Recession Mama

{April 7, 2009}   Tired Broke

Mamas and papas (thanks Craig!) I’m not sure where to start but I feel I must share what being broke and sick of the job search means to me. It’s absolute EXHAUSTION. There have been times when I wasn’t sure how everything was going to work out. But I kept the faith and just kept going. I would always tell myself  “Keep moving, keep trying, keep the faith. It will pass. It will change. It can’t last forever.” It did pass. It did change. But it would take a long time.

During one of my longest struggles I scribbled in my trusty note book the following words. I’ve kept them for a long time. I’ve never known what to do with them. But it feels right to share them now. (interpret them how you want) 

“Exhaustion drapes over me like an old overcoat, tattered and torn I’ve got my strap stuck in the door. Twisting and pulling and crushing my bones. One more step… I can”t find the courage. ”

For a while, I had just about given up on finding security. I know it sounds dramatic. But honestly when you are on your own, you’re on your own. It’s frightening and exhausting. I never thought that my life could be so good because I struggled so long. But it is. 

Financially, I’m not struggling now. But once you’ve been broke you can never forget. And right now my survival instincts have kicked in. It doesn’t matter how much money is in the bank. I’ll always worry. I just can’t help it. 

I am cutting back. Sure, I could do more. But I can’t FIRE the people that depend on me for their livelihood. I just can’t. I’ll give up a few things to keep them employed.

Yes. Right now I may live in a wonderful neighborhood, drive a nice car, and have beautiful things. But that doesn’t make me immune to the economy. I think about it everyday. And right now my former “broke” self is whispering little lessons in my ear. I hope you will listen to them in the weeks ahead. Some are sad… most are funny. I’m sure you can relate. 



Katy says:

Looking forward to reading what you learned from those days, Heather!

Heather B says:

One lesson: be careful whose couch you crash on. I once moved from one state to another to live with some old roommates. It was winter, very cold. When I got there I discovered there was no heat, no phone, and that my room smelled like animal urine. Oh! And there was a carbon monoxide leak! Thank goodness someone found me wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa and dragged me outside. That someone was a bullriding cowgirl who decided to crash in the dining room. She liked calling me “sweet cheeks” much to my chagrin. My roommates were out of town, so I didn’t even know how to contact the landlord. Lesson Learned: Don”t bank on a bailout from friends. They have good intentions but they’ve got problems too.

Carla says:

Sweet cheeks! I love this story. And I love how you’re a “silver lining” kind of girl.

recessionmama says:

Did I mention that she would slap me on the butt before she would call me “sweet cheeks?” I thought I had moved to hell. But really the experience forced me to make some tuff decisions. It’s how I found the courage to pack up one more time and move to Dallas.

Katy says:

I think we should all call Heather “sweet cheeks” from now on. What do say, Carla? A rodeo mama calling you, sweet cheeks and slapping you on the butt! Now, that’s a story!

Claudia says:


As I left $100 on the counter this morning for our cleaning lady, I thought for a second, “do we REALLY need this luxury?” and remembered how she left behind some very simple business cards she’d made last time around to give to my friends because her work has dropped off over the last few months. Yes, we can afford this right now and I know exactly what you mean by firing those who depend on you. Budgeting and cutting back helps. I’ll keep checking your blog to see what you ladies have learned and are passing on.

I’ve been on friend’s couches also and know where you’re coming from. Looking forward to your insight…


recessionmama says:

Thanks for the reply! I’m glad you’ve decided to keep your cleaning lady. It’s a luxury. But it’s one that gives you the opportunity to focus on other things. Besides you should feel good about helping someone else. If everyone headed to the recession bunker and stopped living then we’d all be in trouble. I cut my nanny’s hours just a little and you should’ve seen the look on her face when I told her. She has three kids to support. It was about 50 dollars a week less. That was HUGE for her. I’ve now reconsidered. She’s like family. I can’t cut her out right now. I’ll just trim somewhere else. I’ve gone back to work 2 days out of the week to justify the cost. It also keeps me from spending money. Take Care! And keep us updated.

Carla says:

I love the honesty here bc although I can’t personally relate to some of those struggle, I know many people who CAN and it doesn’t make it any less real for YOU. That’s the beauty of recessionmama, we’re all in this boat together, I’m just hanging out on the riff raff deck right now!

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