Just Hang in There

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     Just hang in there. It’s what I tell my daughter when she calls from Tennessee, and she misses me. She misses the  noise of her little brothers and her little sister’s dirty clothes on the floor and the barking of too many dogs and the loud boom of her Daddy’s voice and complaining that there’s nothing good to eat and all the chaos that lives in our little zoo. But no matter what she says on days like that, I say “Just hang in there!”

Honestly, I think I’m saying it to myself too. Times are tough. I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat or Tea Party or Indepent or a Purple People Eater, the world seems to be falling apart and some of us are barely keeping our heads above water.

I remember in the early years of marriage, when I had just two little ones to feed. If money got tight, it was Hamburger Helper. No big deal… a pound of hamburger meat, a box of noodles, a can of green beans and we were good to go- $10 dinner.

It’s not that simple anymore. The other day I posted a pic on Facebook of the price tag on some hamburger meat. I purchased 6lbs of meat, which would typically feed my hungry brood 2 meals- it was $31.00!

 

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Now suddenly Hamburger Helper isn’t the go to meal when times get tough! I’d like to say we could be vegetarians, but a bag of apples has gone up to nearly $7. That same bag was $2.99 just a few years ago. It’s looks like noodles are all we can still afford. If diabetes was down with it, I’d live off pasta sauce. The more I believe nutrition is fundamental, the more I see it as something nearly impossible to attain. Groceries are so expensive!

My friend and I used to know a lady who always complained about the price of bread. It was about 44 cents at the time. We joked to each other “if I ever complain about not being able to afford bread, please shoot me.” Well, maybe I should duck, and wait for the BANG, but I’m not sure I can afford bread anymore.

But there’s light at the end of the tunnel, right? I mean there is always a light, isn’t there? For me, the light is simple. Finish college. Finish college so I can stop getting paid as a substitute teacher and start getting paid as a full time teacher. That would double the dollars in my house.

And that’s where I keep telling myself JUST HANG IN THERE. I feel like finishing college is a nearly impossible task right now. I’m working full time, the kids are playing baseball and softball and going to dance lessons and tutoring and I’m struggling to keep the house clean and the laundry done and the bills paid and the computer is in the shop and I’m sewing dresses for extra money and when can I just LOG ON and DO MY SCHOOLWORK??

My mind is full of struggles too. Like I’ve said before, my youngest four children are adopted. Their birth mother is a family member. So I’m also struggling and juggling with what I believe is right and what I think is wrong. Should they see her, should they not? What if this works and that doesn’t? And then I am beating myself up over stupid things, like the fact that I didn’t make myself into an all-star head room mother for the kids this year. I didn’t tote cupcakes to school on Valentine’s Day. I haven’t even hosted any over-the-top birthday parties in a while because it’s all become too much. What if the kids grow up and forget the years of cupcakes I made and only remember the ones I didn’t get to? What if they think I never made the right choice about who they could see and how often? What if at the end of it all, I’m wrong about everything?

And everyone has advice. Like “clean one room at a time” or “clip more coupons” or “pray about it” or “throw away everything you don’t need” (which is a hard one because I am hopelessly addicted to projects I’m not sure I’ll ever finish) but at the end of the day, I’m the only one here, and I’m the only one who knows how many t’shirts I already tossed out, how many chores I gave the kids, or why in the world I let them have that bunny rabbit in the first place. I’m the only one who knows how much I argue with myself over decisions and I debate myself until I’m blue in the face always trying to find the best solution, the perfect answer, and I always think I’m falling short.
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So, since I’m the only one knee deep in this chaos, I’m the only one who can find a way out, and right now, nothing seems to work. All I can do is say JUST HANG IN THERE and hope to God I am listening to myself talk…

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3 responses »

  1. You know what my kids remember most? The pillow fights, the water balloon wars, and getting sprayed down if you bugged mom while she was doing dishes. Do they remember the month we couldn’t afford food? No. Do they remember having to wear hand-me-downs for ages? No. Thrift shopping now is a family event. They love the hunt! 🙂 As for groceries….I don’t see that getting better. I believe you’re getting gouged, and yes you ARE getting gouged, because you live in a small town.

    I would suggest spending a weekend a month out of town, to a big city, and stocking up. The gas would be more than balanced by the savings for the month on meat.

    With the drought in California, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. Stock up and freeze when you can.

    Love you!

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