Thursday, June 4, 2009

Advice 101

A friend offered his advice that my oldest should get a job to help pay for the increased cost of car insurance now that he is getting his driver's license. Of course, this would be a great idea but unfortunately not entirely practical in our situation. Right now I have difficulty managing to get the boys where they need to go and to my job - the thought of adding a job held by one of the boys to the mix seems impossible at the moment!

This kind of response from friends just gets my goat! It is so easy to tell me what to do without examining the logistics needed to accomplish the plan. It might even be hard for an intact family to figure out how to manage driving teenagers but I'm here on my own and expected to do it, plus go above and beyond! I just get so tired of all of this. People just see the surface of my life - they don't have the time or interest to delve below the water to really understand the workings of my life. And as usual, they're coming up with advice based on their lives which aren't being lived as "only parents."

To add insult to injury (and this has become my favorite part of all of this), when I admit that I honestly can't accomplish their advice right now, I'm criticized as not being good enough or trying to get out of it. I hate that I am penalized for being honest in regard to my circumstances.

Today my oldest and I have been at it because he doesn't want to go to club volleyball practice tonight (it was the last day of school and he has a baseball game tomorrow). I want him to go because he asked to join this club, made a commitment to being in it and then I paid $235.00 of money we really don't have for him to join. We have been going back and forth on the matter and I have wished over the course of the afternoon that there was another parent here to help me in this situation. I'm feeling tired and worn down from the "only parenting" because it is hard to be doing this on one's own day after day.

I am so in need of some kind of break or vacation. I just have to restore my energy and mental strength here soon because I am absolutely running on empty.

TIP: If by chance you are reading this and know of an only parent, rather than be quick to offer advice and then respond judgmentally, just offer sympathy and support the next time. Advice is helpful sometimes, but not advice that isn't feasible in our situations. What would be so nice to hear is just some compassion of how hard it is to manage everything on our own. Personally, that would help me feel stronger and more productive knowing that someone can view my situation for what it is. A pat on the back goes so much farther than criticism.

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