If you’re a regular reader of Imperfect Happiness, you know I often try to reframe frustrations and setbacks in a positive light. Most of the time it’s something like my son peeing all over the couch or my daughter coming out of her bedroom for the 50th time in an evening instead of going to sleep like she’s supposed to. I try my best to look at these situations as challenges, little reminders from my children to take a deep breath and come back to awareness and non-judgment.
This morning my husband called me from work with a big challenge.
“I was laid off,” he said.
I thought he was joking. His company has been having layoffs about every 6 months for the past two years, so he’s made this joke before.
So I waited for the “just joking.” It didn’t come.
When I got off the phone with my husband, my not-yet-six-year-old daughter asked what happened.
I took a deep breath and decided to be straight with her.
“Daddy lost his job,” I said.
“Oh, man,” she said. “That’s rough.”
“Yes, that is rough,” I agreed. After a pause she had another question for me.
“Where did he lose it?” she asked.
After freaking out (I felt like I was going to be sick, but that could have been at least partially due to the large amount of chard I consumed this morning), I started trying to re-frame the situation.
The positive side:
- The kids get to spend more time with their dad.
- I get to spend more time with my husband.
- My husband can participate more in homeschooling than he has been.
- I have free childcare right here at home if I need to run a quick errand or want to take my daughter to flute without my son trying to climb the organ in the recital hall.
- He’s been applying for jobs anyway, but this gives him even more time to devote to that task.
- I get to contemplate a move to somewhere outside of Utah (where that will be is anyone’s guess). Since I enjoy moving, this is a positive thing.
- I have an even better excuse to declutter.
- With his extra time, my husband can help me chop vegetables for my not-crazy diet.
- We have an excuse to work with our real estate agent again (we really like her).
- Maybe this will help us get to the East Coast again, closer to all of our family.
- We should be in an even better tax situation when we file our 2011 taxes than when we filed our 2010 taxes. Too bad it’s too late to have another baby this calendar year (just kidding. My husband’s gotten his business tied up, so to speak, so at least we don’t have to worry about that. Knock wood, knock wood, knock wood, since I know it’s one of the most frequently litigated procedures).
My friend Amanda had a great response when I called her with the news.
“Well, enjoy having him around the house now because he’s going to find a job really fast.”
Logically, I know she’s not basing this on any, you know, facts. But it was still a very lovely and reassuring thing to say. I’m going to file this one away for use if any of my friends calls me with similar news (I hope I never need to use it, though).
I’m trying to decide what to do with the Happiness Project in light of our new situation. Does it make sense to devote April to building my social connections? On the one hand, it could be great to blow off steam and to have “mommy dates” scheduled, especially with my husband around all the time. But would it feel like too much to work on while trying to stress about the house and the job search and expenses and whether I should try to take a few doula clients to avoid dipping too far into savings too soon?