with Karli Larson
The transition from stay-at-home mom to divorced-and-working-full-time mom can be challenging, and sometimes very lonely. Throw in a few cats, an ancient dog and one very brave boyfriend, and life gets downright crazy. Join me as I talk through my thoughts and struggles, my miscalculations and my triumphs. We're in this together, you and I.
When I'm not writing here you can find me over at work on the TisBest Philanthropy blog.
Foreclosures everywhere. Global markets in crisis. Record numbers of people losing their jobs, being evicted on to the streets. Doom, gloom, on the headline of every paper that’s still gasping with the last gulps of circulation survival.
I’ve been trying to avoid the headlines, because I know my own predisposition for parallelization in the face of panic, and there’s no time for that right now. I need to have my head to the grindstone, my tacks sharp, I must put in extra hours and struggle fiercely for revenue in a market that doesn’t want to part with its precious dollars.
I’m the primary breadwinner in my household of two: actually, gulp, I’m the sole breadwinner and when I stop to contemplate the meaning of that, my right hand starts to twitch, groping for a brown paper bag with which to hyperventilate.
I pay for Nolan’s daycare, for his swimming lessons and skating sessions, I pay for his clothes and for the lunches I pack for him each day. Some of the best advice I’ve ever been given is to save a year’s worth of salary: but when you’re living in one of the most expensive cities in North America and supporting two people, it’s nearly impossible to not live paycheck to paycheck, no matter how frugal you are.
And even though I have a great career, I don’t have enough left over each pay period to sock more than a few dollars away. In all honesty: after bills are paid for Nolan and I, after groceries are bought and new, longer pre-schooler pants purchased, I have about 12 dollars left over.
I think constantly of the fact that the years are hurtling by quicker, each faster than the last, like a frenetic, out-of-control toilet paper roll and that tomorrow, Nolan’s tuition fees for University will be due. Next week, the housing market might slide into a gulley and we’ll be left with a mortgage worth more than our home. The week after that, frankly: I could lose my job. The market, the world, the economy, are all that volatile. Nothing can be taken for granted right now.
I’ve always believed that if I worked hard: earnestly put my head down and gave my career everything I had for 9 hours a day, I’d be fine. It’s never occurred to me before that I might lose my job: I have always had a strong work ethic and believe in giving my career my soul, because it provides me a basis for this life. But there are no guaranteed rewards for hard work right now: in many cases, it seems that outside forces are in control of what happens with my career path: that I have little to do with it. And it keeps me up all night.
One of the many benefits of a two-parent home, I think, is the relief of burden that two people can provide each other. If I lived with Nolan’s father, I’d be expressing my fears, leaning on his career, subconsciously knowing that if my career path crashes, his might be OK.
As is, as in everything, I’m doing it on my own, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m scared. And hoping the world wraps up this chaos very, very soon.
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