Thursday, August 12, 2004

When Momma Ain't Happy, Ain't Nobody Happy

Or something like that.

I’ve been thinking about this saying recently. Mainly because of my raging pregnancy hormones. I’m discovering that it’s pretty accurate.

I really think that women set the emotional climate in a home. I know quite a few people who grew up with a jerky father. My cubicle-mate, for one. His dad was a lying, cheatin’ dirtbag. But his saintly mother tolerated it, calmly carted the kids off to their strict Independent Baptist church three times a week and serenely carried on. My friend turned out okay. He learned fairly early on that dad was not to be trusted, but simply tolerated. He endured his father’s rants and affairs and went on with his life. He doesn’t speak too negatively of his father. He’s accepted his father’s faults, but also that he’s no role model. I know several people with similar father experiences and similar outcomes.

However, friends of mine who had emotional, bitchy mothers did not fair so well. My friend, Claire, from college has had a rough time. After enduring a hellacious upbringing with a loony alcoholic mother, she is now an emotional basket case. She’s never happy. She’s become a wanderer in life—never content, afraid of commitment. She talks about her mother as the bane of her existence; the catalyst that wrecked her life. Yeah, she’s bitter. Again, I know several people with wacky mothers who have ended up similarly, though maybe not so extreme. My boss, whose frequent gun-wielding mother sounds suspiciously bipolar to me, still cannot refer to her without clenching his teeth.

In my own home, Jason can be in a snarky mood and life continues along fairly normally. I just make sure that there is coffee brewing and I know things will be fine soon. But when I am irritable or in a tizz, it’s a different story. A cloud seems to settle on the house. Even the cats seem to get restless. When I am in a fun mood, the house seems to party. Problems seem less problematic. Jason hums.

I’m not saying all this to prove how valuable I am. It actually adds the burden of responsibility to me. But I really like having a happy house. So I guess it’s really worth it in the long run for me to lighten up and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” (my apologies to Bobby McFerrin, wherever you are.)


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