Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Lower Your Expectations and Shut Up

I have a bad cough and cold and feel lousy. And I have been a bit discouraged, but I've been trying to be positive. Just don't have the energy to be very energetic. Now that was a brilliant sentence. Whatever.

Last night I finally mentioned to our 21 year old that it was his turn for dishes. He has been home for 11 days and hadn't been asked to do anything. However, I didn't want him to use the excuse that nobody had reminded him, so I tried to be funny and ask if he wanted to be reminded, which resulted in me being called a "smart A**" which didn't go over big with me. He finally, sometime later in the evening, did do half of them, but the kitchen is still a mess. You would think that if 11 people eat, you would be able to figure that you weren't done with dishes if you only washed 6. But what frustrates me is that I'm certain that in his mind I'm supposed to be grateful that he washed the six.

It's not going to help to say anything, but I know how things are around here. People point to the least productive and set their standard. Tonight whoever has dishes will say, "Well last night so and so didn't have to finish them." But saying something will only escalate matters.

I am sure that the fact that he is going to work should be enough. I have really lowered my expectations. The "Guidelines for Adult Children" that I wrote haven't been followed in any way since he got home (I' not sure he even bothered to read them). But for me to be punished if I mention one thing that needs to be done it gets so very annoying.

Keeping my mouth shut is about the only strategy because talking doesn't make a difference.

I suppose that there are many people who have adults with FASD and RAD who are thinking I should be beyond grateful because he has a job and isn't in jail and to my knowledge, isn't breaking the law. And that is the part that is really annoying. Should I really be grateful for takers just because they aren't causing huge problems?

I know the answer, but I resist it with all of my being. I do not want to be grateful for dishes being half done, or for making it to one 35 minute service on Easter while skipping the main service. I do not want to be grateful for the bare minimum.

But lowering my expectations and shutting my mouth may be my only salvation. His future? It won't matter if what my expectations are or whether I talk or not... his life is going to be what it is. But if I don't turn my thinking around it's going to drive me nuts. And that is sometimes that just makes me crazy. I have been talking to others who have been doing a lot of crying. I'm not much of a crier by my brain does spin uncontrollably sometimes with the absolute unfairness of it all....

Do I sound negative? I hate being realistic like this. But sometimes it's just how I feel.


GB's Mom said...

A good cry wouldn't hurt. I intellectually HAVE lowered my expectations for my adult children. However, there are still days when emotionally I fight this with every once of strength I have. These days are occurring less frequently. {{{Hugs}}

Little Wonder said...

Look to Christ. We often do the "bare minimum" too.

HUGS! I don't have adult children, so I truly don't know *yet* what this is going to be like. I have no idea what those years will bring.

jeri said...

Maybe you could only make dinner for ten people and suggest that since he can't wash all the dishes, you couldn't cook for all the people. Jeez...twenty one, you've every right to be frustrated.

Anonymous said...

Okay, maybe it just hasn't been long enough. My daughter just became an adult and she is in trouble. But, I am having trouble lowering my standards. Because you know what? Those poor work standards she exhibits at home... she brings them right into the workplace and has been fired twice. She had one job one day and was never put back on the schedule. She quit the other job because they only scheduled her 4 hours a week. The manager had to constantly redirect her and refocus her. My daughter only got hours in more productive employees were not available.

And, we have had the fight about lowering standards to meet the other kids in the family too. Uh, that other kid? He is 4! I have different expectations for you.

I haven't come to the point where I can be grateful for takers. I haven't come to the point where I can keep my mouth shut to avoid escalating. In fact, if truth be known, it makes me a little mad that I have to even worry that she will shut down, escalate or rage when I ask her to step up to the plate.

We wrote expectations for Bat-On as an adult too. We read them to her to make sure she understood. She climbed out her bathroom window on her 18th birthday. But, as it stands at this moment... she doesn't come home to those rules. She comes home agreeing to be in the presence of an appropriate external brain. I just can't live with the choices she is making.