It's been one of those weeks where I've struggled to maintain perspective.
My mother is a big one for running down the list of comparators when life gets stressful. It could always be worse and there are plenty of examples she can find for people with lives far more worthy of sympathy: people with terminal diseases, people living in war-torn areas, people without food, people suffering in the latest earthquake/tsunami/hurricane/etc., people who live in countries without decent health care systems, people in jobs getting paid very little and being treated poorly, people who's husbands left them to run off with their secretaries, people who's terrible ungrateful children never call... etc. While I agree that it's pathetic to allow my developed-world, white, backpack-of-privilege to appear too burdensome to carry, sometimes you have to allow yourself to take a few moments to wallow before you smack yourself across the face with how much worse it could be.
Since I went back to work after my maternity leave, my husband has been staying at home to care for our daughter. This arrangement was a decision we made before we married or even thought seriously about having kids. For our family, for a variety of reasons, I think it's the best option. However, being down to one income is stressing me the fuck out. As a result of the choice I made to spend 8 years and tens of thousands of dollars on post-secondary education, I have tens of thousands of dollars in student debt (before we got married we used to joke that I came with a reverse dowry). Add the student loan payments to mortgage payments, car payment, lines of credit payments, insurance bills, utility bills, groceries bills, etc. and there's not much wiggle-room left.
We've never been big spenders (he's Dutch, I'm Scottish, we're cheap) but on two incomes you get used to a certain lifestyle. One where the occasional overpriced fancy coffee isn't going to break the bank. One where you don't regret that you're too old to sell black market eggs to wealthy Americans desperate for babies (and yes, I looked). It's difficult to not feel deprived of certain little pleasures and the ability to spend money on something without wondering what else you won't be able to afford because of that purchase.
Here's where I take a breath and remind myself that: I had the privilege of getting an excellent education; my job pays a good wage and has benefits; my family is all healthy; we live in a great country where I won't lose my house to debt if we did get sick; as terrifying as I find Ottawa weather, it's not likely to actually kill me anytime soon; and, I know my husband won't leave me to run off with his secretary because he ain't got no job.