THE STATE OF OUR UNION: Opinionated MAMA's Perspective on "Keeping It Together"


When the honeymoon is over and the day-to-day grind of real life begins, it takes a lot of hard work to create a healthy, happy…more perfect…union. Whether we are talking about the state of our country or the state of our own marriage and family, the message is the same. We need to take time to evaluate what is working, what isn’t and figure out how to adjust accordingly. If we are in a dysfunctional relationship, it is hard to deal with any problems, big or small. Never mind an economic crisis, healthcare crisis, education crisis, natural disasters, terrorist threats and wars. It is too much. If we go into any relationship expecting it to fail, then it will fail. If we go into it committed to making it work, regardless of the circumstances or the magnitude of the problems, then we have a chance.

There has been a lot of stress on our union in the past few years. We certainly don’t need to add to the drama by “kitchen sinking” all the time. We’ve made mistakes. We need to fix them and move on.  We are a nation that is confused and scared, wondering how we racked up so many bills and let ourselves go over the years.  The things we care about seem to be upside down – from our country’s infrastructure falling apart to our own homes being under water, from the value of a dollar to our family values, from our blind faith in religious leaders to revered football coaches. We kind of feel like crap about it.

All the political bickering is not helping.  It’s like fighting in front of the kids – it stresses everybody out! We want to know that we will be o.k., that as dysfunctional as it seems sometimes, we are still committed to each other and will do whatever it takes to keep our American family strong. We want accountability and consequences for past mistakes, otherwise, how will we know you get it?  How will we know that you understand how much it hurt us?  How will we know that things can really get better?  We can pretend.  We have to be honest with each other.  And, yes, we should let each other up for the little things, but it’s so hard when we are not constructive and keep tearing each other apart.  So, for the sake of the kids, we need to get our priorities straight and remember what’s really important…for better or worse, we’re in this together.

Communication is not just about “talking,” it’s about connecting.  We can communicate with a look, a touch, a gesture, if we are truly connected. If we respect each other and trust each other, then communication is easier. Respect and trust are the foundation.  If we earn each other’s respect – if we feel it, really feel it – then trust comes and the inverse is true, too.  If we trust that our partner has our family’s best interests in mind at all times, we will respect him for it.  We might not always agree, but those shared values will get us through the toughest times.  Because, let’s face it, there will be a lot of tough times…and they can bring us closer or they will tear us apart.

Today, as we reflect on the state of our country, we will determine if the solutions presented meet our needs. Do we have the same dreams for our union? Do we have the patience to make things work for the long term, or not? Do we believe that things can really change? Will our children have a better future?

The President’s speech must translate to a happy home for our family…our American family. Because if our home is broken, figuratively or literally, then we won’t be able to focus on much else until we pick up the pieces. The bottom line is that we wake up every day and we have a choice to work on it or not. Like Abraham Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Good advice for us as moms and for us as a nation.

Change begins at home.

–  Michelle & Deb


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