Monday, November 10, 2008

Optimism



I am resisting pessimism with every tool I have. It's not at all hard for me, but my husband seems to be sinking into it. Underneath all of his worry is this attitude that he has had to carry the finances of the household all these years.

This way of thinking assumes that I don't understand what it means to "carry the family" or that I'm willing to just sit back and let him do all the work of keeping things going. And it assumes that being responsible for the finances of the family is the heaviest, most important job a person can do. Is it?

When my children were young, three in three and a half years, I stayed home with them. One might say that I carried the emotional and physical work of keeping things going at home. When my youngest started preschool, I went to work there; when she started elementary school, I went to work with my husband. I have worked there since. I do the accounting for our household and three companies. I do all the housework (I do have help with this) and grocery shopping; any cooking that is done is done by me. I emotionally support my children and my father. I am on the church board and library board at my college, lead two discussion groups, and take creative writing which involves a good deal of both writing and editing. I'm busy.

For all that I do, I do not have the burden of carrying the family financially. And with all the emphasis these days on what's going on in our country and the world, it would be hard for someone to ignore that things could get very bad before they get any better.

I refuse to let that kind of worry dominate my daily thoughts. I do not think I'm naive or in denial. I know that having to get clients to build houses and use our company, hold their hands during the process while dealing with flighty and unreliable subcontractors, talking concept vs. reality with architects and designers is a very large task. I know that people are backing out of the process left and right and are afraid to commit.

So what's the difference between us? Why does he worry and I don't? I think it simply boils down to the fact that I do things that I love and they never (or hardly ever) seem like a burden, and for the most part this is not true for him.

I don't know how to change his way of thinking about his work. I am not willing to start getting clients or building the houses in order to make his job less stressful. And I don't know how to console someone whose life's work is threatened by circumstances beyond his control.

But I do know this: We have a house and two cars. We have three beautiful children. We go to work each day and right now we put a paycheck in the bank every few weeks. Our debt is minimal. Our parents, though definitely aging, are able to take care of themselves for the most part. We're healthy.

I refuse to give in to fear and confusion. I am determined to keep plugging along, loving the things that make up my day, and supporting him as best I can. Attitude is everything. And hopefully contagious.

6 comments:

G Liz said...

It definitely is a stressful time...and although I don't have the stress of paying a mortgage right now, I'm doing my best to pay off debts that somehow, mysteriously piled up...how did that happen?! :-)

Last night, I tried to sleep, however thoughts of how to pay off certain debts kept storming around in my head.

Your blog has helped me feel a lot better about all of this. Truly, our outlook is what makes the difference. Thank you for sharing...sometimes it really does help to hear from others who are going through similar situations.

Allie said...

Mamie...it sounds like you've got a positive outlook and a hopeful spirit, and there is nothing wrong with that. Good for you!!

:o)

sealaura said...

i try to fight pessimism too. the best advice I got recently is "keep moving" and I do, or else I sit there thinking too much about wwhat I can't control. Good luck!

billie said...

Amen to that, Mamie!

I loved your retreat photos, btw. That is one fine way to take a day for yourself!!

GutsyWriter said...

I know what you mean. I'm a writer with 3 kids, only 2 at home now. I used to feel so guilty about not providing financially until recently, when I finally decided I'm a writer, and my memoir will be published. I'm doing everything I can to move in the right direction. I've wasted so many months trying various jobs, but nothing ever paid enough to make it worthwhile. So I'm sticking with my memoir.

mamie said...

Stayed tuned, all of you, for my post today about happiness.

(Word verification is comiasco: a situation which is both humorous and disastrous.)