The Constant Struggle

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The Constant Struggle

“To be or not to be, that is the question.” Indeed, this is the

question Barbara constantly asks herself, whether or not she has to be

a responsible mom to Jodie, or to try and have a life of her own. In

the short story “Over the Hill” by Lynne Schwartz, Barbara is a single

mother struggling between the difficult tasks of being a mom and of

being a single adult. Barbara faces a dilemma that many other single

parents also faces, and that is their desire to date other people

because they don’t want to be a single parent for the rest of their

lives. However, her responsibility as a single mom doesn’t always

allow her to do that. As a result, Barbara is a responsible, fun

loving mother torn between her duty to her daughter and her need for

adult companionship.

Like many other single parents around the world, the income Barbara

makes is not always enough to take care of her family. Consequently,

being the responsible mom that she is, Barbara is “taking a short

course, one night a week” on bartending along with her friend Pat in

hopes of having a supplementary source of money (pg 208). They think

that they could “make a lot of money on the side doing bartending at

fancy parties” (pg 208). Barbara hopes that her income working as a

“draftsperson in an architect’s office” in addition to the bartending

money she hopes on making will be enough to support her family (pg

208). Although Barbara thinks that “under certain circumstances

abortion might be a good idea”, she did not get an abortion when she

was pregnant with Jodie (pg 209). Why didn’t she get an abortion?

Barbara didn’t get an abortion because she is a dependable person that

takes responsibilities for her own actions, even though she knows that

her life would be utterly transformed when she becomes a single

mother. Although Barbara feels depressed at the end of the night when

she thinks that James isn’t coming over, she still plays her role as

the responsible mother and reminds Jodie that she “should be going to

bed,” because she has a “dentist appointment tomorrow” (pg 217). By

trying to make more money, not getting an abortion when she was

pregnant with Jodie, and reminding Jodie that she has a dentist

appointment the next day even though she’s depressed about James shows

just how dedicated and responsible Barbara is to being a mother.

In addition to being a responsible mother, Barbara is also very fun

loving. She enjoys “fooling around with shakers and glasses like kids
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