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In Times of Transition

For the last decade or so, my family pretty much poured its heart and soul into my company. Until recently, I co-owned a graphic design and multimedia development firm that built health education research web sites, primarily for the government. They were large-scale, complicated – and as you can imagine – money from the government is complicated too – so the running of the business took a lot of energy.

I got pregnant in the infancy of the business. My husband Bryan had just come to work for us, but we made the decision that he would stay home once the baby was born. He did so for two years, and during that time, worked very little outside the home. We developed a new pattern. The schedule bended to me. Bended to my company. My meetings took precedence over his plans; if I had to work late, he dealt with it.

He came back to work with us as Declan entered preschool, but the pattern continued. His work was important and valuable – but we knew that my responsibilities had to come first. We knew that he was helping build the company by supporting my needs.

This is not to say that I wore the pants in the family. It just meant that in the ebb and flow of schedule, Bryan did the heavy lifting with Declan, and with the house.

In March, I sold my half of the company and am going out on my own. Instead of 35 employees, I have one. Me. And while my new venture is important to all of us, Bryan has a new venture too. He left my company last year to become a Creative Director for a software development firm. HE has become the backbone of the family. HE is the one we need to make time for now.

The first month was strange. I continued to make meetings and plan my day as I always have. The rude awaking was that I totally needed to change my mindset. Which is hard after 10 years.

But I have been trying. We now make sure *I* am the one to take Declan to school. Bryan tries hard to get out in time to pick him up, but if not, *I* am definitely his backup. I defer to him when planning our evenings, because he is working at night a lot these days. It’s been an adjustment for sure. Something I hadn’t really thought through when we decided to make this change.

I knew it would be a big transition. I just didn’t realize how big.

Have you had any transitions lately?
How have you coped or adjusted your lifestyle for them?

Author: Aimee

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  1. Great post, Aimee. We’ve been going through transitions at our place but none as drastic as yours–our has been much more gradual as I’ve started picking up more freelance work.

    As much of a juggling act as it’s been for me, it’s definitely been that for my husband as he has had to help more with the kids i.e. school pick-ups, homework, etc. As we’ve been redefining our new roles and being empathetic to changes the other person is going through, that has helped the process!

  2. We’ve switched back and forth on staying home/working several times and it’s always an adjustment. I am trying to get myself on a more disciplined schedule now that I work from home. It’s not going that well.

  3. What a great post. Change is always difficult but as long as you communicate with each other and both consider the other’s position, things will work out.

  4. You guys are making me feel better that everyone goes through this! 🙂

  5. I’m sure all couples feel this at some point…or does it end? I supported our fam while my hubby was in law school and started staying home when our son was 7mos. It was a tough switch – it’s hard to be a SAHM (we all know that.) So, I solved that problem by working a bit here and there…but then my hubby had to pick up slack at home. It’s so hard to find that perfect balance – is there one – and when does the transitioning subside?

  6. Thanks for this glimpse into your life. I think many couples can relate to the see-sawing of responsibility that is bound to happen in long-term relationships. After a decade, how can it be anything but a bit jarring at first? You are brave and I’m proud to know you. I’m very excited to see what you are doing with your new company. That one employee is very important. Take good care of her.

    I’ve been a SAHM for years and years. I think the biggest adjustment I have to make in the near future is the transition from school to summer. Having all the kids home all day, every day, is tough. I admit it. There are a few weeks of getting into a new routine and becoming accustomed to constant big kid noise and a different pace of living.

  7. This isn’t quite the same, but still a big transition. My husband moved, without us. We’re not splitting up or separating or anything like that. It’s just, he had to move for work, and we own our house here. The housing market crashed later here than everywhere else, so it’s taking even longer to recover. In fact, I think it’s still heading downhill.

    Anyway, my husband has always worked really hard to be a family man instead of a career man. I’ve been able to be a SAHM, but with the help of a husband who was willing to sneak out of work early to take the kids to the playground whenever I was having one of THOSE days. I didn’t realize until these past two months just how much I had come to rely on that. Now that it’s gone, I really, REALLY miss it.

    I’m taking one for the team though, and trying to adapt. (And considering my husband has deployed twice, it’s something I have gotten through before.) Where my husband went isn’t forever, and it’s really good for his career. These next two years are going to suck, but when we come out the other side, we’ll be really glad we did things this way. After being the “family man” for so long, my husband deserves this chance to further his career. I just need to be reminded of that finish line every once in a while.

  8. Congrats to you, Aimee, for taking this huge step!

    One of the most challenging transitions for me was when I went from “a corporate job” where I worked for someone else and started working for myself out of a home office. I went from a predictable income to one that was based solely on what I sold. It was scary but invigorating, and I surpassed my expectations.

    Then, a transition took place when we had Claire. Things shifted again, and I accepted a position that was a little of both: I worked for another company, but I set the workflow and could do it out of my home office, with Claire by my side.

    Then, another transition took place when we decided we were in the position to where I could just quit and focus on Claire and my writing.

    As she gets older and is in school on a more “full-time” basis, we’ll reach another transition.

    Congrats again, Aimee…and good luck!!

  9. Loving you guys! Thanks for the support! And love hearing your stories.

  10. You said it just right and I know Bryan most of all appreciates this post. Great post.

  11. Transitions are so hard, we’ve been through a number of them. Some of our making, some forced upon us. And they are all hard, on all of us (not just the grown ups.)

    I think you just hunker down and get through it. Talk a lot, cry a bit… and well, I took up something uber physical to help me sleep.

  12. Our transition lately has been empty nesting. We were used to needing to be on the kids schedule and now I am freed up to travel with David. This sounds like it’s a wonderful thing, but it is an adjustment to be able to just think about what we want to do instead of who needs to be at cheer practice or soccer.
    Very interesting post that I am going to now have to discuss with David over dinner!!! Thanks!

  13. Mary – I often think about what empty nest will feel like, and I assume it is a HUGE transition!

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