Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Things are not improving

So I hate conflict of any kind. I accept that. I even accept that I'm going to pay for it, mostly by being walked over. But how did it get this bad?

I'm the oldest of three children, and I'm very close to both my siblings, a brother and sister. And to this day, I resist telling them things because I'm afraid of what they're going to think of me. I'm having a problem with one of my day care families, and I've been trying to sort through things with the mom. We've been emailing and we've spoken (just barely) a couple of times. And through this, I really need all the insight I can get--this is both a business and a personal relationship, and I'm trying to sort out how to balance them and how to stand up for myself in both aspects of the relationship. But it all started with some time off that I took, which may have been a misttep on my part (I've apologized repeatedly for the "inconvenience"). And as I'm talking to my husband, to another day care provider who has answered questions and helped me out in the past, and trying to sort through things in my head, I'm still not telling my siblings about this, mostly because I'm afraid of what they're going to think. I'm afraid that they will both come at me with a list of reasons that all this is my fault.

I've had the same problem in any area I can think of. In my old job, before I started day care, I remember standing in the parking lot and crying one afternoon because I hated it there so much--and I later realized that this was 5 years (!) before I finally left that place. What kind of person stays with a job for 5 years after they realize they're deeply unhappy there? Either a person with no other options (thankfully not my problem) or a person who is secretly convinced that they deserve every bad thing that happens to them. I'm not for jumping on the "we're all clinically depressed because of the breakdown of society" bandwagon. I don't go for the romance, that was so appealing when I was 14, of wallowing in self-pity until I eventually die a very beautiful death. But it is frustrating that this many years later, I still find myself in the same position of being walked on because I can't find the guts in myself to tell people that's not okay.

I come up with lots of reasons not to confront this parent directly: I'm afraid I'm actually wrong; I think if I back off, she'll calm down and we can move on; her son is E's best friend and he doesn't have a lot of friends (also my fault for not getting them out in the community enough). But I think the truth is I'm terrified. When I had to talk to her in person yesterday about this problem, I realized when she left that I was shaking. At what age do you have to suck it up and become a grown-up, and how do you start when you've really had no practice?

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