In many ways, it's been a rocky road. Firstly, the beginning of the job hunt was confused by the "should we look for a job, or strike out something on our own?" question - each side hijacking the other as DH considered possibilities. Secondly, there was the business that "hired" him - gave him the verbal promise of a job and said that they "just needed a week or two to work out salary and start date" - and then quietly faded into the distance (we haven't heard from them in two months). We finally realized the truth, but not before a good long stretch of time had been wasted. Then there's been the realization that our savings is quickly dwindling while possibility after possibility is exhausted.
But in many ways, unemployment has been wonderful. We haven't gone through a period of unemployment for more than five years, back when we only had one baby, so this was a completely different experience, and we actually had a ton of fun. Here are some of the ways in which unemployment has rocked for our family!
Keeping the Family Together
Let's face it - having fathers gone for a majority of the day is NOT the ideal situation for human families and human children. It's not natural or healthy for children to miss out on their daddies for so much of their lives. Unfortunately, that's just the way our society is currently oriented, and almost all of us live in this way - even those of us who make the commitment to have mommy at home. So this dedicated time of having the family together 24/7 for a quarter-year has been absolutely wonderful. The boys have thrived with having more daddy-time, and I love having our family completely together, rather than mom+kids and daddy-at-work.
Not to say that it hasn't had its challenges! We've had to adjust to a whole new way of living (and will have to adjust back), and it's taken some getting used to - especially with the need to fit lessons into the schedule. But it's been worth the work.
Although DH is most likely soon to be heading back into the corporate world, this time of being together has given us a vision for what we'd like our family to look like eventually (i.e. having dad at home more often), and I hope that that vision will transfer into future realities.
The past six months has been an absolutely amazing time for our family. Starting last July, God began doing some serious housecleaning in our family life. Some of the changes are things that I have been praying for for years; some took me completely off-guard (in a good way!). Our family has completely changed in so many ways, practically and spiritually. While this has been really good for us, it's also been a bit unsettling as we adjust to so many new changes in our family. Unemployment has blessed our family greatly in giving DH so much more time to be together to discuss things and hash through topics conversationally, and time to be together to adjust to new directions for our family. Awesome stuff.
Thankfully, our savings has tided us over this time (for which we praise the Lord!), but this period of not having an income has blessed us greatly in helping us to tighten up loose areas in our finances. Though neither of us is wild with money, having a steady income for the past five years has allowed both of us to slip into habits of purchasing unnecessary indulgences (cooking ingredients, books, fast food, etc.). Having a sense of "we only have THIS amount of money before it is GONE" has been really good for us. We've nixed book buying and fast food purchases, have cut all unnecessary spending, and made some cuts that were good for us both financially and spiritually (goodbye, DirecTV!!).
For me, it has also given me a wonderful impetus to do all those grocery-bill cuts that I've been meaning to get around to for years. I've started visiting our local discount store for some groceries, started getting into Azure Standard, and have begun using our local throw-away produce market - all things that I've needed to do for years but have procrastinated on because the matter wasn't urgent. Now that the urgency of the situation has forced those reforms, I'm happy to be in new habits which will hopefully persist past the period of unemployment!
As I write, DH is beginning the process of signing papers for a job which will begin this Wednesday. It will definitely be nice to have a source of income again, and not to have to worry about the upcoming deadline of "What do we do when we have no more money?"
And yet... it is with definite sadness that I see this period of our lives come to a close. Despite the worry, it has been an unforgettably wonderful time, and I will miss it. Hopefully the good effects will last, and the vision for the future will bear fruit over coming years.
Unemployment has been a wonderful time!
How about you, dear readers? Any fond memories of times out-of-work?
|Blurry, but cute - the littlest one with his daddy!|