Do It Right!

  I grabbed a few minutes to read Joy’s post and the comments from Brandi and Sarah and it got the old brain cells agitated.  I started thinking about my own philosophy about things and realized I’m a member of the “Do it Right” group.  I can’t do things halfway.  It’s all or nothing.

My father is largely responsible for my attitude.  I can still hear him saying, “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all.”  And he’d be angry.  Or disappointed.  That statement could really burn when it came from my Dad because it left me feeling inadequate and worthless.  He didn’t lavish praise on any of us kids.  It was difficult to get his admiration.  Not that he was mean and nasty.  He wasn’t.  He was just very gruff and self-contained.    And he’d usually shoo me away and do whatever task I was supposed to be doing himself.  It would be done to his specifications because he wouldn’t settle for anything less.

Me?  I think I brought some of that baggage with me.  I want everything done to my specifications.  I didn’t bring the gruff part along.  I make it a point to let my family know that I love them but my praise comes too easily.  I tell them I appreciate what they do even when it’s only done half-ass.  The result is that I’ve come to rely on myself to “Do It Right.”

Where am I going with all this?  I’m trying (while getting the boys through breakfast and showers and rushing around here getting ready for work) to think about why I have so much going on all the time and why I can’t seem to just take those small steps that help keep us healthy and happy.  Is it because I really feel like it’s not worth doing at all if I can’t go charging ahead at full speed?  And why do I always have to do so much?  Is it because people know I’ll do it right?  They know I’m going to make sure everything is taken care of and no one else has to worry about anything.  Give it to Pat and it’ll get done.

I have to think about this today.  It’s really striking a chord.  I’m thinking about how little my husband and family will be doing today and how much I’m going to be doing and the scales are waaayyy out of balance.

Gotta run.  More later.

8:47 – It’s like the calm before the storm.  Today is a relatively stress free day.  I have to get ready for Saturday School this week but that’s about all that’s hanging over my head for today. 

Back to what I was thinking about earlier…I got to school and tracked down the custodian to let me in the old Home Ec room that’s equipped with stoves, refrigerators, washers and dryers.  I have three big tablecloths that belong to the school that I need to wash because I used them for the NHS Induction Ceremony Tuesday night.  I walked in and it was like looking at my laundry room at home.  There was a huge pile of tablecloths on a table.  The dryer was packed with cold, crumpled up tablecloths.  The washer was full of tablecloths that had run the cycle and been abandoned.  Since it’s early morning and school just started 15 minutes ago, they obviously have been there for a while.  I emptied the dryer and added to the pile on the table.  Then I took the tablecloths in the washer and put them in the dryer.  Finally, I was able to start washing the ones I used Tuesday evening. 

Now…get this….ROTC has fifty tablecloths that are used for the Annual Banquet dinner that’s being held next Friday.  Last year, one of the parents and I shared in the overwhelming task of getting the tablecloths washed and ironed for the banquet.  I told Sarge and Major I WOULD NOT do it again this year.  I told them they needed to get the cadets to take care of it.  They have 150 students and they should be able to get 50 tablecloths washed and ironed.

So I’m staring at all these tablecloths and I find myself wanting to fold them, for cryin out loud.  It’s like “Why can’t anyone do anything like they’re supposed to????”  Why bother to wash them at all if you’re just going to pile them up in a heap and let them get all wrinkled? 

I went down to the ROTC classroom and Sarge and Major are sitting on their butts chatting.  It’s their planning period and they don’t have any students.  I needed to pick up a list of items they need for the banquet and I brought the tablecloths to their attention.

Major:  “Can you believe these kids???  They’re so lazy it’s pitiful!  I told them to take care of the tablecloths.  If they want to have them all wrinkled up, that’s the way it’s going to be.  I’m not their mama.  I’m not going to run along behind them making sure they do things the way they’re supposed to.  If the general shows up and speakers from all over the state and the tablecloths look like sh&t, maybe they’ll learn a lesson.  If they’re humiliated with the way the place looks, that’s on them.”

Me: “That’s all fine and good but it’s our school and it’s our reputation.  We can’t provide a banquet for 200 people and have the tables all looking like crap.  You’re going to have to make sure they take care of the tablecloths.  I don’t want to explain to the principal that everything looked like sh*t because the kids didn’t take care of it.  I need you to make sure they do what they’re supposed to do.”

Sarge: “I’m with major.  If they can’t do it right, they deserve whatever happens.  If they’re embarassed, that’s just too bad.”

Me:  “I’m not talking about them.  I’m talking about our school, our principal, ME.  I don’t want to be embarassed.  I don’t want to be associated with something that comes across as a disaster.  And I really believe they’ll do a good job if you just make sure they understand what they have to do.”

At this point, I started looking over the list they gave me:
crepe paper
30 pats of butter
30 packets of salt and pepper
100 forks
50 knives

“What’s with this list?  It doesn’t make any sense at all.  Why would we need butter?  David will take care of all of that and I don’t know why we’d need 30 pats even if we did have to buy it?  30 packets of salt and pepper?  What’s that about?  We have 50 shaker sets.  Why would we need packets?  Why do we need 100 forks but just 50 knives?  This entire list doesn’t make any sense.”

Major:  “Sh&t!!!  You see what I mean?  These kids can’t do anything right!  They were supposed to go through the storage room and look at what we have and what we need to pick up.  I don’t have any idea where they came up with this crap!”

And then I…..like I always do……found myself shaking my head in disgust and saying the same damn thing that I always say:

“Forget it.  I’ll just do it myself.  I’ll get David to come out here tomorrow and do an inventory and he and I will figure out what we need.  It’s got to be done and I need that list.”

So what’s it all about?  Why do I do these things?  Why do I let myself get so involved with so many different things that there’s no time left for the things that really matter?  My health is important.  Exercise is important.  Cooking healthy meals is important but I don’t have time for all that because I’m too busy doing all the stuff everyone else isn’t doing.

I really need to see a shrink….


2dogs1lady says 18th March @ 17:56

so…completely off topic…I met Mike Holmes at work..He was doing a job in our city. He is so good looking in person too! not to mention a very kind man to young children!

Now Sista P..YOU need to let go of some responsibility…seriously….you can’t do it all!

brseay says 2nd April @ 8:29

Hey, I have been missing for a while but I’m back.

First of all, I’m guessing you were joking when you said you need to see a shrink but I say go for it. You juggle so many balls in the air that you’re losing yourself. Having that hour a week to completely devote to yourself is incredible. I went for a while after Kyle was diagnosed and even as a counselor I couldn’t believe how powerful it was. I could be 100% honest w/him and not have to worry about hurting someone’s feelings, making them feel bad…whatever. Seriously, go. It’s worth it and you’re worth it.

As far as not being able to settle for anything less than perfection–you’re preaching to the choir. And while I’m not reformed I’m striving to improve. Sarge and Major drive me crazy b/c they’re TEACHERS!!! Don’t they get that they need to teach the kids how to plan the banquet? You can’t expect even the most responsible kid to know how to do something like that.

Hopefully you won’t get upset by this comment (and I feel comfortable saying this b/c I know we’re very similar). Is part of the reason you do so much yourself b/c you like everyone knowing they can count on you? It feels good when someone says “Give it to Pat, she’ll get it done.” Having others know we’re competent and remember the little details is a huge ego boost. And as long as it doesn’t interfere w/the rest of our lives ALL of the time it’s ok. But it feels like it’s really starting to take over your life and that’s not healthy.

So, here’s some unsolicited advice. Figure out something, anything, that you can life with if it’s not 100% perfect and then figure out who can help you with it. Treat it like a lesson plan and teach them what needs to be done. At first you supervise and check things over and eventually you back off. I know it’s easier said than done but at least for me, the hardest part was relinquishing control over something and once I did it the first time it was easier to do it after that.

OK, I’ll quit being bossy 🙂 Please take some time for yourself.

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