Let’s face it, times are tough all around right now. This is the worst economic recession since the 1930s and we’re all feeling it in some way. Lord knows we’re feeling it in the Daddy Files household and it’s tough to stay positive.
Like many families, we’re down to one income these days. And it’s a journalist’s income so it almost doesn’t count. Currently we’re living off MJ’s 401k and our tax return. We had to borrow some money from my parents just to stay afloat and still need to pay them back. Over the past year we’ve been chopping away at our credit card debt, but it’s still a pretty intimidating amount. Nevermind the mortgage, car payments, condo assessments and the general cost of taking care of a new baby.
Then there’s MJ’s health, which has improved but is still a concern. She has suffered from Crohn’s Disease for years, while struggling with anxiety and bouts of depression. I’m very proud of her for taking it upon herself to seek out help from a counselor, but postpartum depression and losing her job certainly didn’t help matters. And right now her Crohn’s is flaring up again, but she can’t go to the doctor because our health insurance still hasn’t been officially switched over to my company’s plan yet.
I know we’re not alone and there are many people worse off than we are, so I’m trying not to complain. But it’s very, very easy to get discouraged and despondent in this economy with talk of bailouts and stock market plunges heading up the news everyday.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay positive and reflect on all the good things in life.
I could tell MJ was headed down a bad road a few days ago. She’s worked full time since the age of 14, and not having a job is KILLING her. So when I came home and saw the house was spotless, the fridge was cleaned out, the dishes were rearranged, Will’s old clothes were all packaged up and in the attic and all the meats and frozen vegetables in the freezer had been reorganized…I knew she was reaching a breaking point. The pile of bills sat ominously on the table and she kept looking over there, as if they were taunting her. All she could talk about were the things we couldn’t afford, how we didn’t have the money to travel to her brother’s wedding next month, etc.
One thing that’s really pissed me off since becoming a Dad is running into the age old stereotype that a dad’s main job is to work as many hours as possible and provide as much income as he can, while mom stays home and cares for the kids. Sure dads should work and support his family financially, but there’s so much more to being a dad. There are so many other ways a dad needs to provide for his family that go far beyond a paycheck. And one of those responsibilities is to talk mom off the proverbial ledge and restore some hope and optimism.
And during those times, there’s nothing better than some kitchen dancing.
I turn on our wedding song (Bless the Broken Road by Rascal Flatts) and force her away from the bills and her chores. I hold her close to me and wrap my arms around her and I smile as I stare into her gorgeous eyes. And we dance around the kitchen, her head buried in my shoulder, and even though I don’t utter a word I don’t have to. That’s my way of telling her everything will be OK and we’ll get through it.
And then I squeeze her ass because…well, it’s a nice ass and I can’t help myself.
The point is, it’s easy to get depressed right now and feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. But at the same time, it’s easy to lose sight of the great things in your life as well. I have a beautiful, healthy son who I love more than anything. I have a gorgeous woman as my wife who, for some reason I’ll never understand, is happy about spending the rest of her life with me. I have a roof over my head, food on the table and friends and family who would do anything for us.
So take a few moments today and do something fun. Treat yourself to a movie, give your significant other an unexpected compliment and otherwise give the finger to this recession going on. Or, if you’re like me, grab your wife and take her for a spin around the kitchen and refresh your memory of how much you love her and how special everything felt on your wedding day.