Saturday, August 14, 2010

Sometimes It Has to Be About Me

Part of the challenge of our family system is that while Bart has a good job we weren't planning on so many of our kids needing so much help after graduation. We now have 5 children over 18 and only one of them is financially independent. Another is semi-independent. There deosn't look like there is much hope for the other three and we have one turning 18 every year now for several years. Because of this I have to work a lot.

I don't mind work. I like it in fact. What I do mind is when I ask for little things to be done that everyone blows me off. They have their hands out for the cash they make, but they don't want to lift a finger to help me out and they complain about the time I spend working.

Lately I have realized that if some things don't change I"m not going to survive and the whole thing could implode or explode. If I have cooperation and set boundaries for myself I can keep up with my frenzied pace of living. If I have everything challenged consistently and a continued lack of cooperation, I am going to have quit something that I'm doing. I don't want to do that, but I have to set boundaries.

I realized something this week about myself. I tend to overcompensate for other people. For example, if the kids need 5 rides in a day, I may not even tell Bart because I know he's really busy. Or, if I know that a PCA is having a hard time, I might offer them a way out instead of having them face the situation. Or if a grown child is struggling, I may figure out what is best and either do it for them or make a way for them to do it without much of their input.

Two problems with this:

1) It is insulting to them to assume that they can't handle it on their own and that I need to step in and rescue them.

2) I can only do it so long before I blow and have a meltdown like I did this week. I put other people first and try not to mess with peace and then all the sudden I'm just at wits end and can't do it any more. I get pushed to a place of anxiety and stress and I'm not fun to be around.

Today I am going to pick up Salinda, Gabby and the BF and they are going to come here for a week. in the past I have been pretty casual about rules when they are here as they really don't go overboard. However, even though they like the freedom, it makes me nervous. So I'm going to explain it from this perspective and hopefully they will understand.

When we get too caught up in the "It's not about me" theory -- we can run ourselves into a very dangerous place. I need to help the family understand that it it has to be about "us" as a family and the role I play in that -- and that if it is never about me, the "us" as we now know it cannot continue.

Is this making any sense at all?


Lee said...

makes all kinds of sense. Hope it does to the rest of the clan too.

GB's Mom said...

It is a very valid and worthwhile set of observations. Like any great caregiver, it is easy to fall into codependency, especially with you kids. It is something I am constantly working on. {{{Hugs}}}

Mama Drama Times Two said...

Total sense. The challenge is knowing when to step in with a hand and when to step out and say "I know you have the tools to make this work". I wish I could recognize earlier when I need to back off and let them figure it out.

Penelope said...

boundaries are good. just say no to handouts!

Michelle, Dave & Babes said...

Totally making sense. We can't be good parents to our kids if we're not taking care of our selves. I heard it somewhere as putting on our own oxygen masks first (like in a plane).