Last Friday, my husband, David, got a job. He is overjoyed. I, however, am in mourning. It’s been ten months since he was laid off. Although I had always wanted more time with him, that wasn’t exactly how I wanted to get it. My dream was for us to own a bed-and-breakfast overseas. Instead, my reality had us reworking our finances and eliminating nearly every little extra from our lives.
Suddenly, every time I turned around, there he was. He was used to his freedom and at first, he was accusing me of “checking up” on him. I, on the other hand, was wondering if he’d ever get a job again and get off my back. Needless to say, there was some adjusting to be done, on both our parts.
As we got used to our lack of space and our low-budget lifestyle, we started to notice something. We were happier. We both stopped drinking; wine and imported beers were not part of our new budget. We began eating like Europeans, planning our meals three deep and shopping fresh produce at the farmers’ market. TV became a bore and he rediscovered his love of reading. Every night we retreated to our bedroom and read for hours, often turning the lights out after midnight. It was such a change from my working husband. He’d often come home so exhausted that he would be asleep on the couch by the time I had the kitchen cleaned up from dinner. My newly unemployed husband had time and energy. We even started riding our bikes around town for fun!
It was equally great to have a helper. I’d run our son off to an appointment and he’d clean the bathroom. I’d pop out for a run and he’d babysit. If either of us wanted to do something we always had the time to do it.
I liked having him around 24/7. So much so that I secretly began to hope that through some sort of miracle he would find employment that would allow him to work from home. Better yet, that we would run off and start a little bed-and-breakfast or travel the world. I’m not sure if he ever shared in any of my ideas but I know that he at least listened to me daydream.
Life was perfect, minus the lack of income.
I know I should have been happy when he told me his great news and I think I did a pretty convincing job of acting like I was. Truth be told, I feel like I’m losing my best friend and helper. The selfish side of me can’t help but ask, what about me? What about our midweek camping trips? Our picnics and bike rides to the beach? Couldn’t our time together have at least lasted through the summer?
I’m happy we have an income again. I am happy to not rely on the government for our fortnightly unemployment checks. I am happiest of all that my husband has a renewed sense of self-worth. It’s just that in a weird way, unemployment was wonderful for our family. I am going to miss my husband, my best friend. I know that I’ll make it through this transition just fine but it comes with mixed emotions.