Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dealing with Job Loss & Multiples

It's not an easy topic to write about, but the truth of the matter is, it happens. I'm talking about job loss and lay-offs. I've sat on the sidelines and watched other families suffer, prayed for them, and tried to help with resume writing and whatever skills I had that could support them. And now, it's hit our family. 

In recent months, I've seen a lot of people doing the happy dance in response to falling prices at the gas pump. For us, each drop in price at the pump sent fear up our spines. Families that depend on work in the oilfield know that a drop in gas price puts their jobs at risk. And in Texas, a lot of families depend on the oilfield to survive. It's often hard, dirty, in-the-elements work and long days, often spent away from you family for weeks at a time but the reward is a paycheck that allows your family to live comfortably. I am proud to have a husband that is willing to make that sacrifice for our children and me. Through his sacrifice, while there wasn't a lot of extra money to spend each month, we were able to comfortably pay our bills and afford the things we needed.

Stacked rigs in Midland, TX
This is a term used when rigs are taken out of drilling production and stored in the company's yard.


One of the things about the oilfield is that when it's good, it's good but when it's bad, it's really bad. And right now, things are really bad. For months, I've watched reports on the news about falling gas prices and tons of oil companies doing massive lay-offs. I've prayed for families affected. I watched my own brother-in-law get hit, then my Dad, as well as many other friends and acquaintances. We knew the inevitable was coming, but we felt that perhaps if we could just hold on long enough, things would turn around. Adam's position was with a service company who provide housing on drilling locations. They were able to stay busy a little bit longer because as rigs released, they still had to pick up their housing units and return them to the appropriate yard. Unfortunately, things continue to slow and Texas continues to see massive loss of rigs in operation. Work began to slow and Adam started seeing fewer and fewer hours at work. And then, it got to the point where he would sit for days at a time away from home waiting for work that didn't come. 

When we made the decision that I would quit my job and focus primarily on the quadlers, we knew there was risk relying on a single income. From the beginning my intent was that I would continue to work so that we would be able to support our family. And then, reality set in.  When the babies were born at 28 weeks, our world was turned upside down. While my amazing doctor was able to get two rounds of steroid shots for lung development and magnesium for neural protection in me, any baby born at 28 weeks still feels the affects. While they may look normal and healthy on the outside, on the inside, our children are still growing and developing. As a result, their immune systems and their lungs are not fully developed so we have to take special precautions to protect them from things like RSV (a cold) and the flu. For a normal toddler, colds and flu are frustrating and painful but in preemie babies, they often mean hospitalization and many times intensive care. 

What that means for us is that daycare is not an option. We've had to turn away visits from family with young children who attend school or daycare because of the exposure risks during cold and flu season. I've spent most of the winter months cooped up in the house only taking the children out when I've absolutely had to go to the grocery store. We've been limited on being able to go to church and the hardest part has been not being able to meet and get to know our neighbors and people in our new community! It became clear to us that with the only option being to hire a nanny to come to us, financially, although it was risky to rely on one income, it made more sense for me to stay home. Not to mention the fact that caring for four amazing little people's every need is a challenge in itself and definitely requires an extra degree of patience (luckily, God prepared me by teaching me patience in my long wait to conceive a child, or four) but also the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. 

Right now, it's definitely nice having an extra set of hands around the house to help with the daily needs of the babies and chores around the house. However, the stress of worrying about finances is a high price to pay for it. We are working hard not to panic. But we are in the process of selling most things we have that we no longer need. We're also cutting back on things we don't have to have. I've cut back our cell phone plans, slowed our internet speed, and cut cable. We've also turned the thermostat up a bit in the house and make sure that we only wash full loads of laundry now vs just washing what we wore that day in order to stay on top of the never ending chore. We have faith that God will provide a way out of this. Through faith, God gave us four babies when our doctors told it was all but impossible for me to have one. He protected me and the babies through a difficult and challenging pregnancy and He brought the babies as well as Adam and I through 52 days in NICU. We are blessed to have friends and family to support us and pray for us throughout this journey. Adam is actively looking for a position using his mechanical aptitude, customer service, sales, or driving skills. We've looked into some local college classes that may prepare him for a new role as well, but that would mean trying to find a way to provide for our family during the time he's in those classes. Not knowing how long it will take to find a new job is scary. Knowing that most jobs in the area pay less than half of what he was making in his old job will definitely mean we have to make some large changes. Our hopes are to be able to get by until our lease is up and although we swore we'd never move again, we will try to find something less expensive. We do know that we love our new city and if at all possible, we want to stay, make new friends, and put down roots in an amazing, fun, and family-oriented culture! The first time we visited prior to making the move, the first thing we said was that we couldn't think of a better place to raise a family! With God's grace and help, we hope to! We appreciate all of our sweet blog readers prayers that we can recover quickly! 


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