Most of our moves have been a direct result of Steve’s job. But not every job change came with a move. Just recently, Steve started a new job that didn’t require a move. Well, it was new and old at the same time. He actually went back to work at a company and with people that he had previous work with for several years and ahem, caused a few of our moves too. In fact, when I posted on Facebook that Steve went back to work for that company, friends from 3 of our previous locations all asked if that meant a move back. And I’m going to be completely honest with you…I know this company and I know my husband and his career. I will not be surprised in the least if he is asked to move in the future. I know it won’t be for the next year or so. But after this role and this specific project, I bet we have the “move” conversation.
Even without the moving, a new job brings change! Guess what causes stress? CHANGE (even good change) causes stress! This new job is 100% answered prayer for us. Steve couldn’t start soon enough! He was going to be working with amazing people that he already knew and that in return, already knew his work style, his strengths and even his family. But even though all of this was great, it was still a change. As a couple and as a family we had to navigate this new job. It did not help that his first day back was also our baby’s first day of kindergarten, first day of our middle daughter’s new school and first day of our oldest daughter at the Junior High. Yep, it was a banner year of new schools for all of girls and hubby’s new job too.
I’ve learned to roll with the punches around here. Was I disappointed that Steve was flying out for his first day and wouldn’t be here for first day of school? You bet! But you know what is just as important to me? My husband starting his new job with my full support. Friends, I have seen too many wives withhold their support of their husbands in an effort to make a point or “punish” their husbands for making them move or just stressed. Your marriage is worth so much more. Most men are not as talkative as their wives. They are less likely to share their feelings, their fears, and their worries. But that doesn’t mean they are not thinking about it. When our husbands make huge decisions like changing jobs and moving their families, I’m sure it is not without giving thought to how it affects the family. In our case, I know that Steve is always praying about it.
What would happen if as wives we simply support our husbands? What if we not remind them (as if they need it) what you and your kids are giving up to make this move or job change? Could it be that our nagging and punishing don’t actually bring about anything good? I’m not saying that the stress isn’t real. Listen, Steve started a new job and spent 2 weeks in Europe on rather short notice. I was inconvenienced. We were still getting into the new school year routine on top of activities, sport practices, PTO meeting and just general life. But at the same time, I love this man. Why wouldn’t I want him to enjoy some cool stuff while working to provide for us? It won’t take long for the newness to wear off and it’s just a job again. I want to do whatever I can to help him enjoy it while he can.
But let’s get practical. How do I actually deal with new job stress? Be honest with people. I gave a heads up to the girls’ teachers that we were in some uncharted territory with new schools and Daddy away with a new job. Also, give yourself some grace. Your house will likely not be looking its best especially if you are still unpacking (but with a pumpkin candle it can smell good). When Steve is gone, I have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour before I have to get up before the sun to start my day. I have learned that some nights I need to just leave the sink full of dishes so that I can get some sleep. The dishes are usually still there in the morning. Ha!
And what if you just moved for a job? Both you and your spouse will be busy navigating all things new. It likely feel as if your spouse is busy and focused on the job while you are focused on everything else. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Don’t you want this new job to work? Be cognizant that a new job often brings about a huge amount of work in the beginning. And remember there is a season for all things. Check out Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 if you more convincing. And please give your self a break! You probably have a to-do list as long as your arm, but you need to carve out some time that you can stop and breathe. It may be just a five minutes of flipping through a magazine while you let your little one play at the park. Or go ahead and get a starbucks to sip while you walk down every aisle of target (I have a good friend who buys icees and popcorn for her kids to enjoy in the cart at target while she shops).
And finally, if you are feeling overwhelmed or seriously depressed with the change, do talk to someone about it. You can still be supportive of your spouse and need to talk to them about how you are feeling. There came a point in my husband’s two weeks away that I was overwhelmed and exhausted. I just didn’t know what to do next. And instead of insisting that I was fine, I gave myself a “mommy time-out” and retreated to my room. I sent an extremely honest text to a dear friend sharing how I was feeling. She was able to validate my feelings reminding me that it was ok for me to feel exhausted and such because I was in fact exhausted! Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate our feelings. Did she do anything to elevate the stress? No. I was still dealing with three kids on my own. But I knew it was ok and that Steve would be back in a matter of days. Just try and talk to a friend that will be supportive and not one that will add to your misery. You know the type…always one upping you on how terrible life really is or telling you how horrible your spouse is for traveling and leaving you to deal with the kids alone. I can do a whole blog post (and probably will!) on avoiding the trap of Debbie Downer.
This blog was something that Kim and I really wanted to start back in the Spring. I had no idea at that point that Steve would have a new job and that I would have one of my kids basically home schooling two days a week. So it hasn’t gone quite as we have planned. But I do enjoy it and I know things will eventually settle down. So hang in there as I adapt to the
stress change going on here and I will do better about blogging!