The New Normal

Brandon has been home for nine weeks. That’s nine weeks of adjusting to our new normal, or at least the normal for right now. It doesn’t feel like it has been that long, but the days sort of blur together for me lately. Without the routine of my husband going to work during business hours, five days a week, we’ve devolved a bit. Sunday feels like Monday, feels like Thursday. Sometimes we sleep in. I’ve been staying up into the wee hours of the morning because it’s the easiest way to get in some uninterrupted work time, and then sleeping through the early part of the day. I’m not sure if I like it.

We’re not struggling, and for that I’m thankful. We have to be mindful of the things we spend our money on, but we will be able to pay our bills, buy the kids’ spring clothes, and so on. I’m a little uneasy shouldering the financial responsibilities because the nature of the way I make money through blogging is inconsistent, but Brandon’s unemployment came at a good time if such a thing can be said. A time at which we can handle it would probably be a better way to put it. Opportunities are out there for me and my family, but they do come at the expense of time with them.

I sound a little sad here, and perhaps I am. Life is good overall; it’s just that my work/life balance feels off. I like my work and I’m happy to have it, but I miss being a more present mom, too.

79 Responses to “The New Normal”

  1. Nick Klaus March 21, 2012 at 5:56 am #

    Hi Nicole, I’m another of your longtime readers and it’s been great that I have been able to follow along your growing family. I don’t know if I can say anything that hasn’t already been said, but there was one thing on my mind. Even though you’re in this transition, which is different and a little scary, it can also be a really exciting time too. You’re calling it the new normal, which is totally the right way to look at it. Because it’s good in its own way, and its good that you can enjoy this time with your family and try and make the most of the new opportunities and advantages you now have. There’s a way back to the old normal out there, but there’s also a path to an even newer normal. So no worries; you’ve totally got this. :)

  2. Lisa March 21, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    I’ve been following your blog, too since before Eleanor was born because I was drawn to your decorating style. Now your life and your blog has evolved into so much more…

    But the reason for my comment is just to say how normal it is to be a little sad over the loss of your old life and routine (and it is a loss) and it is normal to be scared of what lies ahead because it is uncertain. But I truly believe that things happen for a reason – this came at a time when you could handle it and it will work out for the better in the end. You will look back and see that one day.

    For now, take care of yourself, allow yourself to have those normal feelings of grief and loss and fear without guilt and as the days flow into each other, you will find you adapt and evolve into another lifestyle without even realizing it and wind up embracing it. Change, even good change, is unsettling at first.

    Positive vibes, good luck and well wishes to you in the days ahead.

  3. Courtney K March 21, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    Just wanted to let you know I’m thinking of you and your family and sending good thoughts y’all’s way. Any change is hard, but it’s even more so when that change wasn’t planned. Best of luck figuring out your new normal.

  4. Ami March 21, 2012 at 10:56 am #

    I’m grateful that you are sharing this part of your life with all of us. What you are going through is tough. My husband and I have been through two patches of time where he’s been out of work for several months, while I continued to work. (I have always worked outside the home.) Those times were very stressful. One suggestion is that you get a schedule to provide structure to your day. For example, maybe your husband always takes the kids out of the house between 9 and noon, so that you can work or do other things. He then can have time for himself (to look for a job, or just lounge around) between noon and 3pm. You both need structure and permission to have “me” time for recreation or work. If you know what time of day that will be then it will cut down on the anxiety of not knowning when you will have time to get things done. Another suggestion is to wear earplugs when trying to work when everyone else is home. It really helps cut down on the noise and distraction.

    As others have said, this is bound to be a stressful time, even if you are able to make ends meet for the time being. Just realize that your feelings are completely normal.

  5. Sandra March 21, 2012 at 11:15 am #

    It’s always stressful when things take an unexpected turn. And many times those turns, good and bad, are out of our hands.

    You live long enough, things happen. I don’t think that anyone gets through unscathed – or at least very few.

    You all will come through this just fine. There’ll be some tweaking and adjusting. And some more changes. The new WILL become “normal” and then there’ll be another “new”.

    I appreciate you writing this post – I find that I always love to hear more of the “real” person behind the blog. Not that they need to share all their dirty laundry – I know that I don’t! But just some humanness and personhood…

  6. paola March 21, 2012 at 12:27 pm #

    I’m not religious, but I’m a firm believer in ‘everything happens for a reason’. It may be hard at the time, but every time I’ve gone through adversity I’ve eventually ended up stronger and in a better place than I was before.

    I think life throws these challenges at us to make us grow and adapt and get out of our comfort zones. Hang on in there, we’re all rooting for you…

  7. Danielle March 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    I don’t have a new point of view to offer, but I imagine that must have been a difficult post to write and I wanted you to know there’s another person out here thinking of you and your family – and wishing you the best! I’m glad to hear you’re doing ok and I hope you’re able to figure it all out. Sending positive energy from Detroit to Oak Park! :)

  8. Brianna March 21, 2012 at 12:54 pm #

    Nicole, I just wanted to say that I’ve completely been in your boat. My husband was laid off last year and was out of work for several months. It was even more stressful than I realized at the time, and we don’t have kids, but it does get better. He just got a new job that started on Monday. It will happen for you guys too! Just remember, this is temporary.

  9. pve March 22, 2012 at 6:11 am #

    Nicole,
    Something told me to come and visit you and I think I was sent to tell you that everything will be just fine. Think lucky and bring that about. You are such a wonderfully talented and hard working individual and whatever you toss out and ask the universe for shall be yours.
    So many are going through challenging times with loss of an income or health issues and I guess one can only think that it could be far worse,
    You will survive….now put on those big girl panties and a smiley face.
    pve (pve design) remember me!

  10. Angie March 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm #

    I adore this picture. I also love that perfect little navy polka dot dress.

  11. Elizabeth March 23, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    Hello,

    I’ve been a lurker for a while, and have followed you since you were pregnant with your daughter. I love your blog and have enjoyed seeing your beautiful children growing up on here. I was so sorry to read that you are now going though what I have been going through for a year now.

    I’m much older than you, but I have been through this three times. Once with small children 20 years ago, and that time it only lasted 5 months. It seemed like it was an ETERNITY though, and we always talked about how the summer of 1992 was the worst time of our lives.

    Second time back in 2006 he was laid off of the job that he had since 1992. This was so hard on him in many ways.He felt a whole loss of identity. Your poor husband may be going through a little of this if he has been at his job for a long time. This takes time to adjust to since it is a loss. Luckily this time he got a job in two months, and it paid better. So happy days…..

    Third time was January 2011. This truly has been THE WORST as far as length of time and frustration with corporate USA , and how they go about the hiring process. He had several phone interviews, then some on site as well. Some jobs would go far into the process, then you were sure you were a good fit, only for them to say: “Sorry, we decided to go with another candidate”, or not hear from them after what you thought was a great interview, then they decide to put the job on hold and not hire any one.

    FINALLY after almost one solid year he got a job this week with the company that he left in 2006!! He starts this coming Monday. So you see it always works out in the end, but boy through it you just feel like you do when you are 9 months pregnant, and you can’t take one more minute of it.

    Through it all though we did have some good times together. He has always been a good helper around the house, so I will miss my bed being made like clock work everyday, and an extra hand for grocery shopping.

    You are lucky that you can contribute at least. I have always been a stay at home mom, with an art degree, so I would feel so sad that I couldn’t make a difference. I have a bad back, so I couldn’t really even get a retail job to help out.

    I sincerely hope that your husband’s time of unemployment is a short one. You guys will get through it, and at the end of it, it will all make sense. Right now I still can’t believe we are not unemployed anymore!

    I will be thinking good thoughts for your family, and everyone else on here that left a comment with a similar situation. The more prayers and good thoughts the better.

  12. Mylinh March 24, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Dear Nicole, I’m really sorry to hear about your situation but wishing you all the best of luck!! :)

  13. Eva June 5, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    We, are in a similar but different situation so I so get your uncertainty, and love your underlying ability to look on the night side. We also are fine for now, pull the belt a bit tighter and keep on going. I try to focus on what I have, every day I make a point of holding in my mind something I am grateful for, no matter how simple. Today a friend popped in for coffee and brought me a bunch of flowers, wow flowers and a friend in one day. Usually it’s my family I am grateful for. I try and focus on the time we have to spend together and the luxury of not rushing to much. But it’s hard and frustrating I know. Be mind to yourselves, hug your children, hug each other. x

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