Ladies and Gentlemen, It’s Tax Season
It’s that time of year, again. The time of year when I become the rock of the household, when my needs take a backseat, when I find myself with excessive amounts of free time that I’m not able to spend with my favorite person, and when I lose my Certified Public Accountant husband to his career for approximately 104 days. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s tax season.
For those of you who can commiserate with those three words, I feel you. Each day of tax season runs our spouses through a whirlwind of chaos and leaves them utterly exhausted and often times a pile of mush when they finally make it home to us. Being the spouse of a public accountant for these three and half months can have its challenges, but it can also be a surprisingly rewarding time. Maybe I’m just an optimist, or maybe it’s because my husband and I met while we were both working in public accounting so I know first hand what he is going through. Is tax season a walk in the park? Absolutely not. But it is a time where I can step up and care for my spouse and support him unconditionally when he needs it the most.
The back story: our first few tax seasons together were hard, we were both working insane hours and rarely had time to spend with each other. And when those rare occasions did happen, we found ourself talking about work. How could we not? Tax season was consuming somewhere between 75-85% of our waking hours, and it was incredibly helpful to have each other as a sounding board. It worked for us; it worked really, really well actually. Then we got married. And then I left public accounting.
Our first married tax season left me feeling like an outsider. My husband was working these crazy hours and I had a simple 9 to 5 financial analyst gig. Most nights I’d get home from work nearly 5 hours before he did. It got to the point where I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d cook dinner, but he wasn’t there to enjoy it with me. I’d try to take our dog on a walk, but the weather was always miserable. I would run errands to fill the void, but there are only so many errands to be run. I would eventually just watch TV for hours on end and spend excessive amounts of time on social media. I became reclusive and I struggled to find my own happiness. I missed my partner and I felt like I wasn’t contributing enough. I’d feel guilty if I made social plans because I know he’d be sitting at work while I was having fun. The guilt, loneliness, and utter boredom turned me into a pile of mush, too. Let me tell you, two piles of mush trying to keep a marriage functioning and a household running was borderline insanity. We were a hot mess. And something had to give.
Being an only child, I’ve always struggled when it comes to being giving and selfless. My husband, the oldest of five, completely grasps and embodies the selflessness concept. It’s just in his nature and it is something I admire about him. Even during his busiest days, he still finds ways to make me feel special and reminds me of how much he loves me. And so, I decided to take a page out of his book. I was going to be his rockstar wife; the kind of wife who runs the show while feeling empowered and fulfilled. No more self pity, no more guilt, no more refusing to live my life during tax season, no more pile of mush. I set my mind on being as positive and selfless as possible so that the only stresses he faced came from work. His job wasn’t magically going to get easier, so I knew I needed to make his life as effortless as possible where I could. I wanted to make certain that our home was a refuge for him, a place where he could truly unwind without a nagging, negative wife adding to the immense load already on his shoulders. This strategy was a game changer. Little did I know that once I was able to rid myself of the guilt and truly live, my outlook and demeanor would do a 180º. And this change snowballed into so many areas that I didn’t even know needed improvement.
I actually enjoy tax season now. Sure, it isn’t rainbows and unicorns, but I’m contributing to my marriage and my household in ways that exponentially help my husband and his gratitude is beyond measure. Do I like doing all of the household chores? No. Do I still ask for a cleaning lady on a regular basis? I sure do! Is cooking dinner alone fun? Not really, but my husband has awesome meals to take the next day. Do I get lonely? I do miss my man but I have grown to appreciate the free time, as it gives me an opportunity to explore new hobbies, interests, and connect with friends. Is it still hard? Absolutely, I think being the spouse of a CPA is one of the toughest jobs out there. And yes, it is a job. One that may not have a monetary salary but the intangible payment is more than enough. This role has pushed me to be self sufficient, selfless, and self empowered. It has taught me how to love bigger and better, how to give more of myself to something and someone, and it has made me appreciate my marriage, my husband, and the life we live. I have realized how many sacrifices my husband makes to advance his career, not only for himself, but for me too. Afterall, he’s not the one with all the free time to try tennis, photography, and yoga. He’s out the door every day at the crack of dawn, running around between clients and the office, trying to thrive in a situation that would make most people’s heads spin. Is this ideal? I could argue both ways here, but at the end of the day it works. It’s our life, a life that I am so grateful to be living with one heck of a husband by my side. I’m beyond blessed to be The CPA’s Wife.