You make lemonade.
At least, that’s how the saying goes. Today’s writing prompt asks about a time when we’ve solved a problem in an unorthodox way.
This has happened on more occasions than just one… it’s usually involved a work schedule. There have been many times when we’ve had to juggle things around to accommodate our kids (isn’t that always the way with parents?). I think the one that stands out in my mind the most is when my husband found out (before he should have) that he was going to be laid off. He’d been with this particular company for about 8-9 years.
The first instance was when he decided he was going to quit in order to do drywalling with a family member. For the record, let’s just say, I had no say in this decision. He just up and did it (it was not a pretty time for us, at all). The problem with subcontracting is that none of your deductions are taken off, you have to do all of that yourself. I knew it was going to bite us in the butt later, but he’d already done it. There was no going back. It took many years to get all of the tax stuff settled.
Caleb was about 6 months old, Tyler was just 6, and Devin was gone from 6 a.m. until 7 or 8 at night. He’d come home, shower, eat and go right to bed, just to do it all again the next day. It really sucked. I felt like a single mom. It was difficult. Tyler missed his dad… I missed my husband, and I couldn’t do it anymore. He had been doing drywall for nearly two years.
We finally hashed it out one night, and I explained all of this to him. I told him how much I loved him but I needed a partner. I needed help. I needed my husband, and most of all, the boys needed their father. If he couldn’t provide that, as much as it would hurt, I couldn’t stay with him. It was D-Day for us. There was no fighting, no arguments. It was just matter-of-fact. This is what is, and you have a choice to make.
A couple of days later, he quietly told me that he made an inquiry with his last company, to see if they were hiring. There was a possibility for him to work overnights. I was going back to work in 6 months, and if he took overnights, we wouldn’t have to shell out for day care (that was a huge concern for us).
I knew he hadn’t had an answer yet, but it was a glimmer of hope.
They took him on for overnights, and while it was tough keeping the kids quiet throughout the day so he could sleep, I was happy that the boys had their father home, and that I had my husband again. I tried to get the kids out of the house as much as possible, but overnights is tough. Everything in your system is telling you that you should be awake during daylight hours. He struggled with sleep. He slept in the basement because it was the darkest part of the house. I bought room-darkening curtains, to keep the bedroom as dark as possible. It was tough, but it was better than the previous situation.
Fast-forward a couple of years, we were in somewhat of a routine. Another hiccup… his company was laying off people left, right and center. They had recently lost a huge account, and it was starting to show in the books. Devin was getting closer and closer to the chopping block. We kept an eye on things, and one day, a union friend called him… he was being laid off when he went in for his next shift. His friend knew he had a family to support and was trying to be nice by giving him a heads up.
Devin called me at work to let me know. I had an idea, and told him I’d call him back. I work in retail, and at that point, retail was still doing well. I spoke to the personnel manager about the situation and asked if there was any need for someone on overnights (with the big pay cut he’d be taking by working at my store, we could afford day care even less than before).
Happily, before he went into work to receive the official news, he already had an interview lined up, and within a week, he had a new job. It was a tough adjustment financially, but we made it work.
We’ve had some pretty tough decisions to make over the years, but when I think about how close we came to splitting up, I am thankful that we chose to stick it out. Together.
How have you turned things around when the going gets tough?