Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Reporting in tomorrow

What shall I talk about in therapy tomorrow?  It's all so repetitive.  I feel badly for her for having to listen to me wrestle with the same themes over and over again.  Of course, she does get paid plenty to do so.  I wish I got paid like that.  Here's a list of what's on my mind:

(1) My job is hard and while I was feeling super appreciated last year, that's wearing a little thin now as people have come to expect what I bring to the job and now aren't realizing that I'm doing the work of two people in less than 40 hours a week and better than two people working together were doing it in 60+.  I can't get it all done, and I'm hearing more frustration than support recently.  Additionally, I've had some specifically challenging scenarios lately, like a teacher/friend being very demanding about more pay, parents pissed off about the b'nai mitzvah process, and other crap.

(2) My youngest turned 3.  The birthday party was a big milestone.  Not because it was a birthday party, but because of everything else. It went pretty well, although I was really ticked off that STBEX had it in his house instead of the park.  I realize it was on the verge of rain, but it wasn't raining when he "called it," 30 minutes before the party, nor was it anytime during the party.  I was the one that generously suggested he could have it at his house instead of the neutral park, and I feel like he took advantage of it.  I also question why I did that.  I rescued him again.  And is that the wrong thing to do?  Seems to me that not giving him an out would have been inflexible and bitchy.  But then again, he could have presented me with the problem and asked for help.  No, I offered preemptively.  I'm guessing the therapist (I guess I'll call her Dr. P) will say that I shouldn't have offered.  But why?  Just because it's him or because I give too much in general or because I need to make people consider me more (and making him ask would have been doing that)?  Perhaps we can explore that tomorrow.

(3) Update on the mediation process: The STBEX was very pleased with my offer to let him have one boy every other Monday night after my weekends with the boys.  It was a win-win-win.  It makes a negligible difference on child support calculations, it doesn't feel like I'm losing time with the boys, the boys will get some quality one on one time occasionally with their father, and he feels like I compromised and gave him something.  So, that was good. And, he agreed to establish a bank account where we both put in money in proportion to our earnings to cover all the non-child support costs such as enrichment activities, camps, uninsured medical, sports, etc.  This is a good long term strategy as any spousal support I have will run out long before I'm done needing to pay these types of bills.

(4) I'm still really wrestling inside with this issue of balance between choosing happiness which involves actively solving ones own problems, seeing the best in other people, and giving folks around you the benefit of the doubt and wallowing in misery and self pity.  I'm still struggling to understand what the middle would look like when it feels more like a cliff than a continuum (or certainly a slippery slope).  I was talking to my aunt about my decision to invite friends over for Rosh Hashanah dinner and she (like EVERYONE else), gave me major kudos for that behavior. Every week I have some conversation with someone who applauds me for my positive outlook and choices.  I feel like if I open the door to acknowledging hurt and disappointment, than I don't know how to not be a judgmental whiner.  Where does it stop?  Lots of things hurt me if I let them, but what good does that do?  I could get my feelings hurt that:

    • I've only ever had one surprise birthday party thrown for me.
    • That my friends don't ask me to go camping with them or doing something outdoorsy, even when I've repeatedly asked.
    • That my good friend who lives just two blocks didn't come over to see my 3rd child until he was several weeks old.
    • That my best girlfriends threw bachelorette parties for others in our circle, but not for me.  That they didn't acknowledge my completion of a master's degree but they did the others.  That they didn't offer to come to my town when I was nursing a newborn baby and the girlfriends weekend was happening, even though we did that for another friend, twice.  
    • That no friends came and helped take care of me and clean my house when I had a 2nd and then 3rd baby.
    • That I didn't get hired back at Roosevelt even when they made it seem absolutely certain that I would
    • That the head teacher at my last school has a stick up her you know what and acts like she likes me, but secretly I know she doesn't actually, since for one thing, she's never friended me on fB.  
I could get my feelings hurt about all that and much much more over the years (I didn't include anything related to the STBEX), but I always find reasons to excuse the people and keep on giving. I get it.  I understand that life doesn't revolve around me and there are all sorts of reasons why those and other things haven't happened that have nothing to do with people not liking or caring about me.  If I take it personally I'm just left feeling hurt and rejected.  So I don't take it personally.  Don't sweat the small stuff, right?  And isn't that the way we're supposed to live? Isn't that the key to happiness.  Gratitude.  Going with the flow.  Be compassionate for others.  Know that everyone is fighting his/her own battle.  Carpe Diem.  Choose your own mood.  Give more than you receive.  Law of Attraction. Etc. Etc.  Those mantras have worked pretty well for me and have allowed me to have a pretty happy life instead of one focused on trivial "could haves."  So, I need Dr. P to help me understand what to do in that middle ground.  Ah, I can hear her already.  My mistake right there was in assuming there was anything I should be "doing."  She would point out that I am often trying to fix the situation so it feels better.  I don't think that's always the case.  Sometimes it just hurts or feels uncomfortable or disappointing, but I quickly pick myself up and move on.  Isn't that what one is supposed to do.  Isn't the alternative to be a whiny bitter self-absorbed person who sees the negative in everything and everyone around her and that in turn attracts more negativity.  I know people like that.  I don't see how that would help anything.  I get that she's telling me to find the middle, but I just don't see what that looks like.

(5) Just what am I supposed to do with my eldest son.  He is hurting and unhappy most days.  He doesn't want to do anything extracurricularly.  He is motivated by nothing.  He responds with everything with, "I don't care."  He feels bullied and misunderstood at school by other students and teachers.  How do I respond to his apathy?  Just be there for him?  How do I respond to his sense that he is perpetually bullied or upset by other boys in his class?  How much do I empathize and allow him to be a victim vs. encourage him to let it roll off and recognize that if other kids are bugging him they must have issues and/or it's in his head rather than what it looks like. Ah, I'm seeing some connections between 4 and 5.  Shit, this parenting gig is hard enough work without superimposing all our own struggles on their lives as well.

And it's nearly midnight and I still have quite a bit of work to do.  :(

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