In 2002, my husband was laid off from his first job, although he was not my husband then.
Then we were just a couple of crazy 24-year-olds living in a fabulous rented apartment. I came home everyday at lunch to eat with him and he worked out all afternoon. By the time he was rehired somewhere, he was buff and very happy with his (under) paid three-month vacation.
Now that the economy is in the tank, we are again facing the possibility of a layoff, only this time, the outlook is much more bleak. By nature, my husband’s work is well-paid, but volatile, dependent on the ebbs and flows of the national economy. When it dips, so do we.
Eight years ago, this hardly mattered. Now? It does. We are scrambling about; trying to create plans A, B, C and D in case the worst happens. This uncertainty is always painful, but when there are two small babes who are entirely dependent on their daddy and the bacon he brings home, it is downright terrifying.
This is the plight of the stay-at-home mom. I do make a decent income as a freelance writer, but I am also a contract employee and my work is volatile as well. Plus, there are health insurance and 401(k) s to consider.
I don’t know the exact moment that layoffs became scary instead of fun or when my responsibilities became so vast. All I know is this is being an adult. And sometimes I miss being a kid, burying my head under the covers and asking my dad: what recession?
Sasha Brown-Worsham is a freelance writer whose monthly column runs online at The Family Groove. Her work has appeared in Pregnancy, Runner’s World, Self and many other publications. She lives in Boston with her husband, daughter, son (and a cat and dog).