Thanks to everyone for their comments, well wishes, and overall support from my previous post about getting laid off. An extra special thanks to Des at Half Banked for featuring my post twice on her blog. Losing your job isn’t easy, but it’s nice knowing that I’m not alone. Quite a few of you have also been laid off at one point and have shared your stories with me. Some even reached out to help me look for work which has been a pleasant, but unexpected side effect of me blogging about my experience.
I gotta admit, being a stay at home parent is pretty cool. I know that it’s only temporary and sooner or later I’ll be back in the workforce, but for now I am enjoying my time off. In the few weeks that I’ve been out of work, I’ve spent more quality time with my family and being more productive around the house. I’ve also learned a few things about being a stay at home dad.
I Have Never Been More Exhausted
An office job is easy. You clock in, do your work, and go home at the end of the day. I spent most of my days sitting in a chair staring at a screen while I type away. Watching a toddler is 100 times more exhausting. There are no breaks, no going out for lunch, and no coworkers to shoot the breeze with when you want to chat.
There’s only my little monkey who is a bundle of energy from the moment she wakes up at 6 am to when she goes to sleep around 8:30 pm. When she takes her naps during the day, I usually spend it cleaning up the whirlwind mess we created, washing dishes, folding laundry, and preparing her next meal. The only moment I get to myself is when I throw on a Mickey Mouse cartoon when I need to take care of something really quick. Thanks to her cousin, she is also fond of the song “Watch Me” by Silento. My daughter calls me “babe” more than she calls me “daddy” because of my wife. So I’ll hear “babe, NAE, NAE” about twenty times a day. That damn Nae Nae song will buy me another few minutes.
It would be easy to sit my daughter in front of the TV and have her watch cartoons all day. That would only be cheating my daughter and myself of this bonding opportunity. We’ve gone out daily to parks, gardens, took walks, and explored our city. Doing this on the cheap, mind you – her daddy currently doesn’t have an income to be shopping all day! I’m trying to figure out some creative projects at home that we could do rather than play with toys all day. I even made some home made play dough made out of bananas, cornstarch, food coloring, and flour that she could put in her mouth (not that she should). Smells just like banana bread!
A special shout out to all full time stay at home parents. I don’t know how you have time to do anything productive like keeping a clean house, running errands, cooking meals, all while keeping your little ones entertained throughout the day. I have a lot more respect to those parents who choose to stay at home to take care of their kids. You the REAL MVP.
Since I got laid off, we’ve cut Addie’s daycare from 5 to 3 days a week. We didn’t want to lose her spot and still wanted her to be around other kids. I don’t want Addie to grow up socially awkward like her daddy ;). Our daycare is pretty inexpensive, so it doesn’t put that big of a dent in our reduced budget. It also gives me time to work at the home and look for jobs.
If you think me getting laid off means I can collect unemployment and play video games all day, you haven’t met my wife ;). I don’t even turn on the TV until the end of the day. I’ve cleaned the house inside and out, maintained the cars, ran most of the errands, did work around the house, and read. I worked with a recruiter to update my resume and get tips on doing a better cover letter. I’ve also attended a few webinars about finding a new position.
Searching for a job is a job in itself. All the online listings to wade through, tailoring each resume and cover letter for each position takes a long time. For the most part I use Indeed and check the job boards at the companies that are close by. I’ve gotten a few callbacks and emails, but nothing too concrete just yet. I went to a job fair the other day but that was a bust – the positions were all sales related, not my forte. It’s all a numbers game so eventually something will come up. If anyone else have tips on good places to look during a job search, please let me know in the comments.
Life Isn’t All About Money.
If there’s one thing I can take away from being unemployed, is that life isn’t all about money. The other day my wife turned to me and said we were blessed. I am lucky to have such a wonderful wife to be that understanding in light of our reduced income. I know people joke with me for being a cheap budget nerd, but that’s why my wife and I are in such a great spot. Thank you emergency fund and budgeting. Being a cheap dad has afforded us the luxury of taking a step back to find that better opportunity.
Now if only we lived like Mr. Money Mustache when we graduated, my wife and I wouldn’t ever have to worry about working again. A guy can dream, right? :). The next best thing would be finding that position that truly suits me. I’ll find it eventually.
In the meantime, I’ll spend my time watching my daughter do the stanky leg twenty times a day. I think we found the song for our father/daughter dance for your wedding in 32 years.