We are officially moved into our new home in Pittsburgh, PA.
Well, we have a couch, the kids have beds, and I finally found the power cord to my laptop this morning. We’re moved in-ish.
Yesterday, while I was picking up beds from local thrift stores and unpacking dishes, my husband was working. This morning, he left our new home bright and early to interview for potential job #2 (his possible side hustle.) While I’m eager to turn a rented duplex into a home as soon as possible, he’s anxious to bring in the cash. Almost, I daresay, too anxious.
It seems that my hard-working husband has fallen into a trap that is all too familiar, one I see all around me and that has ensnared me personally more than once: He’s desperate to make as much money as possible, but hasn’t stopped to consider how much money we actually need.
I’ve done the math. I have a slight addiction to both budgets and spreadsheets, so I’m keenly aware of things like how much cash is required to pay our bills each month, how much money we have in checking and savings at all times, and how much money we have coming in. I’ve shown my husband my beautiful Excel files and tried to give him a clear picture of our financial situation, but reality doesn’t seem to have much to do with his need to earn! earn! earn! right now.
I get it. 100%. I know how it feels to be consumed by an ambiguous need to do more, just in case. The sense of security is just out of reach, but if you can just work a little harder for a little longer, you’ll get there. And then you’ll relax.
The problem for me was that I rarely stopped to figure out just how much More was. I operated from a permanent place of not enough. I took every extra job and spent my precious free time worrying. My constant sense of lacking left little room in my head or heart for gratitude or peace.
Budgeting, deciding to go without certain things, and completely upending our life for a year helped me break that cycle of stress. I know that Jared’s attitude towards work and money has changed a lot, too, but I recognize that cloud of worry that seems to be forming around him (maybe he thinks he has to take up the slack now that I’m not obsessing about it!) - and I don’t like it.
I adore my husband and want him to be happy, but I’m confident he’ll find a balance of reality and responsibility that works for him eventually. Right now, I’m selfishly wishing for more time with him and help lifting the heavy furniture. I also want to be able to do my work and know someone else is helping on the home front. I’m not opposed to work or money (at all!), I just don’t want to revert to a lifestyle where one half of our family is focused solely on earning money.
More than that, it’s important to me that we know how much we need and make a conscious decision to earn more than necessary, as opposed to just earning as much as we can in an attempt to fill some bottomless hole. I don’t want the need for more to consume my household - or my husband.