I know I said I was going to be less wordy and post less frequently in an attempt to bring balance to my life, but the balance was totally thrown off by today's events. Let me start at the beginning though.
Last fall, we really started thinking about childcare for Cate and Brennan after my maternity leave ended (which is with the start of the coming 2011-2012 school year). We lucked out with good care for Cate, and we really wanted her to go to preschool. But preschool registration happens early around here, so we started looking into various schools around here last fall. A half day program would require that a sitter do some of the driving. A full day program meant either finding a place that also did infant care or putting Brennan somewhere totally different. In the end, after a lot of prayer, we decided the best thing for our kids at this time is for one of us to stay home. It would be a one-year trial and we'd see where it would go from there. And after more prayer we discerned that the parent staying at home should be Eric. I won't go into all the details, but our salaries were fairly comparable as teacher and non-profit worker, though I make a little more. However, I had better hours (even if I have to bring work home and do it after the kids are in bed), better retirement, and a little more job security. His insurance is better, but there would've been compromise either way.
We share in a lot of the parenting and household duties. I'm being seriously honest when I say that because I know I'm lucky and I know we're not the norm. We each equally grocery shop and cook. He does more dishes while I do more laundry. We split other cleaning chores. He does mow the lawn though (being honest again, I don't even know how to work our lawnmower). And we both play games, play pretend, read books, dress kids, wipe bottoms, clean up spit-up, etc. equally as well (some days are more lopsided than others). We both felt like we could be the one to stay home, but when weighing the pros and cons of each of us leaving our jobs, it made more sense for him to leave.
So he was going to turn in his notice in August, work until the end of August, and then stay home. I was going to blog about it all in August. That was the plan. Until today. After being at work for a couple of hours, he was called in to see the boss. As the most recently hired (three-ish years ago) in his department, he was the first to be let go due to budget cuts. It had nothing to do with performance. He'd get a severance, some help with insurance, and could apply for unemployment. His work was happy to write a letter of recommendation.
At first I was TICKED (hence the WTF reaction on Twitter/Facebook). I cried. I about wrecked the car since Eric called me while I was driving to tell me he had just been let go. I still want to cry about it. Mostly because I am scared, but partly because he didn't get to leave on his terms. Hello! I'm on UNPAID maternity leave right now. I don't get benefits or a paycheck again until September. I prayed. I'm still praying. And once Eric and I both got home, my prayers were already being answered.
His severance and withdrawing the little bit he has in a retirement savings account will hold us off until I start getting paid again. His insurance is still effective until the end of the month. After that, we'll have Cobra, but the plan we'll stay the same and his company will help him pay for that for a couple of months. In fact, the timing can only be God's. The day Cobra would start costing us into the 4 digits per month is the day we are officially covered again on my insurance. We're going to be just fine.
Shocker? Yes. Will I sleep tonight? Probably not without the aid of a Unisom or Tylenol PM or something. But God is in control. We are praying for wisdom in regards to our finances. Thankfully we have an emergency fund too, but we shouldn't have to dip too far into it. Neither of us has any ill-will towards his now former employer. Hopefully we'll both get to return as participants to their fundraising program once the kids are a little older.
I'm trying to see this time as a gift. From now until school starts, my kids have the awesome privilege of having two parents at home with them. We can head north to visit my parents another time or two this summer if we want. We can start going back to Findlay Market on Saturday mornings (a tradition we stopped when Eric started having to staff workouts every Saturday morning). I don't have to stress about taking both kids to the pool on my own (which I've only done once, but just for Cate's swim lesson). We'll be able to enjoy time out on the new patio (pics to come later) together more.
And hopefully we won't want to kill each other.
I'm sure it's not the way my husband wanted to start his Father's Day weekend, but we're making the most of it and smiling again. Happy Father's Day to all of the dad's out there. Happy weekend to everyone.