Recession Mama

{April 29, 2009}   Economic Growing Pains

 BY: Heather B.

We’re a relatively young country, so we still have a LOT of growing up to do.  I’m not saying we’re a bunch of babies, so don’t get all riled up. I’m just pointing out that we’re evolving… and learning some hard lessons. Unfortunately, we’re having some “growing pains” right now.  But you’ve been there before right?   Just whip out a family photo album and follow

Everybody and everything has changed over the years. My mom no longer wears bell bottoms in a size zero… My sister has lost the glasses.. and I’m not that naturally blond anymore.

Everybody and Everything is changing in this recession too.  Some for the better, others for the worst. But chances are your thoughts, behavior and habits are a little different.

Some of my changes have been more pleasant than others over the years. I started out alright. Sorta cute in a way. Blond whispy hair, blue eyes and an eager smile. But I could be a total nightmare. I could throw what my dad called “a wallass fit.”  (that’s a made-up term for one big temper tantrum)


I was also good at embarrassing my parents.

 Example… An exchange between me and a grocery store clerk that went to our church. (small town. everyone knows everyone)

Grocery store clerk: “Is this food for your cat?”

4-year-old me: “Yes.”

Grocery store clerk: “What’s his name?”

4-year-old me: “His name is Tiger, but daddy calls him “that son-of-a-bitch.”

Grocery store clerk: “Oh. How nice.”

I was young… I didn’t know any better.

Besides who could get mad at this sweet little face?


Things have been looking pretty “sweet” in the US for many, many years. On the outside, we look pretty good. Young, rambunctious, real go getters. Sure we’ve had our problems. But countries still run to America for help. The economy was usually growing  and people were spending money like a kid in a candy store. But we’re growing out of that “cute phase.”  So we just can’t  say or do anything we want to anymore. (Boo!) We should know better.

The Awkward Years

WOW! I went from a decent looking kid to awkward and skinny in just a few years. I like to call this the 4th grade Funk. My grandmother chopped off my hair because she thought it would be “easier to fix.” But I just looked like a boy in girly glasses. Check out those teeth! You could compare them to the current housing market… they’re right in your face… but you can’t afford to look at ’em.




As you can imagine, I was teased often. “Hey string bean. Where are your bumps?” (bumps were boobs)

I was a little goofy, but I always had one thing going for me– MOXIE! I could run faster than most of the boys AND beat them up too, so I had a little “playground cred.”  I was scrappy and determined. I think most Americans are the same. Isn’t that what this nation was built on? We’re just having an awkward phase right now… we’ll grow out of it! We just have to keep our heads in the game. No matter how clumsy we look.


The Learning Years

I know, I know, this dress is hideous. But it illustrates a point. It’s just a testament to what happens when you make a bad decision. My date wasn’t a great decision either, but he had a really cool truck with chrome rims and a thumping stereo.  And who wants to show up to the prom in an old clunker anyway. I had to work for my grandmother to pay for that dress. I mowed her lawn for months and drove her poodle “Gofer”  to Sonic everyday for a hamburger patty.

 I think you could compare this sequined nightmare to the stock market…  A good investment at the time (you think)… embarrassing loss of money later.



From now on, I think I’ll go with the “safe” investments (if there is such a thing) and not splurge on silly things. Got it! Lesson learned.


The Formidable Years 

Yes. I was a cheerleader in college. But don’t judge. It helped pay for my school. It also taught me many lessons about trusting others and facing my fears.


My stunt partner and I spent hours trying to master this extension. It’s was really scary at first.   Toss to hands, then up to the sky. I really wanted to “stick it” but I kept falling. It was so frustrating. Finally, I just let go of the fear and decided to trust him.  We finally got it!(Too bad I forgot to smile in the picture.)

Maybe in this next phase of the recession you can let go of some fears, and try something new. Don’t worry mamas and papas. You can do it with some good ‘ole determination!  Just don’t forget to smile once in a while. Remember there IS some satisfaction in the struggle. You’ll be back on top soon.




Carla says:

Oh. My. STARS! Those are the greatest pictures I have ever seen, Heather. WOW. And what an original and spot on way to compare things. After reading about your playground cred, I have even more respect for you now than I ever did. You have come such a long way, mama. Wow, those are the greatest pics ever!

recessionmama says:

I’m taking one for the team. Self deprecation you know. I vow to NEVER let my kids suffer through ugly haircuts, embarrassing glasses, and funky teeth. But prom gear is up to them. My husband wore a top hat to his senior prom. It makes us laugh now.

Katy says:

This was so fun! I love following along the recession example with all of your childhood photos. And your prom dress may not be an investment anymore, but you were still HOT, mama!!

recessionmama says:

Well I thought I was pretty smashing in that get-up. That dress made a repeat performance in the local beauty contest too.I did not win.(1st runner-up)I blame the dress. Ha!!!

Jennifer says:

Love the pics didn’t we make a great looking family back in the day. I totally agree that just as people go through stages in life that our country is hitting a generation defining stage now. Instead of continuing on a spend, spend, spend cycle….. we, mommas, may begin to be like our grandmothers. They had dealt with the depression and knew how to make every dollar, and scrap of tin foil, stretch. Just like Heather finally grew into those teeth, maybe we will grow into savy women who know how to see our families through the hard times.
Thanks for sharing the pics…….. they made me smile and remember some great times.

Heather B. says:

So true Jen-Jen. Hopefully we can be the sassy and savvy women that would make our grandmas proud. As for the pics… all I can say is thank goodness for good dental care!

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