Me My Life Parenting

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.

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  • Sara
    March 20, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I love that you are sharing this part of your life on the blog. I always knew I liked your style, and now I see that you’re a lovely writer as well! Blessings to you and yours.

  • Fiona
    March 20, 2012 at 11:08 am

    Thinking of you and wishing you and your family luck! Things go in cycles. Now is his time to be with the family, and yours will come again soon. (Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone got all the time they wanted, but I think a trust fund is necessary for that!)

  • Cecilia
    March 20, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Not sure if this is how you feel, but I’ve been in a similar situation for the last 2 years and it is a lot of responsibility and makes me feel a little bit like the backup parent. I don’t think men felt this way when they were the breadwinners. It’s certainly a complexity of emotions.

  • The Glamorous Housewife
    March 20, 2012 at 11:11 am

    I like your use of ‘a new normal’. Very poetic. And I am glad you are not struggling too much with money- only your new lifestyle. A few years ago my husband switched from a full time job into freelance, so he was home all the time and it was a long slow readjustment. But now I wouldn’t change it for the world because the kids have gotten to know their dad, and vice-versa so much better than they would have if he had to go to the office every day.

    Thanks doll,
    The Glamorous Housewife

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      We are lucky that it is mostly a lifestyle adjustment. We’re not rich, but we aren’t in fear of losing our home either. We will need more income than I’m currently bringing in, but either I’ll be able to make more money or Brandon will find a job; I feel confident that things will fall into place.

  • Chedva
    March 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Nicole, I relate so much. My husband and I are both self-employed and this is a slower time for him at work. He’s home a lot, which is really nice, but to concentrate and *really* work I need my own quiet (hence the late/very early hours). You do sound contemplative, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? Hugs all the way from Tel Aviv.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      I do need it to be quiet for me to really get down to work, yes, but at the same time I don’t want to become nocturnal!

  • capitol jams
    March 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Such an honest post! My husband’s layoff 4 years ago inspired him to work for himself. It has not been an easy road, but we are feeling like things are looking up. Not to say that there have not been many times where the financial stress has been overwhelming, but we do know that we can make it through hard times.

  • kelly
    March 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    you are such a trooper and i know you guys will be okay. i cringe when i see comments on various blogs sort of bashing the blogger for making a living or being successful. thank goodness you are so successful and able to support your family during this time. i also love that you have chosen to share this with us because i think sometimes people forget that you are also affected by the same things the rest of us are.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      I don’t like that kind of bashing either. Obviously for personal reasons, but also because I know how much work is involved in blogging professionally. I’m happy to see my peers carving out a living along with me; a rising tide lifts all boats.

  • Miri
    March 20, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Not precisely the same thing, but my boyfriend moved out here a few months ago and has been working from home. I, on the other hand, have been unemployed since November and though I have been on the prowl for a new full-time job, I have used the time to develop my blog. With the days kind of blurring together I find myself “working” sometimes 60 hours a week. I’ve blogged at least a month out, and my boyfriend is no different. I appreciate the extra time to pursue my interests, but I do miss the routine. Hang in there!

  • Nicole
    March 20, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Yep… it’s hard anytime life changes without your permission. You adjust, adapt, move forward, but without prior consent it does feel like a different thing. In my experience any move away from our children – even when work is wonderful – does feel uncomfortable. You’ll find your balance again, as you strive for it and life changes again. Blessings to you. Breathe. Enjoy the present moments as you get them.

  • Lauren
    March 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Goodness, I wrote this exact same post on my blog a few weeks ago. It is both amazing and terrifying to have my husband at home. He was laid off in January when my son was just two weeks old and while the timing was awful it was perfect at the same time. Sending you good thoughts!

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:37 pm

      I went and read it. Yes, so similar! Sending you good thoughts as well.

  • Heidi S.
    March 20, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I appreciate that you are able to write about such a personal topic. As someone who has been laid off for quite a while, I know how hard it is to settle into a routine, let alone adjust to the financial implications. I am now struggling with going back to work on a more regular schedule, which means less time with my 2 little children. The good news is that it is a great opportunity for Brandon to spend time with yours. My husband often laments that he wants to be a stay at home dad. Good luck to you and your family!

  • Marianne
    March 20, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    It drives me crazy when my husband is home from work. It’s fun in some ways and routine killing in other ways which leaves me feeling uneasy. We sleep in and I end up working late as well because I find it hard to work around him. It can make me very grumpy. I hope things get better as you guys settle into your ‘new normal’.

  • cd
    March 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    I’m the breadwinner in my household – and have been for my daughter’s whole life so far (she’s two). I don’t think it’s less of a new normal for us either. But to echo another commenter, I don’t know whether men have felt like less-present parents for being the usual breadwinners in family situations.

    If you decide (actively or by virtue of circumstance) that you-as-breadwinner, husband-as-full-time-parent will be your model going forward, I predict your next bout of sadness will come when you realize how little support there is out there for full-time-fathers. Everything is “Mommy & Me” (should be “Stay-At-Home-Mommy-And-Me”) or ______ Mom. Everything. The few companies and organizations that get it right go with Mommy & Daddy or the always useful “Parent & Me” or “Family.” But it’s frankly shocking to me how far we have to go as a society to support our daddies being daddies.

    Peace to you, Nicole – it’s a lot of cultural pressure to tackle.

  • Lindsey @ arkadian belle woods
    March 20, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    Hang in there! If anything this will strengthen you, your husband, your family, your marriage, everything. This too shall pass. I hope for you and your family that you’ll find your ‘normal’ soon! Best wishes to you Nicole!

  • Cara
    March 20, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    I’m not a mom so I can’t say I understand how you feel. But I can relay a story from a friend of mine. She and her older brother are about 7 years older than the next two kids (total of four). Their mother was a stay-at-home mom for the older kids but when she became pregnant with #3, their father announced that it was his turn to be the hands-on parent. It worked out for everyone. Mom was able to concentrate on her career and go back to school without too much guilt. Dad got one-on-one time with his younger daughters. All the kids have done well. It involved some cost cutting (I think grandma moved in to combine households) but it seems like it was a great idea.

  • Chelsea @ Adorning Alabama
    March 20, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    Nicole, thank you for continuing to post about your REAL life. My situation is similar. I’ve ramped up my graphic design business in the past year, and am slowly pulling away from my 9-5. Meanwhile, my man is more and more dissatisfied with his job, where he works hard, but makes little. With my real-time job and late-night contracted design, I’m making triple what he does. And yet I’m still in charge of dishes and laundry and diapers and bathtime. I’d never willingly give up the time with my girl, but with a home purchase in the near future, the burden is all on my shoulders to. I’m home, but not really there.

  • Licia
    March 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    While my husband and I have not been in your specific situation, I can certainly relate to being at work more hours than I would like. Being a bread winner allows me to provide for my family and to be a role model for my children, yet it also takes time away from being a mom.
    An added stress is the fact that we are the moms. No matter how many hours we work, there are are a million little things that still fall on our laps (both because husbands ignore them, and because we choose to take them on) such as clipping nails, making dr. appointments, organizing the closets, planning meals, planning spring wardrobe for the children, cleaning toilets… Sometimes I find myself doing most of those things just to avoid being an endless nag. I call it my second full-time job.

  • Dana @ House*Tweaking
    March 20, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Hang in there, Mama. You’re a good mom even if your role may have changed temporarily. Don’t let the mommy guilt get the best of you.

    We’ve had some unexpected twists thrown at us over the past year also, so I understand exactly how you feel. I’m still a firm believer in things happening for a reason.

    It will all make sense in a few years.

    Lots of love,

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      “It will all make sense in a few years.”

      I think so, too. It’s the getting there that’s difficult.

  • Janet
    March 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I appreciate your honesty here. It sounds like a tough time, but not an impossible time. I hope you guys find the right groove/balance in the coming weeks. xoxo

  • jane
    March 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    My husband started working from home right after Christmas. He had two days to get organized. Because he’s the main bread winner, I had to give up most of my office space. I used to create my jewelry while watching TV and listening to the radio but my husband needs it quiet to be able to work. I feel like my whole routine has been shattered and it’s really quite weird. I can understand exactly where you’re coming from. I hope that he is able to get another job soon and that you are able to adjust to this new way of life:)

  • Susannah
    March 20, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Although I don’t have children yet, I can relate. My husband was laid off about a year ago now, still no luck in finding work. It’s extremely difficult being the one that “goes off” to work each morning and leaves him at home. Your husband is lucky in that he will always look back at this time and be thankful he was able to spend it with his family and children. We love our dog, but I don’t think its quite the same thing for us :) I’ve come to realize during this year, its always the small things that you become thankful for and that get you by. Hang in there and I wish you all the best!

  • Marie
    March 20, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Good luck to you and your family, Nicole. Once your husband finds a new job, he will probably miss hanging out with the kids as much as he has been able to lately. It’s weird adjusting to life changes and it always seems to take more time than one would like.
    We’re a military family and it seems like we are always in flux: always adjusting to yet another duty station and a new group of friends. Our life has its own set of challenges but it has made me a better and stronger person.

    Totally off topic, but where did you buy the dress Eleanor is wearing in the picture above?

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:44 pm

      It’s from Target, part of Gwen Stefani’s Harajuku line.

  • Mary Middleton Design
    March 20, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Thinking of you completely. The new normal is change as far I am concerned too. Fingers crossed that good times roll around soon

  • kate
    March 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Keep up the courage. Fantastic photo btw.

  • Pamela
    March 20, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    I know change is hard but, wow, what a gift! That photograph speaks volumes of times that might have been missed and, oh, the little ones must love having such free access to their daddy. Don’t waste a minute of it.

  • Molly the Waffler
    March 20, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I wish scientists would work on my plan for creating “mom time,” a tear in the time/space dimension where all life is put on pause, except for moms who get to use this time to work on their to-do list.

    • Jessica
      March 20, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      NICE! ; )

  • Shandra Lenae
    March 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I try to keep in mind that just because I read a Blog regularly, I do not know the person behind it. Relating to people I have never met would be looney. Our home life is never as it seems on our bright and shiny Blogs. But, I have always gravitated towards ‘Making it Lovely’ and the personality behind it. This site was my first Blog Crush. It must be that all of this that you are creating seems to be what you are truly meant to do. It shines through in your posts and your work. I wish for you to feel powerful that you are making a living doing what you love -in front of your children. These long weeks will change into a ‘blip’ on the big plan for you -soon, I’m sure of it :)

  • AnnW
    March 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Thanks for updating us, we worry about you. Your husband having this time with the kids is a gift. You will all look back on this time with fondness. You will have plenty of time with the kids in the new few years. How fortunate that you are able to make a living from home. Ann

  • Brittany
    March 20, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    I’m very grateful you share such honest and open material with your readers. I love it. It really adds personality behind the rest of your posts. Very much appreciated! Bless you!

  • Kandice
    March 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Hey Nicole,

    Sorry to hear about Brandon’s job situation. I believe you stated in a previous post that you two were planning to get to a point where he could quit his job? If that’s the case, then I think this is a blessing. Sometimes we linger in an area too long because we think we aren’t prepared to go to the next step yet. Then the universe or God steps in to push us to the next step because we ARE in fact ready. You may not feel like it, but you are. This is an amazing blog and you have taken excellent care of it. I would know because I’ve been watching you develop your business for the last 5 years. You’ve proven you can be trusted. Those who do well with what they have will be given more. You’re being rewarded. Now you and Brandon get to enjoy each day doing whatever you want during the daytime while everyone else is slaving away at a job they hate. Take that privilege and run with it girl!

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      Yes, it was always a dream for him to leave his old job. We always thought that we would plan for it and be prepared. We’re still in a state of flux over here right now.

  • Jenny
    March 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    Hi Nicole, this is one of those forks in the road where one day you will look back and see it is a critical turning point. It might create a new mindset, a new opportunity, a new awareness. I gave up work very suddenly as one of my kids was very sick and I started to see the world through new eyes. I live a slower life now but it’s a good thing. Having less money makes you re-evaluate what is important in so many ways. Try not to worry – everything is as it’s meant to be and will work out just fine. Your blog is fantastic x

  • mandy @ this girl's life
    March 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    My husband has been a stay at home dad for the past two years, and while it has certainly had its ups and downs, the time he has gotten to spend with our boys has been priceless. Money is tight but we have more love than we’ll ever use up. :) I hope that you find a schedule that fits and feels right and that you figure out what works best for your little family…it certainly is a big change to adjust to!

  • rebecca
    March 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Time to try a unemployment-budget-friendly edition of your monthly style posts? As much as I love aspirational window shopping, I can never afford much of anything in your style posts.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      I try to put a good range of items in each post, and I don’t really intend for them to be outfits that need to be purchased all at once. I’ve been playing around with the format, and I think my concept behind them will make a little more sense when you see it.

  • Jules
    March 20, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Glad to see you are writing more. I’ve said it a thousand times (I know, I’m a broken record) but people don’t really know that you can write. And you can, so do it.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:51 pm

      Ahh, let me go back to my patterns and my pink, where I’m comfortable! ;)

  • Janae
    March 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm

    Oh my goodness! I so know where you coming from.

    We’re going through the same exact scenario right now. My husband is currently unemployed and I’ve been the “sugar mama.” I love seeing the domestic side of my husband–he can bake bread with the rest of them (even better than me!).

  • Dottie
    March 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    I hear you, lady. We barely were able to chat about this in SF, but we will again soon. I’ve been in your position for almost a year and it can get pretty nutty and feel weird to say the least. I wish I had suggestions, but you are such a terrific smart lady who tackles issues with such conviction that I know you’ll find away to shine in the new normal in ways you didn’t even think possible in the long run.

    Sending oh so many good vibes your way, lady!


    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I wish we could have chatted more. We will, I”m sure! Lots of good vibes your way too.

  • Lesley
    March 20, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Oh boy do I hear you.

    It’s been a little “abnormal” around here too since just before Christmas, when I lost my job of 12 years. Fortunately I’ve got myself a part time job that will begin in earnest in a few weeks, but it’s been a big adjustment….not only not having my own money coming into the place but getting used to new sleeping patterns and wondering where entire days have gone. I too have been staying up late after spending the past 12 years going to bed around 7.30 so I can be bright and bushy tailed when the alarm went off before dawn
    Hubbie works for himself so we haven’t got money problems but I HATE not earning my own wage.

    I’ve realised though that some things are just meant to be and as they say in the classics, one door shuts and another one opens…I’m sure that’ll be the case with you.
    Take care

  • Jane
    March 20, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I understand the need for a schedule. I’m a stay-at-home-mom and apprenticing as a dog trainer. I have negotiated with my husband and come to an agreement that he watches the kiddo at certain regular times and that is when I do something else…anything else. I’m pretty structured about it. Mornings from wake up to when my husband starts getting ready for work are for kitchen clean up and laundry and quick email check, sometimes garden watering. If he’s at home in the evening he does bed time while I finish dinner and read or chill out.

    I like how the morning routine gets the day in swing. I feel lucky that I’m able to look forward to these breaks as time to do non-mom stuff.

    I remember a historian once saying that the most interesting points in history are times of great change (i.e.: industrial revolution) and seeing what different groups of people make of the new situations.

    best of luck

  • courtney
    March 20, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    i don’t have much to contribute that hasn’t already been said here, but do know that you bring much joy to your readers.

    i’ve been reading your blog since before eleanor was born, and have always appreciated your honesty and thoughtful posts.

    sending good thoughts to you and the fam.

    • Making it Lovely
      March 20, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks for sticking with me, and for the good thoughts.

  • victoria
    March 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    what they’ve said is true. you’re an excellent writer. for me, it’s always a little weird to share the person side of my life, but i think you’ve done such an honest job of it. and clearly we all are touched to be trusted enough for you to do that. i think we can all learn from that. xx

  • Debra
    March 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    Working from home and a full house is always a challenge for me too. It’s always tempting to go and play! Best wishes to you and your family through this time of change. P.S. Looking forward to meeting you in Toronto this spring.

  • Janel
    March 20, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. I spent the first six months of 2009 unemployed, with a new baby to boot. No routine combined with the uncertainty of the situation that caused the lack of routine can be unnerving and stressful, yet leaving you at a loss as to why you’re feeling stressed out. Here’s hoping you and yours find your way back to a version of normal that makes you happy.

  • trina
    March 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    change is so tricky. i think, especially when you have little ones and routine is so relied upon and required, really. hang in there. somehow things have a way of working out and sometimes things end up better than they were in ways we would have never imagined. thanks for your openness and honesty.
    xo . trina

  • kristin
    March 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    I appreciate your honesty in these posts, Nicole, and I’m really rooting for you (and your family) to find balance. I don’t often comment here but when you post like this, I’m compelled to! Take care, hopefully he can think creatively and find something he really loves to be doing, and all works out soon.

  • Lindsay
    March 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

    This comment is for your husband. My husband lost his job a few years ago. At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom to our 8-month-old son and was in an MBA program. My husband, a corporate attorney at the time, decided to seize that opportunity to follow his dream of going back to school, yet again. As we both started applying for jobs – any jobs we could find – he also applied for PhD programs. We both got jobs, but in different cities. We did what we had to do – living in different cities and seeing each other on the weekends. THEN, he got into a PhD program. So we moved yet again, so that he could follow his dream. And he is beyond happy. And I, the new breadwinner, love my job and the new balance of our lives. My point is – take this opportunity to find YOUR new, ideal normal. Your whole family is already in transition – you might as well see all that this little challenge has to offer. Look for the open window.
    And a little marital advice? Now that you’re home more, take this opportunity to also take on new roles and ease some of the weight from your awesome and talented wife. I finally stopped having arguments with my husband (in my head, of course) when he finally took over the laundry in our house.

  • Jen @ RamblingRenovators
    March 20, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    I can relate to adjusting to a new normal. Since I was laid off in October, I’ve had the benefit of spending more time with my daughter, sleeping in a bit more. But at the same time, I’ve had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that I need to constantly be productive, to be doing something, hustling a bit more, making an income. Perhaps because I was the breadwinner, perhaps because I never know what tomorrow will bring – but the peace and ease I had in my daily life isn’t there anymore.

    I hope you find your “new and improved” normal soon, where life feels balanced and you and Brandon are on to many more fulfilling pursuits. August and Eleanor are lucky to have this time with you both.


  • Nic
    March 20, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    First, I adore your blog. I love your style. I love your “voice” as a writer. You’re sincere, heartwarming and grounded. As a woman and a mom, I appreciate that. I can only imagine the hard work you put into this blog, and the effort it takes to nurture it as well. I’ve watched Making it Lovely grow and have enjoyed it thoroughly. But I guess it’s just frustrating.

    My husband and I both work until we’re exhausted, we can barely afford to live off what we make. Budget for groceries, or other necessities like purely functional clothing is almost nonexistent. Getting to work on “E” on an almost weekly basis is a source of anxiety. Our son is disabled with multiple and life threatening illnesses so we work alternating days which doesn’t bring in much money. Not enough money to make sure someone is properly trained to care for him to work more hours. And all I want to do is make our home a “home” or possibly buy a couch for the three of us to curl up on together or maybe afford family photographs.

    I can look at your blog all day, your Pinterest, etc and although I feel inspired, I also feel insignificant. There will never be a sponsored room makeover for my house, like you have received. I won’t have the same opportunities to buy a Weinrib chevron rug or Anthro chair and that’s okay.

    No trips to California for me even while my husband is working, no new outfits with just the right tights, bag, and various accessories. No cute outfits or adorable furnishings for my son partially sponsored by Land of Nod. No cheeky and silly artwork for his room. And you know, it just sucks.

    Money isn’t everything, but it’s certainly a necessary evil. The most joyous and amazing moments are free and random. They ebb and flow and I guess that’s the beauty of life. It’s just hard to read about picking out new lighting knowing your husband is out of work when the soles of my child’s only pair of shoes are worn out.

    You don’t come across as ungrateful, I would say just the opposite. I don’t mean to imply that and I’m sure I’ll receive some comments about my own and I’m sure some of them with have truth to them.

    Just please keep in mind that even though you’re family is going through a difficult and huge time of transition, you are in a much better state than some of us when both parents are working. We don’t even register on the “map”, I guess mostly because we aren’t known and don’t have a brand. I just feel like this blog has become more of a material inspiration than a making a family nest blog that it used to be and that really bums me out.

  • Lexy @ The Proper Pinwheel
    March 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Oh Nicole. I know exactly how you feel. My husband has been down the unemployment road and I was the breadwinner for a good chunk of our marriage. It’s nice to be able to spend more time together, but you (the wife) can never fully relax. To this day, I still stress about our financial situation. We’re in a much better state than we were a year ago, but we’ve really been set back.

    I’m sorry to hear that this has happened to you. At least you have such a positive attitude. At times, I did not. You’re incredibly talented and I have no doubt that you will be able to figure out what your next step is. Things always happen for a reason and you both will find the right place for your family. Thinking of you today!

    Wow! Sorry for my novel. :)



  • tonia
    March 21, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I’m sorry. As a new mama I know how every minute with your kids is so eternally valuable. May things work out for the best. May your family thrive and love and enjoy the times spent together more than ever right now.

  • Lindsay
    March 21, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Just a suggestion… but perhaps you could expand your little stationery shop and sell some of the gorgeous items that pop up around the blogosphere… washi tape… cute pens and pencils etc? You have established a recognisable brand and you already have a devoted audience (read: potential customers) and those little paper cases are just so adorable (you could even make up ready-made kits inside the cases?). Just a thought! xxxx

  • 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. :)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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…

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  • 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…

  • 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! :)

  • 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.

  • pve
    March 22, 2012 at 6:11 am

    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!

  • Angie
    March 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm

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

  • Elizabeth
    March 23, 2012 at 12:17 am


    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.

  • 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!! :)

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  • 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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