Beating It Back

More Imperfection

Troubles on the job

Copyright 2021 Deborah Adams

I love my job. Really, truly, honestly. I have been taking care of the same family as a part-time babysitter for almost 7 years, since the oldest child was less than a year old. I just fell into it, but it has been a great run.

Still, over 7 years things change. Needs. Responsibilities. Personalities.

Where I used to spend a few hours a few days a week, now I work about 20 hours spread across 4 days. It gives me structure. It gives me meaning. It gives me money.

Lately, however, some resentment has been sneaking in. The older girl takes dance. A lot of dance. Three of my four days involve taking her to or from the studio. Which is where her mother works as a dance teacher.

It eats up time. The girls eat in the car so that there is some time left for playing and, through that playing, for teaching. It means bedtime comes far too soon. Some days, they rebel. It seems I’ve been feeling a bit resentful of that.

Added to that, the family got a dog during quarantine. She is medium-sized. She chews everything, digs holes in the yard, and jumps up on everyone. Which is a problem for the younger girl. Both get not so gently nibbled and scratched up. We started out that she wasn’t my responsibility. But, of course, that could not last.

Now, I am told they have decided not to train the dog. That makes me mad. Without training, the dog will always chew. Always run wild. I am a bit resentful of that, too.

This weekend I realized I’ve been being passive aggressive, especially regarding the dog. I haven’t been remembering to make sure the girls put Everything away. So the dog chews up and destroys shoes, scissors, pencils, food. Last week I left the garage open, and the dog got into people treats, spreading them all over the lawn.

I don’t want to be passive aggressive. I don’t want to be resentful of a family I love and enjoy.

Now, since I’ve realized this, shame is raising its ugly head, and I’m having trouble beating it down. My first reaction was to decide I want to leave my job. Does that seem an extreme reaction? Rather throwing the baby out with the bath water.

As the girls get older, the ways the parents and I differ are becoming more obvious, and, sometimes, harder for me to reconcile.

My mind goes round and round. If I leave, will we stay friendly? Will I get a reference? Will they be mad at me? And why does that idea feel like the end of the world?

So, how am I coping with the shame? Well, Monday I didn’t want to go to work. It took all the strength of will I had to show. I hate being imperfect. Even more, I hate people knowing I am imperfect.

Truth be told, I’ve been eating in the evenings to moderate this pain. Old feelings of being worthless are hard to feel. However, they are also easy to contradict. I simply must use my self talk right now—a lot.

This is one of those times I really wish I were still in therapy. I talk about these feelings over and over, trying to defuse my emotions. I write in my journal. I talk with my sister, and with my closest friends. It is hard, admitting to having negative feelings about the family, and about myself.

These things help defuse the pain. I haven’t gotten to where I can feel a little angry to be being put in this situation. But I’m headed there. If I were a stronger person, I would simply address my issues with the parents. I’m not, yet.

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