Being kind has a downside

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I will always help others when I can. I donate often; I give my time, money, or personal things when I see a need. Being kind is how I try to live my life.

The downside to being kind is that people will take advantage of your kindness.

I was almost convinced to give up 4 hours of my day to help a friend yesterday. My husband talked me out of it. I wasn’t looking at the big picture. Had I gone to “help” I would have been enabling and being taken advantage of.

So let me explain the situation.

A friend’s daughter called me very upset. My friend has terminal cancer. She hasn’t been doing well lately. With the corona virus and social distancing, I haven’t been able to see her in a month or so. It is difficult since I know time is limited.

When I got this phone call, I feared the worst. Her daughter began with. “There is some bad news…”

Well, the bad news was just that her mom was running low on some of her prescription medications. They wanted me to drive to pick them up, since my friend shouldn’t be driving in her weakened condition.

My immediate impulse was to say yes. They live an hour away from me. So I would be driving for an hour there, and an hour home. It was 5pm already when they called. Then, I would need to get the prescriptions and drop them off. Of course, more errands began piling on…a trip to another store for extras for Easter, a fast food drive thru request…you see how it snowballs.

So, I have been careful to observe isolation protocols. I have young kids, and I do not want to bring this virus into my home. I was less than thrilled when the trip went from drive-thru med pick up to extra stops.

My friend has 3 children and a boyfriend. Her boyfriend takes the youngest child to his mothers for care, and often stays there as well. He is rarely around, and doesn’t do much to help. She also has 2 adult daughters. Neither work, have drivers licenses, or do much to help out.

This is when my husband stepped in. He googled the distance from where they live to the pharmacy. The distance was under 1 mile. Less than 1 mile!! One of those adult children could walk there and back before I would even make it halfway there!

I quickly realized the real favor was more about the extras…the extra store stop as well as the fast food.

I started to get angry. My instinct was still to help. But I felt asking me to drive that distance and use that much time was ridiculous. I offered to pay for an uber ride.

I was told that the girls were not comfortable taking an uber. Neither of her adult daughters would walk (my kids have been walking several miles at a time since they were 3 yrs old).

I held my ground. Even when I was guilted with things like,”everyone says they are there for us but no one actually shows up.”

I explained that I felt it was unfair to ask me such a favor during this time of isolation. I explain my concern over unnecessary exposure for her, her kids, and myself.

I told her that her kids could walk the short distance. I was shrugged off. She hung up. And I, of course, felt bad. I still do or I wouldn’t be writing this. She texted to tell me her daughter drove (without a license) to run the errands.

Even though I still feel a bit badly about not helping, there was no need for me to do so. I was not wrong to say no. It was unfair for them to guilt me.

Being kind has the downside of being taken advantage of. Sad truth.

Quirky kids

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Are your kids super quirky?

I am noticing some really silly stuff lately. Maybe this social isolation is getting to me.

My youngest kid is the pickiest eater ever. But…he eats a ton of one food for a few weeks, and then won’t touch it again for months! Right now, it is green apples. The kid eats several a day. But I know it will be something else next week, and he will refuse apples.

My oldest used to mouth her words again after speaking. Think Brick on the show “The Middle.” Except she didnt whisper them the second time. She just moved her mouth. In fairness, she is a theater major. Looking back, I think she was fascinated by facial movement and was practicing. But it was so quirky and hard to tolerate sometimes.

My middle kid likes to ask questions he knows the answer to. For example, our dog could eat a piece of carrot that dropped to the floor and he would ask, “I was wondering if the dog likes to eat carrots…do you think she does?” Um…yeah, we both just literally watched her do it. Annoying behavior.

Maybe I am using quirky wrong. I am using it as a polite way to say weird or annoying. Hahaha.

I suppose we all have our quirks. I am used to being home alone with all my animals. So, I talk to them. A lot. Even when other people are around, I will still have silly conversations with my animals. I also sing, randomly, when doing things around the house. I sing silly, made up random things oftentimes. Or, I may sing a theme song or current radio hit. But I always sing badly. It is my thing. I am sure during this isolation I am incredibly annoying to my family.

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! Enjoy your families quirks.

Passports and problems

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I went to get my youngest son a passport today. We did the paperwork and photo. Paid and submitted the application.

I didn’t realize both parents needed to be present and sign the form. I sent my husband 5 messages and called 3 times with no answer or response. His damn phone on silent, and only because he happened to be charging it, he didn’t see the messages.

It only took him 15 min to finally reply, and another 10 to get to the post office. But it felt like forever. Thankfully, in our small town area, it wasn’t a very big deal.

The big deal though was that he took the kids out to the car as I finished up and paid. And he proceeded to bitch because he doesn’t think I should be considering taking my youngest with me when I travel.

I am so frustrated. My littlest has separation anxiety. Legit. Diagnosed. Real. I can’t imagine being apart from him for 10 days or 2 weeks.

Of course, taking him will be a huge expense. This trip will not be cheap. However, I don’t think I will enjoy it if I am worried about him being sad the whole time. For me to enjoy the trip, I think it would be better to bring him.

My husband thinks I am being unfair to him, and that he can “handle” our kiddos while I am gone. He isn’t wrong…I am sure he could. But I don’t think it would be easy. I don’t think he always has patience for our kiddos anxiety and sensitivity. I know I would be stressed.

The fact that he bitched while I handled payment only solidifies my position in my mind. I don’t care if it will be more expensive. Money comes after happiness. We CAN afford it. He just thinks it is wasteful.

Today will be a tense day in the household. We have very few big disagreements.

Oh well. Marriage. Parenting. It isn’t always sunshine and rainbows.

Writing for fun

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Since I have begun writing articles for websites as a “job,” I notice I write less often for fun.

I really want to write a children’s book. I want to write something for foster kids.

I also think I might like to write an adult book about parenting. Not from the perspective of giving parenting advice, but more from the “can you believe this happened” and humorous parenting moments. Something fun, relatable, and about the imperfect world of parenting where we are all just trying our best, with no idea if we are doing it right.

Also, I want to write something for parents who feel judged. Don’t we all feel judged? Aren’t we all judging each other? Can’t we just stop?

Here is the funny part…

I haven’t begun writing yet because my laptop is shared with the family. I am worried about someone reading what I write…and JUDGING ME. I mean, you can’t make this stuff up, right?!

I am not a person who is confident in my work. If I do decide to move forward, I will likely use a pseudonym. I use a pseudonym for my online articles as well. Being anonymous is somewhat freeing.

How do I write a book, and keep my pseudonyms private? My husband and family would find out. Why does that terrify me so much?

I need therapy. Does anyone want to volunteer as my online therapist?

House hunting

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After all the drama of looking at a house where we could potentially care for my mother, we have decided we want to buy a new place anyway.

Looking got us thinking about possibilities, and we found we qualified for preapproval for a loan larger than we expected.

Our time is now consumed with finding the perfect new property. It is exciting. It is daunting. It is exausting. It is fun. I love it.

If you have any tips for me as I look, please share. We have a wonderful realtor that we are using.

Questions and answers

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I am struggling to explain to my youngest son what schizophrenia is. He is getting older, and he is asking questions about his birth mom. How do I explain to him that she couldn’t parent him because of this illness?

So far, I have just told him she has an illness that affects her brain and her ability to make decisions.

His questions are getting more in depth and so I need to figure out how to give better responses.

Any advice blogosphere?

My rare opinion

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In day to day life, I don’t often have strong opinions of things. What we eat for a meal, what show we watch, if we should run errands now or later…you get the idea.

If I do have an opinion, it means I really have some feelings about it. It means I would prefer it my way, since I often allow things to be everyone else’s preferences rather than my own.

I am realizing, it doesn’t really matter that I often cater to those around me and allow them to have things the way they like it. When I decide to assert myself and have thoughts, they are shot down. Argued. Considered invalid. Maybe because they go against what the others are thinking, which is so rare.

Either way, I find myself keeping my thoughts to myself more often than not. And I dont think that is the right thing to do. Maybe, I ought to give an opinion all the time, whether I care or not, just for those around me to get used to the idea that my thoughts are just as important as their thoughts.

Sometimes, I feel lonely and forgotten in a house full of people.

Disfunctional xmas

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“I am taking the kids to my dad’s on Sunday for (air quotes) Christmas.”

This is what my husband said as he walked in the door today.

I was at a loss for words. It wasn’t a question…it was a statement. Should it be a question? Should he ask me?

See, we have little to no relationship with his dad since Trump was elected. His dad is apparently a die hard Republican. Even if it means voting for a racist sexual predator like Trump.

How does he think he can be a grandpa to our kids (one Mexican, one biracial) when he supports this president?

On the other hand, I know he is my husband’s father. But, we did make it clear he wouldn’t be in our lives if he supported Trump.

Oh, the ways these last years in politics have destroyed people. It is sad really.

I used to respect this guy. Now, I don’t want to see him at all. And what a crappy position for my husband to be in.

Truth is, I don’t want my kids there. He hasn’t seen them in more than a few times in the last 4 years. He no longer knows the kids. And, in my opinion, he chose that with his vote. I think he thought I was bluffing.

So, again, should my husband ask me before making plans to take the kids there? Especially with how strongly I feel about this?

They ARE his kids too. I get that.

I am a little pissed off to be honest. I am not sure if it is appropriate or irrational. That is why I am choosing to write this right now instead of talk to him about it. I don’t want a fight.

I am clear with my kids that family isn’t always related. And relatives are not always family. Which is why I am torn about them going. I don’t feel like they should.

What would you do?

Compromises, care, and slaps to the face

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My brother was in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. He moves around a lot for his job. His job pays him a a phenomenal amount of money for a young, single, childless guy.

Since our dad died, my brother has taken over my mom’s finances. But, he can’t take care of the little things because he is too far away.

The little things like when she is sick and needs immediate help. She is diabetic, and she sucks at taking care of herself.

She favors my brothers. One, because he is wealthy and pays her bills. The other because he depends on her for daycare. She likes being a grandma. And while I think caring for his kids daily is a lot for her, she loves it, and loves to bitch about it.

My kids are more or less ignored, since I don’t need assistance in their daily care. Or, maybe because I adopted them? Maybe both?

My mom often forgets their birthdays. She basically sucks when it comes to my kids, but is fabulous with my other brothers kids.

So. Now that there is a minimal backstory…the Thanksgiving holiday was a bit nuts.

My wealthy brother asked us to go in on buying an incredible property with him. A home with twice the space of our current (smaller but functional) home. A property with a guest space behind the main home. Exceptional pond, hobby farm capabilities, lots of land. He wanted us to allow my mom to stay in the guest space, and take care of her in exchange for paying for half of the property. This property is 4x the cost of our current home.

While my mom makes me crazy, I agree she needs someone to help her out.

My husband and I, who have a rocky relationship with my mom, both agreed we could make this work. We agreed wr could stretch our finances to meet my younger brother in the middle on this fantastic property.

My other brother, the one I don’t speak with but my mom watches his kids put a stop to this deal before we got ink to paper.

He informed my mom, who provides *free* childcare for him, that she would not be ALLOWED to watch the kids if she moved with me.

I mean, he is threatening her with the kids, that she watches for free!! He is a special kind of asshole.

We don’t speak because he became a different person after his divorce, new religion, and second marriage.

I have missed years of family functions because he has always been able to do what he likes with little backlash. Why? He had cancer. So, he gets everything. Even though the cancer is gone now.

The final straw for me was when he brought a concealed gun to Thanksgiving years ago, and refused to put it in his car rather than wear it around my kids. His wife then declared I only had my kids for money (they were still in foster care at this point, prior to adoption). We haven’t spoken since. I ignore him when we are in a room together. He does the same.

So, this brother who has taken numerous family moments from us because of his constitutional right to carry his gun (he voted for Trump, can you tell?), was able to prevent an incredible opportunity for us.

My mom will not “give up the grandkids.”

I mean, she has little relationship with MY kids…but, whatever.

Apparently getting to be with my kids more isn’t a part of the equation for her?

Slap to the face for real (figurative), and it stings to see how little she cares.

And yet, this brother refuses to care for our mom! Ha!

But, she is an awful bitch to me and my family and we were gonna step up anyway.

To say I am feeling mentally overwhelmed right now is an understatement. I am having a hard time processing how this situation unfolded.

I am seriously depressed, and feeling very grinchy this holiday season.

Manipulation sucks

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My daughter has to create a theater company with a group for school. They must write, direct, produce, etc a musical from start to finish. They are choosing to do their production based on my littlest kiddos birth mom, her schizophrenia, and her pregnancy.

She asked me to contact the birth family and ask if they would be ok with this, willing to sign releases, and be interviewed. She plans to get started soon. So far everyone agrees and is happy to help.

Oh…but not without a bit of manipulation first.

See…if you have followed me for awhile, you already know my little was adopted thru foster care. I have had him since he was able to leave the hospital as a newborn. But his case was long, and he was not legally adopted until just before age 2.

Because of the long, drawn out case, and some breaches of trust along the way, I only allow visits with me or my husband present. Don’t get me wrong, I think they are nice grandparents. However, they live an hour away, so it makes sense to stay during visits. Also, because the case started in foster care, we weren’t respected as his parents for quite some time. Hence, the trust issue.

So…the email agreeing to sign a release and discuss things for my daughter’s project came with a request to have alone time with the little.

Obvious manipulation.

So what can I do? This is my girls final project for graduation. They want to raise awareness about mental health. Their idea is good.

But, I will not cave to manipulation when it comes to my kiddos.

So, I gave a “Oh, we will surely figure out a plan…” noncommittal response to pacify the situation until it comes up again.

I hate when people try to manipulate me. I am too old to play these games.