Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lawpsided Reason #2 to Love Layoffs: Bringing Your Family Together

Continuing on our theme of the upside of the downsize, let's take a look at how your layoff is going to bring your family together in ways you hadn't thought imaginable.

Let's face it.  If you were the typical big firm lawyer, you weren't able to spend as much time with your children as you would have liked.  In fact, you might not even be able to name them all on sight (this might be true even if you have just one child).  You probably just call for them by using generic nicknames like "Pumpkin", "Handsome", "Whatyoumacallit", "WhoseYourFace" or "Hey you, the short one!"  

Well, that's going to change.  You're going to become very close to your children, both literally and figuratively.  For one, you will no longer have to search your 6,000 sq. ft. home for them, wondering which of the seven bedrooms they might be playing in.  It's going to be a snap finding them in your new studio apartment.  They'll be the little obstacles that you trip over in the middle of the night on your way to shared bathroom down the hall. 

Financial austerity will bring your family closer in other ways.  When you were employed, you drove the kids to school each morning while conducting business on the phone.  You'd then slow to a roll and fling them out of the vehicle as you burned rubber out of the parking lot and raced to work.  You likely repeated the same process in the evening, occasionally picking up the wrong child (no big deal, their parents probably didn't even realize that they were gone).

Well, all of that is going to change.  You will actually be able to talk to your children on the ride to and from school.  And there won't be any need to rush.  You'll be able to drive at a leisurely pace; at least, until the bank takes back the car.  And even then, you'll have plenty of time to walk the kids to school.  The walk will not only build up their little bodies, but allow them to complain to their children that, when they were kids, they had to walk to school ... six miles ... uphill ... both ways.  Up until now, you've deprived them of this kind of tale of childhood woe.  Bad parent!  Bad parent!

Your parenting is also going to go to the next level when you began volunteering as the middle school soccer coach, drama club stage manager, afternoon school crossing guard or lunch lady.  Before long, your kids will feel that they can't get enough of you.  "Mom, you are, like, soooo embarrassing me.  When you pick me up from school tomorrow, can you pretend that you are kidnapping me or at least, take off the hair net?"  However, despite their current protests, you should continue your volunteer efforts knowing that (1) you are going to be building memories that they will cherish in the years to come; and (2) if you work hard, you might get hired full-time as the lunch lady.

Finally, you will be able to spend time with your children at the end of the day.  No longer will you tuck them into bed by phone.  "Daddy loves you, Julie!  Your name isn't Julie?  Is this 456-3227?  It's 3277?  Uggh!  Well, good night, whoever you are!"  Instead, you'll help them with their homework.  "Okay, Toby.  Today, we're going to work on a creative writing assignment -- Daddy's resume."  And after a light dinner (very light), you'll get them ready for bed.  As you lean beside their bed at the end of a long day, you'll look your child in the eye and say, "Always remember that Daddy loves you.  And also remember that, if Mommy asks, Daddy only had two beers since you got home from school."

All kidding aside, this could be a time to really bond with your kids like you've always dreamed of doing.  In a few months, you might find yourself asking, "Why did I spend so many years slaving away as a law firm associate?"  Or you may think, "Why didn't I go to business school instead of law school?"  I guess it all depends on how well the lunch lady gig turns out.

1 comment:

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