Sunday, 26 January 2014

Understanding the Burden

People love to give free advice.  One might argue that it is pretty much the basis of this whole blog.  However, while my advice is always timely and useful (seriously, I typed that with a straight face), most people's advice can become intrusive.

I've learned to hate the word 'just' when it's applied to a request.  Can you just do this?  We need you to just take care of that.  It's just a simple survey.  Just take a look at this.

It implies that the request is so trivial that refusal would "just" be rude. 

Except that these requests aren't always so trivial.

I don't get a lot of the flex-time that most mothers of a six and nine year old would get.  If my children are home, they must be supervised.  Sometimes I can't even interrupt that supervision to go to the bathroom, let alone get chores done.  So all the chores must be dealt with in the time when my kids are otherwise occupied, usually by the Board of Education.

Except that when they are with the Board of Education, I'm working for 4 out of the 6 hours.  That leaves 2 hours, five days a week, to get what I need done, including running errands, chores and trying to take care of myself.

This is the reason why my housekeeping is not up to Martha standards (or possibly even Roseanne's), my lawn is an organic bio-diverse jungle and I commit the sin of buying things for class parties rather than making them myself. 

It's not that I am lazy or that I need reminders or that my standards are inexplicably low.  It's that I've had to make a choice about my priorities and accept my limitations.  Those who cannot grasp that only add to the burden.  It becomes less of a gentle reminder and more like piling stones on top of a person who has already collapsed under the weight.

I think most people are sympathetic when they take the time to think about what's going on.  The problem arises when the subconscious drives the brain, offering expectations without really thinking about whether or not they're realistic.

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