sleep in order to find the time to do things I want to do but it’s never enough plus I’m always shattered. Hang in there and please keep writing – you’ve got real talent. On the other hand, if something has to give, don’t beat yourself up over it. I’ve got everything crossed for you and hope you get better news in the new year. *hugs*

  21. Platespinner says:

    Really sorry to read what has happened. Everyone else has pretty much said what I want to say, but you shoudn’t feel guilty, or spoiled, for feeling angry that the things you’ve been working and hoping towards are in jeopardy. You are an incredibly talented writer, and I know that whatever happens, you will find space to write. The situation we’re all in is so crap – I think the anger, feelings of helplessness and sense of injustice (why are ordinary people suffering, not the people who have caused this mess) are what are so hard to process.

  22. the bad aunt says:

    I could write forever on this subject. In the early 1980s, five years into my marriage and my mortgage, my husband and I both lost our jobs. Combined we drew $84/wk in unemployment benefits. Yes, some things were cheaper back then, but interest rates were high when we bought our house. A good rate at a real bank with 20% downpayment was 13%. Yes 13%. We always payed our bills first, then thought about food, since we didn’t have kids. We didn’t get any government handouts except government surplus commodities. We stood in long lines to get these commodities of rice, butter, cheese and powdered milk. Sometimes we would trade our powdered milk for more rice. I remember loosing 10 pounds (of weight) in one week because food was so scarce. You couldn’t buy a job even if you knew someone at the top. We did any kind of work (housecleaning, carpentry, babysitting, etc) we could find even if it was just for a few hours. There was not much call for that but some people who were still working tried to “create” some little token job to try to help people out. We survived and it made us stronger. We learned how to plan meals for the week, using leftovers creatively. We used smaller plates to make the portions seem more plentiful, and we definitely were not wasteful of anything. We learned to be very conservative of electricity and cut out all unnecessary expenses. Oh, yes, automobile gas was outrageous for the times also.
    For entertainment, we would go visit someone close by and play cards, while the children played together. We would do pot luck get-togethers where everyone brought one item of food. Things did finally turn around for a while. Four years later, my company closed up and moved to a foreign country. I was lucky to find work again in a few months. Then the next year, that company went out of business. Again I found work after 6 months. Then my husband got sick and is no longer able to work. He has undergone 15 surgeries and still needs 2 more so medical bills are always coming in. He takes several medications daily. My current company has been cutting jobs over the past 3 years. Monday, they just announced another layoff of 250 people. I will not be affected yet.
    The also just announced that half of my husbands meds will double in price come Jan first. But we will make it. We have been through this so many times. We are too stubborn and bullheaded to give up.
    And you have the same characteristics. Sometimes things get put on a back burner for awhile, but just keep a fire under the pot. You are smart, creative and have a can-do attitude. You will look at this from a different perspective and figure out how to make it work. And it may even inspire some ideas for your book.
    Remember, when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Good Luck and love to all of you!

  23. the bad aunt says:

    I just wanted to say we are lucky. There are a lot of people out there who experience hard times and are not as fortunate as we are. My heart goes out to them.

  24. nicola says:

    Oh God NS I am so sorry. Losing the childcare in particular would hit me the hardest too. Obviously I have made it (by the skin of my teeth) to both boys being in school full time, which is AMAZING. But in the 2 years before that I did have a few hours a week of a babysitter and it Saved. My. Life. I still feel guilty about it sometimes.

    I hate the fear that having no money constantly instills in me. I want to be a good mum – to make the boys a priority while they are young. But I hate this financial cloud over my head. Do I go back to pimping myself in Advertising, marketing products that are crap and that if I had my way would be banned, that I don’t believe contribute in any good way to society, which are produced by companies with little or no ethics? Or do I try to create a new career, founded in integrity and passion that reflects the things that I deeply believe in and care about? But which pays a whole lot less and possibly nothing to begin with…

    Or do I just get a fucking job at Target? Possibly Wholefoods or Trader Joes?

    No easy answers it appears in this day and age.

    I have my fingers crossed for you. I truly hope it all works out. xxxxx

  25. april says:

    I wish I could say something that would help.
    But I know i can’t.
    This sucks. Is unfair and wrong.
    If nothing else his employers could have held off till after christmas couldn’t they???
    I really hope things work out.
    You are allowed to be dissapointed, I would be too.
    Very.
    Everyone deserves those things.
    Peace. Sanity. Christmas Presents. Help with Cleaning.
    Living hand to mouth is so hard – and we do it every day.
    I hope everything works out – the less of us that have to do it the better.

  26. Poor you. Could you hook up with a full-time mum and help each other out? Maybe you take her kids for half a day a week and she returns the favour. That way you could still get your ‘me time’ (which is important and you shouldn’t feel guilty for wanting it) but don’t need to pay for it.

    Good luck, I am sure you will both find a way through it.

  27. Amy says:

    A – - I am SO sorry this is happening. Like others have said – - don’t feel guilty for wanting some things for yourself. Things will look up again – - they always do. It’s just SO hard when you’re in the thick of it like you are right now. Stay strong.

  28. Sharon K says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Amity. It always sucks even more when stuff like this happens around the holidays. You have a right to ALL of the emotions you are feeling, they are not mutually exclusive. You can be both upset about what you are losing, and still legitimately reminded of priorities by someone else being worse off. I truly, truly believe that old adage that “this too shall pass”. It’s true when things are going well, and true when they’re not, all we can do is hang on for the ride. You will get through this and come out stronger on the other side. Did I ever tell you about a few years back when I was so broke I was about to make a desperate bid to support myself by baking exotic cakes for bachelor parties? Standing in Nashville’s largest xxx-rated bookstore, in front of the wall-o-dildoes, asking them to let me post an advert, was not where I ever expected to be. But, things looked up, and it’s now just something I can look back on and laugh about. You have the brains and talent to squeeze something useful and creative out of this in the long run.

  29. NS says:

    @cartside – Shithead bankers, indeed. Though I suppose at some point we have to stop blaming them and just getting on with recovering, as you said. I’ll be brushing up on my frugality, that’s for sure.

    @Emily O – Thanks! Now go and have that baby, ya hear?

    @A Free Man – So Australia is gorgeously sunny AND hasn’t really been effected by the recession? I hate y’all. ;)

    @Luciana – It does sound like things turned out better for your family, I hope the same happens for us.

    @Dad Who Writes, Cavemother, BoozleBox and Platespinner – Thanks. :)

    @the bad aunt – Your positive attitude in the face of adversity is what I’ve always admired most about you. Thanks for reminding me that the way we approach a problem makes all the difference in how we solve it.

    @nicola – What a relief to know that other ‘grown ups’ are facing the same quandries about career and childcare and responsibilities versus dreams. Good luck to you as well, I know just how you feel.

    @april – Yeah, I still think it was a bit mean to tell us just before Christmas. Though there’s never a good time with these things, is there?

    @Part Mummy Part Me – I so wish I felt able to look after other people’s kids so we could trade childcare but at the moment it would be terrible for me. I’m barely coping with my own two and have no desire whatsoever to take on even more, even if it meant I got a break later in the week. That might sound strange but I’m just not an ‘other people’s kids’ person. God, I sound like a troll living under a bridge now, don’t I?

    @Amy – Thanks hon.

    @Sharon – Thanks for the mental image of you standing in front of wall-to-wall dildoes! Priceless. ;-D

  30. andrea says:

    Shit. This only now shows up in my bloglines?

    Am, I love you, love you, love you. You will get through this. You will. I am thinking of you and TNH and you two have weathered way more than this. You remember that. You remember the ocean once between you? You can do anything now. ANYTHING.

  31. April says:

    Just wanted to say that I totally understand you’re feelings and admire you for being totally honest and raw about it instead of sinking into a quiet martydom.
    I enjoyed a cleaner for the first six weeks after Judah was born thanks to my mother…and now that that season is done I too feel like some sort of spoiled princess because there is this little bit of me that tells me I SHOULD have someone. (doesn’t help I can visualize several my friends back in south africa who have their houses cleaned nearly every day)
    Anyway….you’re a great writer and you’re going to get through this….the kids are getting older every day and becoming more and more independant….soon they will be in school and you will have that time to yourself….at no extra cost!!

    You’re a year younger than me and a lot further along the road in reaching your dream to become a writer…so you can always comfort yourself with that :) xxx

  32. Iota says:

    I think you have just the right perspective. You acknowledge your losses and your anxieties, but you also acknowledge that there are others worse off than you.

    I’m sorry you’re in the midst of this, and what a dreadful way you – both – found out. Your hopes and dreams have taken a knock, but they’ll be back.

    Isn’t it great how low cost blogging is? (and now I’m thinking of people who don’t have a computer, and how smug my comment must sound).

  33. Strawberry says:

    Certain things you wrote here resonated with me so much it was startling. Not the job situation and I hope and pray it stays that way, but I actually live in fear about it. Anyway, not that, but the stuff about having no time, no time *at all* to do anything for yourself… especially the line about “children hanging off your legs”… oh, all the time! Mummy, I want this… Mummy, I need that… Mummy look! Mummy look at this! Look at me! I want a drink! I want a brownie! Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!

    And M says, “So, when are you going to start making some money? You can just do something from home!” And my mum asks why I don’t hardly seem to get anything done ever…

    Ohhhhh…! I can *just* do something! Just do it! Start a business… hey, it’s so easy! That’s why everyone owns their own business, ’cause it’s so easy and foolproof! Oh, wait, they don’t? Or, hey, how about just get a work-from-home job! ‘Cause, you know, every other job in the paper is work-from-home! You can’t move for tripping over them. It’s so darned hard to find an employer who expects you to *go* to work! Oh wait, they’re not everywhere? They’re like hens’ teeth. Aw, darn.

    That’s actually why I stopped blogging, stopped… well, everything. There just came a point where the urchins underfoot, hanging on my legs, overcame me. No childcare, no cleaner, no moment of quiet — not one single solitary moment of quiet from the moment I wake until… well, until so late at night that claiming it was near killing me — no moment of quiet and I just couldn’t carve out the time or gather together the energy to make even enough time to blog, to just blog… something and nothing, nothing of consequence. Too much, too much, too much.

    You have my thoughts, my dear, and my deepest, deepest wishes that your husband will find good work soon, and you will find the space and time that you and I both crave.

  34. Lyn says:

    I know the fear you are facing and I only want to offer this little bit of advice. While it will be tough, and you may feel like you are at your wit’s end, make sure you take the hand of your husband and hang on tightly. The worst thing that comes of financial difficulties is the havoc it wreaks on a marriage. Support each other, talk about your fears, and acknowledge that you can get through anything that comes your way as long as you are together.

  35. Stacey says:

    I’m mega-late, sorry, which leaves me with nothing new to say except that this is totally sucktacular, which in itself is not a new sentiment. If there’s anything I can do from stateside, please let me know. x

  36. Your situation (before the bad news) of a couple of days of being child-free each week actually has inspired me to do the same thing and I’ve felt guilty about needing it so badly as well. I’m still working on the details, but can’t quite wrap my head around the point of spending money just so I can be “me” again. It’s a sad lot that it comes down to money in order to free up a mother enough for her to feel her real self again. No judgment on the mother, of course, but of the way our societies are built: a mother alone, care-taking for hours on end, no village of support to speak of (that’s free, anyway).

    To that end, what helps me when I’m feeling boxed in is to remember that this too shall pass. Soon enough the kids will be in school and I like to think that will be a magical time of self-expression and daily freedoms. Maybe I’m naive as hell, but it helps to look forward to anyway.

    Hang in there.

  37. A Crafty Mom says:

    Ugh. I, too, have been there. 2009 was NOT the year for us, by any means. My husband lost his job last January, and I was not working either (was on extended leave from work, kids are 5,4 and 2). It was very hard on us, but I agree with the first commenter – you do always manage to get through it. It is hard, but then at some point it always gets easier . . . and better. And at the end of maybe my shittiest year of all time, I am somehow a better, stronger, more confident and happy person. My marriage is stronger (after almost hitting rock bottom) and my kids seem adjusted and at ease. We do make less than we were a year ago, and our lifestyle has changed (not in a major way, but every family makes cutbacks where they see fit), but overall we are still the same and maybe just appreciate what we have a little bit more.

    I TOTALLY and completely felt exactly like you. And having no childcare was VERY hard on me too – I have no family here where I live and my two boys are only in kindergarten 1/2 day so I still have three kids with me for a better part of the day. It’s freaking exhausting. But you will definitely get through all of this. I promise.

  38. Been there and currently wearing that teeshirt. My husband works in the film industry which has been incredibly badly hit by the recession. He’s not worked for over a year, the pension is gone and along with it all our savings, we had to rent out our house in France and move back here to small rented cottage but we’ve learned so much about ourselves in that time so it’s not all bad. So much of the important stuff has turned out not to be that important really. We have each other and we keep ourselves afloat one way and another. Even if the worst happens, it’s sometimes not really the worst. Good luck.

  39. [...] for the past week. But I wanted to do a quick update for everyone who commented and emailed after my last post, which ended on a pretty miserable note. The Noble Husband went into work the day after I wrote [...]