I'm very thankful that I have a job. Even though our firm only does as well as our clients do (and we've already seen our share of company death knells), there are those staying alive, even growing, in the human resource and senior care marketplaces.
My heart goes out to those who aren't as fortunate. The number of Americans collecting unemployment benefits has almost hit 5 million. And according to an article I read last week, government data shows that:
The numbers are startling: More than 80 percent of pink slips handed out since the recession began in December 2007 have gone to men, thanks to their disproportionate slice of jobs in hard-hit fields like construction and manufacturing.
I remember what it was like to be out of work after the dot.com bust. But that was different then; Amy and I didn't own a home that plummeted in value and we didn't have any children to care for. We were more footloose and fancy-free and could absorb the monthly revenue hit. In fact, besides some freelancing, I was heavily involved in online fiction and poetry workshops at Zoetrope, honing my writing craft.
I hit some tough times during that work-at-home stint. Feelings of inferiority, of being a failure, of not knowing who the hell I was. Alcohol became a comrade, a medicating brother in arms, and almost came between my wife and me (don't overbearing co-dependent friends always do that?). However, I was stronger that I gave myself credit for, and we worked it all out; the mindful living I experienced even then threw me a life preserver, as did my lovely wife. (Here's a great read for fathers on centering oneself.)
On a lighter note, one of my good buddies always teases me. "That poetry gig didn't really work out, did it Kev."
No, it didn't (although I miss it terribly at times, the writing that is).
Now we have a house and a child and we're so very thankful we have jobs. Amy works four days a week, so we have childcare three days a week and then on Friday's, it's daddy's turn.
I'm also thankful my mother activated my nurturing gene decades ago, because otherwise, there would be no daddy daycare on Fridays (with the exception of one Friday so far when I was with the boyz). We've actually got it mostly worked out, Bea and me, with her morning nap coinciding with my Friday morning Webcasts and sales meetings, and then again in the afternoons so I can catch up on the millions of administrative mind-benders crawling all over my skin.
We play in between the working lines – tummy time on the boppy pillow while anything in her reach goes from hand to mouth. I read to her (stop, do not hop on pop) and we watch eebee and Sesame Street and nursery rhymes of all kinds with unending glee.
And we've started a sweet tradition of the afternoon rockfest. Yep, I flip on an iTunes Genius mix and we boogie to everything from Bowie to Spoon. (One of these days I'll get it on video.)
But it's difficult at times as well. If baby has a meltdown, which she did last Friday afternoon, there's nothing I can do to make it all better. When the wailing continues unabated for 30+ minutes, you begin to see the dark side of the force ("Luke, give in to your feelings…"). And our baby is on the far side of being colicky.
Thank God almighty.
Although I can barely hold a candle to their experiences, I can better imagine what it's been like for mommies for generations and the new breed of Mr. Bay Area Mom.