Out of the Woods

After being unemployed for over a year, I recently returned to work at the company from which I was laid off -- when business got better, they called me back, doing similar work but on a different product.  While I had been unemployed, my ADHD husband's job had heated up, and I had taken over more of the household responsibilities to more evenly distribute the total effort.  When I was asked to return to work, we knew it was going to be a big adjustment -- his job was still very busy, but he was going to have to take back his household responsibilities, because I was going to be working *more* hours (full time with planned overtime) than when I was laid off.  I've looked at it as the acid test of the dynamics we've put in place since we rescued our marriage from our separation five years ago.

No surprise, it has not been a smooth, seamless transition.  I am less inclined to patience with all the time pressures I'm experiencing.  He's having a hard time with the increased need for communication and with staying on track with so many responsibilities.  We've had a few moderate fights, and we're definitely not getting everything done that we need to.  We're both tired a lot, but because of the backlog of purchases/expenses  that were deferred during my unemployment but can't be deferred any longer, we can't afford to hire any help at this time.

But so far, we've met the "good enough" standard, and it's gradually getting better.  We still are doing our formal meetings three times a week, although we tend not to discuss as much about feelings or problems and deal more with the more complicated logistics we again face.  Hopefully, as we get used to the more demanding situation we are in again, and re-learn to work more efficiently, we will be able to get back to those topics we've put "on the back burner" for the present.  The better habits and behaviors (e.g. not yelling, not assuming, not jumping to conclusions, not judging, trying to communicate clearly, trying to listen, double-checking to make sure we are on the same page, our regular meetings) that we worked so very very hard to establish when we rescued our marriage are paying off big dividends now.  It has also unquestionably been a help that this change has occurred during the summer, and not during his Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) season.

We're not totally out of the woods yet -- but we can see the Emerald City in the distance!  But aside from the encouraging trend, we are really pleased that the changes we made five years ago are continuing to really work, some of them surprisingly well, despite some significant stresses and strains (not all of them related to the new job).  My husband was even able to cut back on his counseling schedule temporarily over the summer, without any significant impact.  So even though we are tired and stressed, and battling some ADHD-related issues, we are also really happy to find that we've learned ways to manage that help our marriage work "good enough" in the face of significant change.