Posts Tagged With: expectations

managing expectations

Y’all ever get pissy about something and know you’re in the wrong but for whatever reason you can’t let it go and get more and more pissy?

No?
So it’s just me then?
Yeah, that’s what I figured.

I got all bent out of shape because YBW told Thing G he’d make him a different dinner than the one we were having. (same food, just prepared differently)
This did not sit well with me.
Maybe it’s because I grew up poor, or didn’t have much when my girls were kids, but the idea of making more than one meal makes no sense to me.
It turns out that loads of people do it.
And though that’s the thing that set me off, it’s not actually the point.

The point is that if I had known Thing G wouldn’t eat what I suggested, I would have made something else. The kid is only home for dinner two nights a week, I want to feed him what he likes.

So I just got more and more frustrated.
YBW kept saying I thought he was an idiot.
Which infuriated me.
And there we are in the kitchen shouting at each other because I’m mad and he feels stupid.

He said something that truly shocked me.
He suggested that we go through life and I simply tolerate him. That he’s something I have to endure.

I don’t know if it was just that something was triggered in him or he really believes that.
I don’t believe that.

We function differently. That’s cool.
I need more information before executing plans.
He doesn’t want feel like I think he’s an idiot.

I absolutely overreacted.
I can be irritated by something and not become a screaming shrew. I’m not exactly sure how, but I’m all for figuring it out.

But when I’m frustrated or angry about something it makes me even more frustrated or angry when he starts telling me I think he’s stupid. That I think he’s a failure.
That was honestly the last thing in my mind.

The first thing was I’m so sick of our lives revolving around a young man who refuses to take responsibility for his own life.
The second thing was that I would never offer to make a second meal for literally anyone. That level of accommodation exceeds my level of tolerance.
The third and most important thought was if I had known he didn’t like this food prepared this way, I would have made something else. Why serve someone something they don’t like?

The food situation had been solved previously by having the boys decide the menus when they were here. That way they ate what they wanted. I was happy to prepare the meals as long as I didn’t have to plan them.
That went out the window when Thing C moved out.
Thing G can’t be bothered.
YBW expressed that he doesn’t think it matters all that much.

Y’all, it’s not about food.
It’s about family members functioning together to run a household.
It’s about people who can’t care enough to engage in their own lives creating a black hole in a household.
It’s about blending two families that function in completely different ways.

It isn’t YBW that I can’t endure.
It’s his kid.

And the worst part is that I actually love that kid!
I love the stuffing out of him and want every wonderful thing for him and his life.

I know I’m ridiculous for being angry about what I can’t do anything about. But I am.
I know I should apologize for being ridiculous. But I didn’t.

I made a commitment to YBW and his kid. To get him through college.
I will honor that commitment.
I will do my best not to become angry or irrational.

I shouldn’t make YBW miserable just because I’m frustrated.
I shouldn’t be miserable just because I’m frustrated.

The reality is it’s a no win situation.
Because Thing G frustrates me I’ll be miserable.
Because I’m miserable I’ll be angry.
Because I’m angry, YBW will be miserable.

I need to get over myself.
Truly, it is the simplest solution.

I’m not really sure what set me off.
I just know I’m so sick of it.
The feeling this way, I mean. It’s exhausting. But more than that, it’s not good for me to be so frustrated what the kid does and does not do. The kid doesn’t give any f**ks, why do I?
Um…because someone has to?
(le sigh, le really big sigh)

As long as Thing G is comfortable, YBW is willing to sacrifice his own comfort.
I’m not willing to sacrifice comfort. Mine or YBW’s.
So I act like a dick and cause more discomfort…?

It’s my life too!
I have to live in this house too!
Why does the comfort of the kid matter more than anyone else’s?
What does that teach the kid?
What does that teach other family members?

Why does what I expect or want or need get trumped by those of the kid?

What I really want is a little peace.
When the kid is in the house there isn’t any. It’s not because he actively breaks the peace. It’s that everything about him matters more than everything about everyone else. I have a hard time finding the peace in that. And not because I think I should matter more. But because as a family unit or humans in a shared household, there should be more balance in who and what matters.

What I really want is a little peace. (I know I already said it)
I want to be myself.
That is not to say I want to always get what I want. Just to be me. Without fear of upsetting the kid. Without fear of upsetting my husband.
I’m equal parts lovely and wretched.
I’m opinionated.
I’m impatient.
I’m quick tempered.
But I’m also kind.
I’m loyal.
And I’m the most fiercely loving person you’re likely to come across.
I understand that being in a relationship with me isn’t always sunshine and lollipops.
I am actively working on being a better me.
I have a willingness to become more.
I have a willingness to embrace change. What I do not have a willingness to do is change who I am to fit into a life someone else built. Neither do I expect that of the people I love.

Square peg – round hole is a realistic situation.
Neither the peg nor the hole should be expected to make all the changes. This is a delicate situation in which it takes time, and patience, and practice working together to change the environment so it’s a better fit for everyone equally.

Expectations.
Am I expected to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect YBW to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Do I expect Thing G to do all the compromise? All the changing?
Any one of those expectations is unrealistic. The expectation that every person can compromise a little, can change a little will create an environment in which each member is more comfortable.
I’d like to better manage my expectations.

I just want to be comfortable in my environment.
I want the others to also be comfortable in the environment.

Thing is, I believe I’m the only one that’s uncomfortable.
So is it a me problem as opposed to a we problem?

I honestly don’t know.
What I do know is that I need to stop being a dick.
I need to pay attention to how what I say and do impacts the people around me.
I need to have courage and be kind.
I need to do everything in love.

I’m tired of this same old song.
I think I’m the only one singing it.
I must stop singing it.
It’s the only way I’ll find peace.

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Categories: me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

expectations or “I’m a big tough girl, I tie my own sandals and everything”

I guess it’s that time of year, but I also believe it’s so much more than that too. I believe the universe is speaking to me and I need to take some serious heed.
I’m talking about expectations.

YBW and I had a conversation Sunday about expectations. I got an email this morning from a friend about expectations for his life in the coming year. My last visit to my therapist was a conversation about expectations.
This little red haired girl has been considering expectations for as long as I can remember. But at this time, I think it’s all about my own expectations.

My brain edema really put certain things into perspective for me. I was forced to make life changes I’d been toying with. I was forced to slow my pace. I was forced to slow my compulsion to control everything.
Those were actually quite positive!
Only it left me without any real direction. And for a girl with the desperate need to control what goes on around her, that was worst possible situation in which to be.
I floundered.

But later…
I started my lula business.
I started a new part time job with the county schools. I was offered a second part time position based on my skill set and how much I’m appreciated by the administration.
I began writing more.
I even got my ass in gear when it came to my degree program.

What are my expectations for how I’ll earn money?
I’m working at prioritizing these things. I’m considering how to move forward with some but not all of these things.
YBW is talking more and more about how great I am with children. How happy I seem when I’m talking with and working with children. He’s always impressed when children come up to me in Wegmans or Target and start talking to me, “You’re at my school!” “I see you at lunch!” “You’re in the classroom now.”
YBW remarks how much impact I have on these children simply by being in the same building with them each day.
He’s got a point. All I ever wanted to do was be a mommy and a teacher.

Which brings me to my expectations for how I can be a mom to far away children and children that aren’t really mine.
This is the thing that is killing me every single day. Sometimes softly and silently, sometimes with a Rebel Yell and the cries of the dying.
I’m not exactly sure how to write about this…but mostly I’m thinking this is for journaling and not for blogging.

Expectations for marriage are tricky.
I have nothing really to base them on. But I know what I want and what I don’t want. Mostly I want to be on the same page as YBW. I’ve struggled with the feeling that while we’re in the same book, we may not in the same chapter. I suspect that is my perception, more than anything. But it is a nagging feeling I can’t seem to shake. So through conversations, some simple, some fairly painful, we talk about where we are. Where we want to be. How we might get there.
We charged each other to get very clear about our expectations. We set a date to come together with these clear expectations and compare.

I’ve spent my life worrying about other people’s expectations of me. Some of these were so ridiculously out of reach I’ve felt a failure for most of my adult life. But I developed a few of my own, and guess what? I met them. Know why? Because they were realistic and I am capable.
My most accomplished expectations are for the way I was (and continue to be) a mom. I look at those girls, as flawed as they are (because, let’s be real, who isn’t?), and I know I met my expectations for being their mom. I taught them how to love, how to fail, how to be successful. I taught them sarcasm and that it’s perfectly acceptable to express yourself. I taught them to fight for what they believe in. I taught them that I’ll have their back. I taught them that even the most overbearing mothers can learn from their children. But for me, the most important expectation of all was that I got joy from being a mom. Those girls have given me so much joy and I embraced it and lived in it!
I am a better mom than my mom was. I’ve met most all of my expectation I had of myself when it came to being a mom.
And for the most part, they’ve met my expectations for them. They’re smart. They’re capable. They have compassion. They love fiercely. They have goals. They experience the good and bad and have the skills to come out the other side more aware.
Honestly, what more could I ask for?

Now I’m going to create new expectations for myself.
It frightens me to ask the question, “What do I want?” and to actually answer it.
But I’ve got this!
Like Megara, I’m a big tough girl. I tie my own sandals and everything.
meg-and-hercules

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

undermining myself

I have this terrible habit of not expressing precisely how I feel if I think there’s a chance it’ll be met with resistance. Example: I sort of wanted to go to a partly last night. A party for a woman who is the mother of a child I used to teach in preschool. She’s celebrating a milestone birthday and I thought it might be fun to “show my face”. It’s important to say that I was not clamoring to go, I just felt like I might want to. YBW asked me earlier in the day if I wanted him to go with me. I told him, yes I did. (And here’s where I begin to undermine myself) But I also told him that if he didn’t want to go, that was OK too.

Later on when it was time to think about leaving the house, I got frustrated because he chose to take the out I so graciously gave him. I came upstairs and changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth and got ready for bed. I was cutting off my nose to spite my face, but I was in no frame of mind to be around people.

I set myself up to fail.
I’m so adept at it, I almost never realize I do it.

Last night I realized it.
YBW and I had a conversation that began on an unrelated note, but found it’s way to this particular subject matter. I said something about how when the roles are reversed, I would go with him because I knew that he wanted to go and would like it if I went with him.
He said something to the effect that in that case, I’m being the better person.
At first I thought he meant I did it purposefully. That I thought I was a better person than he is, that I do these things to be the better person. He assured me that wasn’t the point.
So I asked then why did he choose not to be the better person.
I don’t remember if he answered me or not.
But here’s why: What I did was give him an out and hope that he wouldn’t take it.

I’m not skilled at saying what I want.
I spent a lifetime learning not to express those kinds of things. I learned quickly that what I may or may not want didn’t matter. I learned that I was to do what was expected of me without question. This was my childhood.
The moment I began to do what I wanted, I was unceremoniously ejected from my home.
Let me assure you, a traumatic event like that will give you pause. And reinforce the fact that anything I may or may not want were irrelevant.
I chose a passive aggressive, master manipulator as my first husband. I was expertly fooled into believe I was not only able to express what I wanted, but that I would also get it. This was tricky for me. It looked like I was finally able to articulate what I wanted and I was amazed by it. Only, it wasn’t really what I wanted most of the time…the sabotage was so subtle I didn’t realize it was happening.
I might express my desire, but for the most part it went unfulfilled.
Eventually I began to understand how it worked and stopped expressing my wants all together. I would simply deffer.
Example: If asked where I would like to go to dinner, I might have something I really wanted to eat but I would never say it, I would simply respond with something like, It doesn’t matter to me, where would you like to go?

It was hurtful to be specifically asked what I wanted and then not actually get it. So I learned to stop wanting things. I learned to stop expressing my opinion.
But I didn’t like it.
It created a toxicity in me. A bitter resentment.

A pattern is created and then it creates how one functions. I knew better than to express myself, but I hated it. I hated the people who started it, and I hated myself for perpetuating it.
Most of the time I try to be hyper-aware, but it’s so easy to fall back into a lifelong pattern…

I am creating a self-fulfilling prophecy with YBW.
I’m not giving either of us a chance.
If I don’t say what I want, I won’t get it. And then I get mad. At him. At myself.
If I say what I want and then add a caveat based on his wants, I hope he’ll show me how wonderful he is and do what I want even though I’ve given him an out. I’m setting him up to fail. I’m setting myself up to fail. And then I get mad when we fail.

Now, I’m not saying this is entirely my responsibility. It’s his too. But I need to trust that he’s not going to repeat the same patterns I’ve already experienced. I need to be clear and then see what his choices are.
If I’m clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want him to go with me to a birthday party and he chooses not to go, then I have a right to be hurt and frustrated and mad.
But if I’m not clear, if I say, but if you don’t want to, that’s OK, then he’ll choose what’s most comfortable for him. And when I get hurt and frustrated and angry it won’t make any sense.

I’m not good at expressing what I really want, sometimes I’m even worse at even understanding what I really want. It’s a skill set I need help with. I need to practice more.
It’s just so much easier to deffer, to say, “It doesn’t matter to me, whatever you want.”
I’m still getting hurt, but I’m not letting anyone else hurt me. I’m doing it myself.
I’m aware that is some kind of twisted logic…but it’s my logic.
And I’m working on it.

I’ve tasked myself to journal about expectations.
I have a feeling I’m going to surprise myself.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

our love (of Joss Whedon) is ever-changing AND constant

Just had a great conversation with Thing 2. She called as I was leaving school this afternoon and we just hung up the phone. Her voice is one of my true joys. We’ve been playing phone tag for almost a week now and I am so happy I got to talk with her!
She was sounding a bit sad when we first started talking. I asked and she explained there was a bit of drama. Girl drama. I laughed and said: I didn’t think you hung out with girls any more. She laughed too then said there was some ickiness with her best (girl)friend. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it. She explained that she’s hurt that her best friend has gotten really close with another girl (a common friend) but Thing 2 is kind of feeling put out. She said: Like I’m suddenly less cool than (girl’s name)? (I can assure you that Thing 2 is INFINITELY “cooler” than this other girl, and I’m not saying that just because I’m her Momma.)
We talked about how all her friends are in school and she’s not. How her life is completely different than their lives. Then she said something that gave me pause (and great pride).
She said: Maybe it’s me. Maybe I need to change my expectations.
Damn, that kid has insight. How many seventeen year olds have that much self awareness? (I did something right.)
So we talked about her perspective, she was thrilled to have my feedback. I feel hopeful that it will help her when she begins to feel this way again.

We talked about our adoration, nay, worship of Joss Whedon, Thing 2’s girl crush on Eliza Dushku, and how freaking talented Alan Tudyk is.
This portion of the program started with her sharing that she finally started watching the second season of Dollhouse.
(Then it went a bit like this: OMG Thing 2! I was just thinking about Dollhouse earlier this week! OMG Momma! We’re totally connected!)
This was a hilariously animated discussion which moved into Buffy and what a total whiny crybaby we both think Angel is. (We love Spike.)

We discussed a visit. She told me she promised to visit her sister first and then come here. But she wanted to come here sooner rather than later but didn’t want to hurt her sister’s feelings. Hmm…this got me thinking…and I said: It isn’t lost on me that we are talking about a twenty-one year old grown ass woman and the concern that if you spend time with me instead of her it will somehow hurt her feelings.
Thing 2 said: Wow! Way to put it into perspective! I’m coming to see you! (We don’t yet know when, but she’s a-comin.)

We talked about our emotional connection now that we don’t really have our physical connection. I told her I missed the days when (as a teenager) she would come into my room with her pillow under her arm and I’d say, “Whatcha doin?” and she wouldn’t speak, but walk to my bed, move the other pillow, place her pillow and get into bed, look at me and grin.
She giggled and said she missed that too. She said: Now you have a boy in your bed. We laughed. But I said: You know, there are other beds in this house, but you were all, No! I wanna be right in the middle of this big bed with your tiny self. (the same bed that was mine into which she would plant herself) She laughed again and said: Well damn, if I’d know that, I wouldn’t have left. (Interestingly, hearing that didn’t sting.)

We agreed we were both missing our connection. We agreed to be more aware and mindful of it and to amp up our communications.
That kid.
That kid has been my very favorite human being since she first grabbed my finger through the tiny hole in the incubator bed in the NICU.
Our life is different now. We’ve hurt each other immensely, but we’ve healed each other, too.
The love we share is different from any other love in our lives. It is true and it is deeply rooted, but it is also adaptable. And that is what will keep us together even though we’ve been through some gut wrenching pain. Even though we’re five hundred miles apart. Even though she’s almost grown.
Our love is unconditional. Our love is ever-changing AND constant.
But I could cut off her Netflix at any moment…
(If you’re a Whedonite, you know what I did there…undercut a “sappy” moment with “sharp” humor. Thing 2 would be chuckling…as long as she believed I was kidding.)

Categories: love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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