We’re adjusting to a new normal at the minute. My husband has finally gotten a job offer after 6 very long months of being out of work. In the meantime, there has only been a few days here or there but nothing longer than 2 weeks. His mental health has taken a beating and his self-worth and overall confidence has hit an all-time low. It genuinely killed me to see him like that. Some days weren’t so bad but there were days when he was just so low my glass half full approach wasn’t helping and he would just cry. It didn’t matter how many times I reassured him that he wasn’t a bad person, he is someone who replays things over and over in his mind and he was holding onto a lot of hurt from ‘friends’ who had burned him in the past. Having all the extra time to think really didn’t help…
We live in Melbourne, and almost everyone around us is struggling. Especially the people who work in the same industry that he does. I was extremely grateful that they waited until 2 days after our wedding to make him redundant from his long-term role in March because he doesn’t cope very well being out of work even when its short term let alone in the current environment when we saw no rainbows in sight.
Our new normal soon became me returning to full time work and him becoming a full time dad to our 2 and 4-year-old. After my first mental breakdown I think he realised how much I was struggling to cope with everything at home in addition to work. My weekends were filled with cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping and I had no proper quality time with my babies which I was craving so much. I felt like I was missing out on them growing up and the mum guilt was real. Some mornings Gia would cry because she didn’t want me to leave and Jacob would tell me how he didn’t want me to go to work. Too many mornings I would cry on the way to work and one morning Luke called me while I was driving to express his feelings of not coping and I was a mess… I didn’t know what else I could possibly do to help.
Looking over this whole experience it’s definitely not what we wanted but it was what we needed. He has stepped up immensely. I now have someone who helps cook dinner, baths the kids… he even changes a nappy (because Gigi refuses to go to the toilet – believe me I have tried!). The cleaning side of things still needs work but he’s always helped with the washing or doing dishes so it is a massive plus and I’ll take whatever help I can get.
All of last year he worked his butt off. We had some financial goals we wanted to reach and a wedding to save for and so I don’t usually ask for any help especially with the kids because I only work 2 days a week and he worked every bit of overtime and weekends on the contract he was on. I’m honestly so proud of him but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it shit me that he’d be chilling on the couch or be on the phone while I’m cooking dinner and getting the kids bathed and ready for bed every night when he was home… the dynamics of our parenting were off but I sucked it up because for the most part I appreciate what he does and who he is as a person and the perfectionist in me is used to doing everything. I’m someone that doesn’t want to ask for help, I feel bad. It sounds stupid I know, but it’s just who I am. I want someone to “want” to help me and see that I need help rather than having to ask. Maybe I’m just really good at looking like I have my sh*t together even if I’m a mess… I honestly don’t know.
The company he worked for just after he was made redundant only had 2 weeks work for him but I had a really good feeling about them. I still can’t quite explain how I get these feelings. I just know things. I don’t hear voices, I don’t look for signs, something in me just knows. I told him that they would really like him and they’ll see how he works and they will call him back. 5 months later he randomly gets a call from them. He had just started the crappiest job in his entire career and trying to be loyal he almost missed an opportunity because they needed someone to start the next day (but he wasn’t aware of that at the time). He spoke to them again over the phone after that and they offered him another position. The only catch is that it’s over 2 and a half hours away from home. He had no choice but to take it.
He left last Tuesday night. I cried. I’m tearing up just writing this because I miss him. He might do my head in and stress me out and gross me out when he farts ALL. THE. TIME. It annoys me that he steals the blankets and kicks me while I’m sleeping but it’s just not the same without him. He’s my person, and I’ve gotten used to him being around all the time.
Thankfully we will get to see him every weekend. Most weekends will only be for 24 hours but we haven’t had to do this before so I am more than grateful for every second. He’s been offered jobs interstate in the past but his anxiety has always gotten the better of him and he’s had to pull out. Before we met, he did work away but it wasn’t this far. The hard part was explaining this to our minis. Jacob said he missed him after he left and hasn’t said much since. He talks to him every day when he video calls and the only thing he seems concerned about is who is going to take him fishing now (he’s told me his Nunnu has to!) I’ve assured him when we are allowed to go fishing again Dad will take him on the days he’s home.
Gia hasn’t adjusted very well at all, but she hasn’t quite expressed how she’s feeling. Being only 2 it’s not as easy to have a D&M with her. She asks me why Dad isn’t having dinner with us, why he isn’t coming home and if we’re going to Dad’s ‘new house’. With the current restrictions we can’t even go and stay with him so even though she had just started sleeping through the night that’s not happening anymore… she wants me next to her and she’s constantly reaching out to make sure I’m still there. When I told her I was going to work on Friday morning she looked panicked and she asked me why I have to go to work. I explained to her that she would be with Nanna and I’m coming home because I work close. Trying to explain the concept of time to two little people who only know 5 minutes (because we have a sharing rule of 5 minutes each) is really challenging.
I’ve told them this isn’t forever, but it’s going to take some adjusting for all of us. What we’re feeling isn’t even half as bad as what Luke is, we at least get to be home together.
So I’m going to take the time to slow down, to be more present and to fit a bit more fun and quality time into our lives. Even in isolation I just want to focus on surrounding my minis with so much LOVE and keeping the connection.
Sometimes I get carried away with my never ending to do list of house work and all the organising and decluttering and odd jobs that I actually forget to have FUN. It’s a very hard pattern to break. I keep telling myself that I’ll make a day where I do none of the things I need to do and just make it about them and fun but I can’t help it. Now more than ever I know that is exactly what I need to do because they feel the shift with me solo parenting and they are my everything so I need to sacrifice my need to have everything sorted to allow us to just BE.