It's hard when you come crashing down to reality, especially when you have been quietly but excitedly hoping that the change you have been longing for, is finally within your grasp. I have spent the last 2 weeks or so day-dreaming about taking a sabbatical from work. I had pictured my new daily routine and lived it in my head. Waking up and not have to rush around like a mad hatter to get Osh Osh ready for school and ensuring that all of us leave the house before the clock strikes 7.
I'm able to have breakfast with Osh Osh at a leisurely pace and read a book or two with him in the morning before taking him to the neighbourhood playground. I would only send him to school in the afternoon as we would have opted out of our present full day child care arrangement. When he is at school, I would have at least 2 hours to write freely without having to worry about what work email and voice messages await me. I pictured myself having more energy, more alive, less stress and anxiety; and ulitimately happier.
DH and I talked about this in length and he is very supportive. He was confident that we could get by comfortably on his single income despite the new mortgage payments for our home and our other monthly expenditure. I was more skeptical and had this nagging thought that we couldn’t do it.
A good friend of mine introduced me to an online budgeting tool which will assist in our calculations to give us a clearer picture of our finances. I worked on it alone yesterday and my heart sank when the numbers came out red. We would be about $1400 in the red if we were depending only on DH's single salary. DH didn't believe me when I shared this with him last night. He figured that I had overestimated some of our expenses to give us a buffer for unexpected emergencies. I did create a buffer as it wouldn't be realistic if we took this step without catering for unforeseen circumstances.
Although DH was tired last night, he sat down with me and we worked through the numbers again. We got more or less the same results. I was very disappointed. DH suggested that we do a 3 months dry run of drastically reducing our expenses and live now as though he was the family's only income source. I agreed but I know how difficult it will be. DH has always been very frugal with money so it would not be such a big challenge for him. For me, I see money as a tool to lavish gifts onto those I care about as a outward gesture of my feelings for them. I also like to occasionaly splurge on myself when I am feeling blue. Our different styles of handling money resulted from how we saw our parents dealt with their money over the years. After being married to DH for 6 years, I have adapted some of his frugal manner and he has learnt to be more relaxed about his approach to money. As it is with every married couple, we blend and mould each other, take on each other's characteristics and if we get it right, we become stronger and better individuals due to our marriage.
I asked DH, as my lame way of approaching this disappointment in a light hearted manner if he saw the dark cloud hovering over my head with rain showers, thunder and lightning. He smiled and said, "After the rain, the sky will become clearer, the air fresher and there will be a rainbow."
I smiled feebly. I guess I behaved like a spoilt child. I had fantasized in depth about my ideal life for the past 2 weeks. It made my present life bearable because I told myself, "Hang in there, not much longer now", each time I met an obstacle. Now, the fluffly, wooly carpet that I have been standing on has been roughly yanked from under my feet causing me to fall down hard on my butt! Ouch! I nurse my wounded soul.
What do I do now? Brush the dust off, pick myself up and hope. Hope that one day my fantasy life will come true. Hope that the ugly red number that we got from our budget last night will turn into a jubilant green one after 3 months from now. Hope that if it doesn't, He will give me the peace to accept my life as it is. Hope that He will give me the strength to live the life I have now in a pleasing manner to Him. Hope that above all, I will have the inner joy that I long for.