Your body hurt from the work of holding the sad in? My shoulders ache and tears sting behind my eyelids as I struggle to sort out life choices and make rational decisions about the future. A long time ago when Five Husbands was just Two Husbands and life was less complicated I was better able to compartmentalize life’s problems. You break it down and then work on one block at a time. As I look back, I see how that enabled me to cope and rebuild my life after Husband No. 2 drank away our home and security.
Now, it is not so easy to break it down. It is impossible to ignore the big picture. Each fact and its extrapolations impact my personal quest to find a new job and struggle for attention amid millions of bits of information. News, stories, problems and personal observations clamor to be factored into every decision I make. How will this decision affect my mom? What about its impact on Son No. 1 and his new family? Most pressing, what about Son No. 2? How I approach problem solving during my, and the country’s, economic struggles will shape his view of the world.
I want to teach him to deal with stress, to find opportunity in every challenge. I want to teach him to believe, that no matter what, he can accomplish anything. I believe he can. But what is my sadness and frustration, as I spend hours looking for a new job, juggling this bill and that bill and trying to keep food on the table and gasoline in the tank. What am I showing him?
I worry about these things.
When I was 17 years old, after a lifetime of chubbiness and body image problems, I stood in front of a mirror in a dressing room looking at my lovely, slim reflection in the mirror. I was trying on a beautiful lace blouse; it was $17.00. My mother sat behind me. I twirled in front of the miorror.
“What do you think Mommy?”
She looked at me and said “I don’t know Judy, there is going to be a terrible recession.”
That moment burned into my mind a belief that happiness was dangerous. A belief I have spent half a lifetime trying to release. It isn’t helpful to feel sick to your stomach when you are happy because you are waiting for the other shoe to fall. So as I sit here, taking a break from job searching, I worry that my sadness as I go through this “economic downturn” is harming my son’s naturally optimistic nature.
Being a mom is tough.