Diary of a Lousy Housewife

So, Where Were We?

Posted on: March 11, 2010

I had been working on a post about my split personalities—mom, wife, designer, etc—when our world came to a bit of a halt. Last Monday, my husband was laid off. Given that my income in 2009 was about 10% of his, this is a bad, bad thing for us. His severance package is decent, so that will see us through a few months. But putting that aside for now (ha, like I can), what I’m taking away from this is just a sense of disillusionment.

It’s like two of the main financial adages I was told as a child are being proved false:

  • “Buying a house is your best investment.” Um, not. We’ve been in our house for five years, paid over $100K in mortgage and taxes, and still couldn’t sell it for what we owe.
  • “Work hard, do a good job, and you’ll be rewarded.” Well, yes, in the last year Mr. L was rewarded with praise and a promotion, but if they valued his work so much, why did he end up on the chopping block?

We graduated from college in a recession, but it’s a lot easier to deal with it when you’ve come from a life of Ramen Noodles and Kraft Dinner. Now, with a mortgage, a car payment, and two children, it’s a little harder to just cut back. And it feels like all the hard work we’ve done since graduating (20 years this summer!) has just led us off a cliff. I know I’m being melodramatic, but it’s a huge shock when one day your husband is being told the company is grooming him to move up the corporate ladder and (just about) the next day he’s piling his desk toys into a cardboard box.

I’m really not worried about Mr. L finding a job. He’s very talented and has skills that are in demand. The question is whether or not he can find something comparable here in Cleveland. We’ve been here five years; for all intents and purposes, our children are natives; and (see above) selling our house would be a major burden. I would prefer to stay here but I also know that when you take on the role of primary caregiver (as opposed to primary wage earner), you have to move where the job takes you.

In the end, I want Mr. L to be happy professionally, for our family to be solvent, and for us to be happy and healthy together. It’ll all come together, but to quote Tom Petty (the handsomest man in show business), “The waiting is the hardest part.”

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