I know some people find it hard to believe that I often don't stand up for myself. Probably because I am so outspoken. And, also? Because I have no problem standing up for other people. It is just myself that I struggle with.
I mentioned before that my neighbor is having some health problems. Everyone is pitching in to help her and her family out. I, of course, want to help as she is one of my favorites. No offense to the others, she just has made the most effort to get to know me since we moved over to this neck of the woods.
The problem? I work full-time. I know this is hard for my neighbors to understand, as I work from home. Plus, I am available for every school function, I am there when the bus comes, I am outside with the kids in the afternoon. It probably looks to them, as stay-at-home-Moms (lucky bitches!) that I am one of them. But what they don't see is that I get up at least an hour before the kids. That means by 5:30 on most weekdays. I work furiously during Emmi's school hours, as that is the only uninterrupted time I have all day. I don't take a lunch break until the kids are home, so that I can combine a lunch break with play time. I eat while watching Emmi ride her tricycle around or while cuddling with her on the couch. Then I get her involved in an activity and scramble to work some more. Generally, I get nothing done until Jill is home from school. Then Jill takes over as care giver and entertainer of Emmi, fixing snacks and playing games. At dinner time, I stop working until bedtime. During this two hour window, I devote my time to the girls. After they go to bed, I normally have about an hour left of my work day. That means I am working up until 8:30 everyday. Plus, I often have to make up hours over the weekend in the mornings (meaning I get up early even on the weekends), since Emmi has therapy, there are dance and gymnastics classes, and I try to run daily. My days are busy. I consider myself lucky to be able to work from home and have the flexibility to set my own schedule. But setting my own schedule does not mean deciding how many hours I work, it means decided when I work those set hours.
Right now, I have my schedule set perfectly. It works. I get enough done. I get time for the gym. I take my girls to their lessons. I am here with them when they are home from school. But one little thing, and it means I either stay up late or work more on the weekend. I hate working on the weekend, as I try to leave that time open for my family. Occasionally, I do make sacrifices. Like now. When my neighbor is having surgery. But I explained my limitations before the divvied up tasks. I told them without a doubt Thursdays were out of the question for me to pitch in with anything. No dinners, no watching children. Nothing. I also explained that at most, I could sacrifice one day to watch children. I offered to make up for it by providing an extra meal, taking over for someone else. And what happens? They assign me Thursday to cook the meal! I don't even have time to cook my own family a meal on Thursdays. That is frozen pizza night at our house!
I talk to the neighbor in charge of arranging everything. She did change the days for me, but she acted like it was an issue and I was being difficult. Then she called back, and asked me to watch kids for more than one day. I feebly explained that I really couldn't, but ended up agreeing that I would. Now? I am mad at myself. Seriously, I should have said no. I mean, really, what was I scared of. That they would be mad at me? These are the same neighbors that have Mom's lunches, and don't invite me. That hand out invitations at the bus stop, and specifically don't have one for me. Me? I had surgery less than a month ago. Did I get one meal? Did anyone offer to do anything for me? No. And here I am sentencing myself to a full Saturday of work or having to use a vacation day this week (which for the record, I only used one vacation day after my own surgery! I sat propped in bed with my computer working to avoid using my vacation or sick time.).
I just keep reminding myself that the woman who I am actually helping out is the one I like a lot. Maybe that will make me feel better.