My husband and I have done a great job divvying up our household tasks over the years. He’s responsible for the stereotypical man-chores: taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, shoveling the snow and making sure the cars get an oil change after 3,000 miles–to name a few. Some of my chores include filling and emptying the dishwasher, sorting and starting the laundry, and tending to the baby in just about every way imaginable. Also among my responsibilities is the one most consistently dreaded throughout every household in the world: bills.

Sitting down at my computer and paying bills once a month isn’t something I look forward to. But lately, it’s been particularly painful. Yesterday, I gathered up the bills, sat down in my cushy chair, grabbed my laptop and got to work. With each bill I added to the online bill-pay page, the total grew larger and I grew increasingly depressed.

My husband and I are feeling the sting of the bad economy. And with a new baby, we have expenses we’ve never had before–between day care, food, clothes and trips to the doctor, it adds up. As I noticed my mood shifting from relaxed motivation to cranky and anxious, I stopped myself and took a deep breath. I looked around the room at all the toys scattered around the floor, my son giggling with delight at not one of those toys, but a can of unopened coffee he was rolling around. I looked at my husband who was lazily resting on the couch, putting off mowing the lawn. I looked around the house at all of our things and thought, we may not be wealthy, but we have what we need plus some. And our savings account may be taking a bit of a hit as we work through one of the roughest economic times in history, but we’re together and we’re making it just fine.

Generally, it’s been a tough year for everyone. Whether you suffered through layoffs or budget cuts or both, it’s easy to get discouraged and it’s difficult to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With Thanksgiving just a few weeks away and the holidays around the corner, focusing on the good things that have happened in your life will go a long way toward keeping your spirits up as the season of cheer approaches.