First, I am having a problem with my emotions not agreeing to be OK with the decisions made by my executive functions.
Saturday was my day off for years. But this spring my daughter is doing soccer. My husband is coaching. He is an excellent father. They have games on Saturday mornings. This means that I need to watch my three-year-old son and we should obviously attend the games and cheer our team. Fine. I say that's OK and agreed that Sunday could be my morning to sleep in. Fine. I really am intellectually OK with this. It's completely fair. Well, my emotional self is not. She is resentful and annoyed and sulky. When it means she has to get up early, she is angry. She resents the intrusion into the pattern that she was happy with. I don't like her. I try to reject these emotions but that is not making them go away.
Second, separately, my husband and I had a large and somewhat heated discussion over the incredibly stupid plight of public school teachers in the US. They are expected to reach goals not attainable with the budgeted funds they are given. So, as would be the case of people whose job is a vocation and who are unwilling to sacrifice the education of a generation of Americans to show just how little can be accomplished with the inadequate funding, and perhaps force change, they supplement the budget at their own personal expense. Administrations have parent organizations that are mainly fundraising groups. This leads to social pressure for the kids to bring in certain amounts of money for class pride and also to win prizes. My daughter's school Parent-Teacher-Organization is really exceptional at doing this. They raise significant amounts of money to support the school and everyone is very grateful to them for their efforts.
And here's where I suck: I resent being pressured to participate and give more money than our taxes to support the school. I want the price of education to be up front and then I want to be left alone. I am happy to participate in field trips or to give presentations on areas where I might have specialized experience, or to contribute needed items if it would be helpful, but I resent being pressured/guilted/"encouraged" to contribute more money via my kids (i.e. fundraising projects requiring sponsors or selling things). Maybe it is a having-problems-with-authority thing? Maybe I resent the assumed authority of the PTO and their assumption that I acknowledge their authority to goad my family into guilting people (who already pay taxes for this or other schools) to give money that the schools should have anyway because it's not right that they don't. I don't mind purchasing items they need on my own and donating things of my own accord, which I've done, but I really resent pressure or expectations to participate in fundraising events...or really ANYthing. Just tell me up front and I'll pay. Then leave me alone.
Now this is where my husband remarked on my selfishness, (see the part about how I suck): I do not want to be pestered to give extra support to people who have elected of their own will to do more than they are being paid to do. I know that sounds terrible because their sacrifice is helping people. But teachers know what they are getting into when they decide to become teachers in the US. We ALL know they are underfunded and disrespected and that this is wrong. But instead of showing the US people that what they expect from the way things are is ridiculous and unattainable with current budgets, which would involve cheating a generation of Americans from the education we think they should get and for which we do all this fundraising, the altruists give more than they should. Then we are expected to make up for it and congratulate ourselves even though the total is still inadequate. The American people don't get it, that you can't get blood from a stone, because they don't have to! Look, I am willing to pay more up front than we do for education so that schools can have what they need and teachers can be paid a competitive wage. But I do not want to be expected to use my personal time and effort to attempt to bridge the gap between what is possible with current funds and what is needed or expected or wished for later in the year.
Of course, the fact that this is all theoretical and that I don't want to sacrifice MY kids' education to prove the point, means I am a huge hypocrite (see the part where I suck). If the PTO didn't do the fundraising the students would suffer and who wants that? Obviously what has been attempted to fix the problem doesn't work. Having school funding tied to property taxes is a terrible idea. My husband told me Finland decide to make all their schools equal across the entire country and to pay their teachers much more. Now its harder to get into teaching programs at their colleges than pre-med. He said this resulted in huge improvements in student performance. But why was this change made? Because the schools were failing so badly they couldn't sit back and let it go. We aren't willing to fail badly enough to force change.
Third, we got a note to parents Friday that the school is having a teacher appreciation week and that our child will be expected to finish an assignment each day that shows how much we appreciate all the teachers do. I fumed. I resented this intensely (see the part where I suck). To me there is something wrong with telling people how their children are going to be expected to (required by social pressure) show their (assumed) gratitude. Perhaps they are trying to teach gratitude? Is that in the curriculum? Who are the PTO to impose this additional requirement? Not that it isn't a nice idea.
And not that I do not appreciate that my daughter has an exceptional teacher. She does. I love this woman. She amazes me and I am ecstatic with my daughter's experience this year. But I absolutely resent this all being assumed and along with that we want to express our gratitude in the way someone else has decided it shall be done. I don't want myself or my kid to do this stuff just on principle, not because I don't respect teachers and the sacrifices they make! Please don't assume that. I do think they are horribly underpaid and that it is wrong that their MOST important profession is not given the respect it deserves. I just don't like organized gratitude "assignments."
I want to do what I want how I want OR NOT on my own. You know, some of us are not functioning on the level of being willing or able to take on something extra just because someone has decided that we should and undoubtedly will, because obviously anyone who wouldn't is a terrible person. Things that seem inconsequentially little to some are not so little to others and it's not anyone's place to judge that.
I want to be left the hell alone. I don't have anything extra to give, not that anyone asked. I am barely holding on as it is. I don't need extra pressure to do even the tiniest bit more, nor does my kid need to feel inadequate because her mom sucks.
So that's the thrust of it. I do kind of feel like the above may not necessarily make me the embodiment of pure evil.
But, as an aside, fourth, since I'm being honest here, as far as guilt over being a selfish person goes, really the most embarrassing part is that this resentment of any intrusion into my life also extends to kids' birthday parties, mine and others'. I HATE them. I don't really mind paying for a gift, but getting one is inconvenient and and the bite out of the weekend messes up what I might've wanted to do and driving them there and back is a pain that I resent. Then the kids come home with a bag of worthless crap (that I guarantee the parents throwing the party didn't want to put together in the first place). The very selfish part of me that got me through nearly fatal anxiety and depression by making sure I expended the least amount of energy beyond what was required for survival, ensured pretty much all I had went into absolute requirements. But it has no place here anymore. I can't deny my kids going to other kids birthday parties! Please!
Ugh. I need to get back to functioning like a normal human. This trait that was helpful and adaptive means that I don't RSVP when I should, when I know better and have the decency to be mortified about it. It's like I posted yesterday, the short term benefit (procrastination allowing me to proceed as if I did not just receive an extra thing to have to do) outweighs the long term every time even the result embarrasses me.
I just suck. I am extremely selfish and a hypocrite and I know it. I don't like this person. Though I wonder if some of it is innate...apparently when I was a kid I used to yell at people to "Neev me anone! Neev me anone!" (I didn't say Ls for a while and substituted Ns). My parents didn't get involved with our school activities other than attending games or writing checks, but we were at a private school and the tuition was bad enough. I sold magazines for a year or two for high school, but then I stopped and I got no pressure about it. I don't know. My parents always gave money to charities, but didn't volunteer for stuff, which was because my Mom had MS and didn't do extra stuff with people if she could help it. My dad worked very hard every day and could hardly have been expected to do more (in my opinion). Also, he's an introvert, as am I, and there should be no negative judgement on that. So maybe I resent this all because we never had to do it and I thought that was normal. But I am really not inclined to place any of this in the nurture category.
I really just need my executive functions, my adult who is me, to stop hanging back, to take charge again and tell the whiny self-absorbed teen me to shut up. Hello?! I am talking to YOU, little Miss I-can-write-all-about-this-but-won't-step-up-and-take-charge. Freakin' step UP and stop making me such an ass!