Feature article in today's New York Times: "Job Woes Exacting Heavy Toll on Family Life". For those who have experienced job loss, the reality of these words is like a glass of cold water in the face. Our home life is described in mirror shards of detail on the national front page. The rational iota of our brains knows that grown up stresses trickle down and reside with our young ones. But in order to survive the New Now, we want desperately to believe the running refrain from those who aren't walking in our shoes. "A blessing", they often call it. They say: Being home offers the gift of time to enjoy and tend to our loved ones.

But Michael Luo's article refutes this rather useless mantra. Quantity time does not equate to quality time. Think about your last 10-hour drive kids 3-abreast across the back seat to visit the in-laws. I don't care how good your integrated car entertainment system is...

Now overlay the worry, the fear. The disorientation of losing your "space" by being given infinite amounts of it.

The "Heavy Tolls" article is read days after being popped with the latest unemployment report: 10.2% jobless. It's a one-two punch which throws the panorama of our national family circumstance into black + white. The job loss happens to us, but the effects are suffered by others. The others I'm talking about are those who didn't do anything to deserve this. Accident of birth, shared address.

It's the truth of parenting. Once we were owner-operators. We spent money, we owned the debt. We got drunk, we felt like shit. We spewed and fought, we kissed and made up. With a spouse, a family, these consequences are divided equally regardless of culpability. You feel like you have no control? Go inside your 10-year old.

No one is exempt from the pain and anger, the frustration and helplessness. It's been said that these kinds of experiences are character building, they teach lessons about what's important, about the moral rectitude of frugality. Those benefits are like pension monies, you realize them in your sixties. That is, if you haven't paid them out to survive along the way.

Resist. Relax. None of this is a blessing. But survive it intact, we must. The pay-now is to teach our children that we have what it takes to navigate the ship. A small ship, for a long journey.

Resource for survival: Heather T. Forbes Beyond Consequences Institute. Subscribe for a daily reflection aimed at the heart of resistance as it applies to parenting.

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