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Thread: Expectations and demands and stepping away

  1. #1
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Expectations and demands and stepping away

    Woke up this morning late--8:45. I think that's because I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't sleep so I did a little reading of my most recent kindle purchase: Joyce Carol Oates' A Widow's Story. (Great book)

    So my phone wakes me up and it's my brother--the one who always calls me relentlessly when drinking. He complained that I didn't answer his call last night. I texted him that I'll call him later after I have a cup of coffee

    The first email I saw was a note from one of my market researcher colleagues who hired me to do about 5-6 projects this year. She sent me a schedule to approve last night at 9:47 and her email this morning (8:29) was coy--"I was having trouble with my email last night--did you get my email about the schedule?" suggesting that maybe between 10PM on a Sunday night and 8:30AM on a Monday morning if I hadn't gotten back to her something must be wrong.
    '
    I'm still shepherding DH though his health issues.
    The other day he asked some people we met recently to dinner that night at our house without asking me first.
    I pick up my son (who doesn't have a car) in Burlington to bring him back to G.I. twice a week.
    My son in NJ calls me to remind me to pay this floor guy and that paint guy (he is overseeing work we agreed to do when he moved in).
    My DD is putting an offer on a house and is asking for help uploading student loan records that I pay
    I have the most active work year I've ever had, so that means I have 5 other clients breathing down my neck for things I'm working on.

    I know that "there are no victims, only volunteers" and I've been a happy "volunteer" for this stuff all along, but suddenly I'm feeling an internal need to step away for a while--to either a physical retreat or to a wall of "no's" for a while (I can't really do that with my work, unfortunately).

    How do you handle it when you feel the expectations and demands on your life get a little weighty?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    Catherine, that sounds like an awful lot of demands! I suspect I may be better at saying no than you are. My mom could not say no, and I think this is an instance where I learned from her how not to be. If it were me, I would have to step back and re-calibrate. What can be delegated? Where can you say no without serious repercussions? How can you set boundaries and manage expectations that are more reasonable going forward?

  3. #3
    Senior Member herbgeek's Avatar
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    Well there is stuff you pretty much have to do, and stuff you want to do. I make a list of all the demands, and then put them into those two categories.
    The optional/want to do items have to wait until there is more space/free time.

    Husband's health is on the have to do, picking up an adult son who chooses not to have a car is on the want to do list. I'm not sure if this something you offered, or something that is an expectation on son's side. In any case, its a big load to drive from GI to Burlington and back twice a week. He needs to find another way to get there, if he wants to visit you twice a week. He should not be putting this burden on you.

    Not sure why you are footing all the bills on the NJ house if your son is planning on taking it over. If the work is being done to suit HIS needs/wants, then perhaps HE should do the coordinating (and the paying IMO).

    The daughter asking for student loan records that only you can access (I assume) is reasonable, but I would think that she should already have taken care of this in getting pre-approved before putting an offer on a house. It is NOT reasonable to demand this on a short time window with no warning.

    And your colleague is just ridiculous. You can either completely ignore her implied tone and proceed however you would have or you could gently call her out and ask her expectations (and then tell her that the expectations are not reasonable if they are indeed unreasonable).

    Just my opinions.

  4. #4
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Prioitize, and put off the rest.

    You are the financial engine of your household and family. Your clients come first. The health of your DH comes second.

    I see other temp solutions to the other issues, but I wonder if you do? Those are down the list of priorities.

    Anyway, here’s hoping you can find pockets of relief to this situation. I also hope you can remember this feeling of overwhelm to not overextend yourself in the future.

    We in our household are loading up a lot of responsibilities and are running around carrying them out, but it is fun. we enjoy it. I do think about one of us getting sick and at that point some of it will grind to a halt.

  5. #5
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    I think Herbgeek did a great job running down the list and prioritizing.

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    I totally agree with Herb. I would have a talk with DH that unless he intends to cook and clean no inviting people without asking you. I find as I get older I get tired easier. Does your son that’s buying the house realize that once you retire you will be living on SS only? I would be saving money and not giving it to my kids. You are too generous with time and money to your own determent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    How do you handle it when you feel the expectations and demands on your life get a little weighty?
    I say NO. It's a word. A fabulous word. A word I use often. I highly recommend it.

    As for the contract? I would kindly suggest that you do not work between Friday night 6PM and Monday morning 8AM. Gentle but firm.

    If you don't set boundaries, this will go off the rails in your life.

  8. #8
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    Agree with everyone.

    Husband can cook if he invites.

    Email woman can just wait until normal work hours.

  9. #9
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    Everybody has made great suggestions, so I only have one to add. I'm a community college teacher, and regarding email, I tell my students I check school email between 9 and 5 Monday through Friday, so if they email me outside of those hours, they shouldn't expect an answer until those hours. Of course sometimes I check at other times, but I reserve the right not to, which takes a lot of pressure off. Maybe you could set a similar boundary with work colleagues? I've even seen people put a message that clarifies this under their email signature - e.g. "Work-related emails will be read and responded to Mondays through Fridays - thanks for your understanding" - or something like that.

  10. #10
    Senior Member razz's Avatar
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    Herbgeek is right.

    Dear Catherine, you need to set some boundaries. As long as everything is loosey=goosey and continues to be, you will feel overwhelmed. That will not resolve itself. When I had a near death experience, I realized that the world went on just fine without me. My role then became ensuring that each loved one knew and learned to thrive without me. This happened a long time ago and I still have to remind myself to step back and let go. Try that approach to give yourself some inspiration.

    There are other means of supporting your DH, find them as it is not all up to you. You have family and agencies at hand to assist. Your NJ home is NOT now your responsibility. Reduced rent which, no doubt, you are charging means the tenant, your son and family, picks up the simple maintenance. If this was not outlined in writing, it needs to be.

    Hugs to a good heart who is feeling overwhelmed.
    Gandhi: Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony .

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