Recession Mama

{April 29, 2009}   …Are We There Yet?

–by Carla


I’m looking out the window right now and I’m actually really enjoying this rainy weather. Seriously. It’s probably a Texas thing. “Will it just rain or will a tornado come out of the sky and force me into my closet?” Always keepin’ you on your toes, Texas weather. Then a thought hit me. Well a few thoughts, really. First I thought, “Our backyard looks really beautiful”. Everything is green and things are starting to warm up out there which means pool season is just about here. My next thought was “Ok, I’m tired of the rain…bring on the sun”. Call it a short attention span, call it my totally undiagnosed ADD, but I am over this rain (which is supposed to stick around all week. Lovely). And with that short attention span…how can I possibly weather the financial storm we’re in right now? It’s been 4 and 1/2 months since I was laid off and my attitude about our new, trimmed down lifestyle is still pretty upbeat, but how long is that going to last? I actually worried about that today…because I’m a woman and we worry…it’s what we do…while doing everything else. So I started looking around for answers as to when the recession will end and more to the point, when I will be able to re-hire my housekeeper.  Well….

Hmmmm, that’s not so upbeat. But I can deal with that. Then news of the swine flu starts spreading like, well, swine flu and things just got a little worse:


All I need is a little information on when this is all going to wrap up. That way I can program my little brain like an alarm clock, suffer through get through the next few/several months as best as I can with a giant smile on my face…counting down the days to when I can call Suzanne up and say “So, can you make it on Thursday just like old times?” I keep putting off mopping the floor because in the back of my mind I’m thinking, “It’ll end soon. Don’t mop now, Suzanne will be here to help you any day now.” Pathetic. I know. Yet there’s the mop, mocking me 24 hours a day…


This all feels a little familiar to me. I’m going to make a confession that will no doubt make me sound spoiled AND rotten. Here goes: This feels a little like being grounded. Remember that feeling? Mom and Dad wouldn’t let you watch TV for a week, or they’d snatch the car keys from you for 2 weeks. You made due for the time being…you stayed inside, didn’t go anywhere…maybe you read a few more books or thumbed through a few magazines…but you killed time. You told your little brain that “this will end…you’ll be getting the car back in 6 days, 20 hours and 7 minutes”…and it felt really good knowing that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Oh and you learned a lesson and stopped doing whatever it was that you were doing that got you grounded in the first place. Then one day ..BOOM…you got your keys back…hopped in the car and you were off like a prom dress.

And yes, I do realize that my current economic reality is directly linked to my actions of a spender versus a saver. I get it. I’m grounded. Thankfully, I can come and go as I please and don’t have to check in with Mom and Dad. But I’m starting to think that the recession isn’t going to end “just like that”….in the snap of a finger. I’m guessing that this new, trimmed down lifestyle will just become my actual lifestyle. That’s perfectly fine, too. I would just like to know which way to program the old brain here.

The great news is that there are ways to stay happy in tough economic times. We get it straight from a few happiness researchers.

And knowing that there are happiness researchers out there working hard to figure out how to make us happy at a time like this, well that right there just plain makes me happy. At least they’re not studying up on the bad habits of the ho-fish…

Heather B. says:

The recession does feel like it’s going to last a long time. I think we’ll still be feeling this for another 18 to 24 months. So I think we’re beyond grounded. But I like the comparison.

I remember getting detention hall for fist fighting with a boy in junior high school. It was to last a solid month. That meant staying in a classroom at lunch time. I couldn’t take it! I lasted about two weeks… then begged the principal to give me “licks” so I could get it over with. He made me stay in d-hall a few more days and then FINALLY gave me “licks” and I was free. The boy I punched out never missed a beat. He got “licks” and went about his merry way. No d-hall. It seemed unfair at the time. But I think the principal knew exactly what he was doing. I NEVER got into a fist fight with a boy on school grounds again. Lesson learned!

I know you’re wondering what a junior high story has to do with this recession… but I think the lesson applies. There’s NOT always an easy way out. Sometimes you just have to be patient and take your licks too.

Hang tuff mama.

Katy says:

I think that the not knowing part is really the toughest. Every time I’m not working, I always think…I’m never going to find another job again for the rest of my life. Yes, it’s that extreme. I’ve talked to other people in my field, both mamas and papas, and they are the exact same way. I don’t know what it is, whether our brains automatically go into “survival” mode, or what? And even if I don’t believe that anyone knows what is going on, I still like to hear what economists, astrologers, and evens psychics predict…just so I can try and wrap my brain around, possibly, how long this recession is going to last. My own prediction? 2013.

Predicting the future is tough though. This is one of the reasons I’ve been having issues with getting married in this recession. Yes, there are discounts. But still…do I want to spend tens of thousands of dollars when I have no idea how long we are going to be in a recession and whether I’m going to really need that money for my mortgage, instead, one day?

recessionmama says:

Katy, I cannot imagine having to shell out my hard earned savings on a wedding. I’m just too damn stingy…but I guess there’s a balance out there we all have to find.

And Miss Heather, holy smokes you cracked me up again! I had no idea about detention hall for a month. And for a fist fight! I’d LOVE to know how HE turned out..heeehee.


Katy says:

I love the article on 10 Secrets to Finding Happiness During the Recession. It doesn’t really say anything new. They actually aren’t secrets, but they’re good reminders of finding that inner happiness and peace, no matter what the circumstances are.

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