Desperately needing virtual hugs....

Discussion in 'Family Life - Stories, Pictures & Updates' started by smudge, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. smudge

    smudge Songster

    Mar 20, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    Crappy week. Feeling like an utter failure. Only think keeping me going is that if I give up, I'll never have a chance at some possibility of things getting better.

    I'm divorced. One of the last people who went to trial over fault before NY became no fault - took judge less than 30 seconds to grant it on the basis of cruelty after hearing the case. Just saying, there's documentation of abuse. So he flew out here last weekend to see our daughter for her birthday (it's been years since he's made it to our state for her birthday, so I just treated it as normal visitation weekend as written in the court order), which meant that I got have a daughter in a foul mood with me while he was out here - basically acts like he used to. At least that seems to have worn off after he left.

    Then I had my Girl Scout troop go cablooey. Well, it's been an utter joke of a troop - I've just been trying to hold things together. This motley crew makes the Bad News Bears look Norman Rockwell. I took over after the head leader moved out of state last summer and just haven't been able to get a reliable 2nd adult. I have someone on the roster listed as co-leader, but every time I tried to get "Ann" to go to orientation she's have a panic attack and say it was too much for her. You have 3 months after being appointed to go through leadership training, and since t his woman has never been a Girl Scout herself, I'd say it'd be pretty darn good for her to go to training so t hat she'd know ho w much stress she's put me through - it has been a rare meeting this year that I've been 100% sure that she'll be there. One meeting I resorted to having a parent who'd just had a ministroke fill in. I've had my elderly disabled (MS, diabetic) neighbor register so that she can fill in. No one volunteered to head any of our fundraisers - I headed fall sales, I'm Cookie Mom too, and the stupid sales overlap so I'm utterly scatterbrained. But somehow I'm trying to throw badge activities together and get the girls to accomplish something - it's my 3rd year, and the first one where we had relatively calm meetings without tantrums.

    The non-coleader "Ann" suggested in a FB message Wednesday afternoon that we cancel our 3 block field trip to the library because it's too cold. 40F, not snowing or freezing rain - practically balmy compared to the next of the week. I suggested that she tail us in her car. (Well, actually, I'd initially planned on having the disabled neighbor do that, because of Ann's Friday message that she was having surgery, but in Tuesday's message the surgery was cancelled. Anyone ever have non-urgent surgery that WASN'T planned more than a week in advance? Anyone told they need back, hip, hernia, ovarian cyst, and foot surgery who can walk without a cane or some sort of support? - because frankly, I physically can't stand up straight when I have bursitis or s evere back pain. Just saying.)

    Please note, "Ann" did not write she was in pain and could not walk - she wrote that it was too cold. She did not suggest that we drive the girls to the library - she thought we should cancel. I did my usual ferrying of 1/2 the girls (none my own) from one school to another for the meeting (nope - co-leader "Ann" has never offered). Not a WORD said to me while setting up for the meeting, but she starts madly texting one of the parents and announces that parent will pick up her girls at the library, because they've a dr appt. (Find out later she's texting with plans to quit the troop and start their own.)

    I have brought cupcakes for snack to celebrate my daughter's birthday. Ann's daughter refuses to participate in wishing my daughter a happy birthday.

    We get the girls out to the parking lot to leave for the field trip - still no comment from her, she goes to her car, and leaves with her daughter. Mind you, I've had it drummed into my head that FOR INSURANCE PURPOSES WE MUST HAVE 2 ADULTS AT ALL TIME, OR ELSE CANCEL WHATEVER WE'RE DOING AND SEND THE GIRLS HOME. So I'm a mess, the girls know I'm a mess, utterly fuming, because technically I should send them all home, but that would take more time than just walking. So I make a judgement call that since 3 out of 5 of the girls with me are being picked up at the library, and the other 2 are the ones I'm driving home, that I might as well walk. Uneventful, girls happy, they enjoy the librarians presentation, everyone's paired with their ride home and I leave.

    The next morning 3 hens go missing. Out of 6. Before school. As I take my daughter to her bus stop, still worrying about chickens, it starts to snow. A snow squall. Still no chickens. I'm frantic. I've been up and down my street, adjacent streets, every path and usual hiding place, no hens. Go online to post an email to my neighbors to look for the girls.

    Notice an email from pseudo-coleader Ann. Incoherent, but basically she and her daughter quit because she's too busy, and they won't be ordering cookies. I'll deal with this another day.
    Notice several emails from her ally. First one is a cookie order. Second one is an amended cookie order. Third one is a hold off on the cookie order - all posted during the previous days meeting. I have my suspicions, but just email that I'm confused. She emails back that the order is back in. Did I mention that the cookie orders are due?

    But I have chickens to find, and just before noon I locate them in a neighbor's pine tree. [​IMG]They're happier than the ones that made it to the run, but I take them home anyhow. [​IMG]every one of them.

    So today (Friday) forward the email from the pseudo-coleader to the GS coordinator for our town, with a short statement that this is to keep her in the loop, and a question as to whether it would be appropriate to reply with something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to hear that and hope things get better for you. Remember your daughter's membership is paid for and can still be used for other Girl Scout activities." Acknowledge that "Ann" might actually be angry with me, or really just sincerely overwhelmed. (My co-leader from last year suspects it's just that Ann's been waiting for an excuse. Too many things don't add up with her physical complaints.)

    Anyway, my note opened the door for the conversation with my coordinator about the complaints "Ann" has filed, for starters claiming that I endangered the children. And followed by a litany of things.

    Like, I locked my keys in the car by mistake with all the candy the troop was supposed to sell in it in November. Inconvenient? Yes. Dangerous? Um, the kids were inside with their parents while I was outside in 20F weather waiting for someone to come pop the lock. Did I ask anyone to stay longer than they committed to? No. Was I contrite and visibly upset about being such a ninny? Yes. Did I write a letter to each parent inconvenienced thanking them for their patience? Yep. Net suffering: we sold less candy as a troop. Suggested Solution: Sign up to be the parent handling fall sales next year. Or at least volunteer to do something besides stand around at the booth sale, criticizing the shoe box I'm using as a cash box. ESPECIALLY if you are the same person who sent a message the morning of the next sale saying, sorry, you're not going to make it. And ESPECIALLY don't diss me for being a ditz when I have the compassion to realize that it's not your daughter's fault your ex-husband won't take her to the sale AND ASSIGN SOME "EXTRA" BOXES TO HER so that she can get a sales award. (It's pretty standard to shift these things around to maximize awards for girls - if there's an award for selling 100 and one kids total is 110 and the other is at 98, for example, you shift a couple in the database.)

    Allegedly I made the girls eat food that had been on the floor. All I know is that if anyone had problems with food served at a meeting, the time to voice ones concern would be at that time - not months later on a laundry list.

    The list goes on. Am I perfect? Far from it. Do I need help, have been begging for help, and have felt like I'm trying to do the impossible? Certainly. Has ANY parent voiced her concerns?

    Ironically, the girls were supposed to be working on learning how to find clues for how to "change a story" this week, to eventually apply it to their community. Even more ironically, I tried having the girls work on the Making Friends/Social Butterfly badges, where one of the requirements is to "Learn How To Disagree".

    I'm just so sick of this. I volunteered, trying to do a good thing. I try to follow the rules, be a team player - at town wide events, people usually like the activities I come up with. I'm no personality plus, but I've had 30+ year volunteers comment about how patient I am with the children.

    I actually thought that I wasn't being a complete disaster this year. I've had the girls learn how to knit, do marble roller coasters experiments, assemble PVC pipe marshmallow shooters, learn about letterboxing... And they seemed to be having fun. But I guess the under 35 parents just hate me. Maybe I just come across as being some sort of space alien with my crazy ideas and all - since I'm old enough to be their mom, educated, and not from this rural area.

    So... There's the possibility that my troop is down to my daughter and the kid whose life is a disaster (we're talking psych evals, CPS, law guardian).

    I'm a total failure as a volunteer. Not only is my work unappreciated, it's actually viewed as harmful.

    This is worse than my failure at getting my church to have Sunday School. I quit going last fall, because it was bad enough that the lay congregation preferred "pat myself on the back" morning messages, the other parents were unwilling to continue have Sunday School because they're burnt out and the kids should be doing something more service oriented. (We were using a curriculum for small congregations, changes every year, each parent taking a turn once a month. Because one family considers themselves more important than the rest, they thought all was cancelled when they weren't there - instead, I'd do it 3 weeks in a row because every child, including mine, matters. But again, my donation of time is not only not appreciated, but is apparently unwanted and considered a burden.) Of course, there's actually no "service oriented" activities going on either, from what I hear.

    Meanwhile, everything else takes a back seat while I just try to get by. I literally have hens living in the mud room, because I just can't seem to get the coop done.

    It's one part lazy, one part depressed, one part paralyzed with the overwhelming mess of my life, and the overall feeling of helplessness. I try to give myself pep talks, tell myself that I can get through things, one thing at a time. And start to make progress... when everything else comes tumbling down.

    Yes, I should just let it go by, relax, sleep, get up tomorrow and do something for me. But I'll still be a failure.
  2. smudge, it's seems you're caught up in the rat race that is called life.....and you care when others don't give a rat's behind about anything but themselves. Life isn't fair, especially to people who are chronically striving to make a difference in this world. My advice is just drop the intensity a couple of's what I've done recently, particullarly at work. I don't mean to sound cold but they are people that just don't care, and they are a waste of time. You need to find the ones that do and sweetie this will build you're spirit up. Remember this, only you can allow yourself to be a failure.....never give up! (this coming from Captain Crash and Burn) I will be praying for you and if you need to vent some just go ahead.:hugs
    2 people like this.
  3. bluesub

    bluesub Songster

    Jan 4, 2011
    I won't go into what a mess my life is right now, but here's my advice. Drop the Girl Scout troop, invite a few of the girls that your daughter likes over and take them to do fun activities. Skip the fundraisers and just have fun.

    If you can, find a new church with youth activities already in place, sometimes it's easier than trying to reinvent the wheel.

    Are your chickens safe the in the mudroom? If yes, than don't worry about the coop - the chickens probably don't care.

    When I am overwhelmed, I start with the smallest task I have (If I have to clean the entire house, I start with the guest bathroom), once I get that done, it is usually easier to start on the next task because I have accomplished something - if not, at least I got something done.

    Lastly, remember that your daughter is healthy, that is really all that matters in the world. [​IMG]
    2 people like this.
  4. sunny & the 5 egg layers

    sunny & the 5 egg layers Crowing

    Mar 29, 2011
    Keep your chin up.
    1 person likes this.
  5. smudge

    smudge Songster

    Mar 20, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    Thank you! Honestly, I was thinking if my troop is really down to 2 to proceed that way - and occasionally invite other girls from her bus/neighborhood over.

    The hens survived last winter in the mudroom, and my veternarian neighbor commented last summer on how healthy they seem to be. Just labor intensive having a run separate from housing. At least I managed to toss together a run in different place from last year's and tripled the size. Very ramshackle looking (started out as deer resistent vegetable garden), but it hasn't blown away yet.

    And yes, I am blessed with a daughter who the teachers seem to think of as kind and compassionate with a great sense of humor, in addition to an all round great student. In the general vein of not much being easy for me, I was lucky that she was born healthy, as I have more than one clotting disorder and had to inject blood thinners twice a day while pregnant and nursing (since I've a history of Coumadin resistance). And my (now ex) husband was in denial that my condition was real - he actually cancelled health insurance retroactively in the 7th month.

    Thanks for the [​IMG].
  6. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    It seems to me that you are "a mover and a shaker;" the sort of person who sees a thing that needs to be done, and then put forth the effort to get it done. When you are unable to accomplish single-handed that which requires the effort and energy of several people, that doesn't make you a failure, it makes you less than superhuman. You have failed to ignite others with your passion, but that can be a hard thing to do; perhaps that should be seen as more their failing than yours. You have put a great deal of yourself into this, and I know it is very painful to feel that your hard work is not only not appreciated, but is just opening you up for criticism and ridicule.

    Y'know, people will say anything. Sometimes they will say one thing to your face, and quite another behind your back. That being the case, I feel it is more informative to look at what people do, and pay less attention to what they say. Looking at what you say Ann has done, it appears to me that she has never really wanted to be co-leader of the troop; trying to get her to perform the duties of a responsibility that she didn't really want is something akin to beating the proverbial dead horse.

    I'm with bluesub - I'd bow out of this Girl Scout troop as gracefully as I could. I hope the difficulties you have been having aren't just somebody's personal little ego trip, but if they are, maybe if you are out of the picture things can get better with the Girl Scouts. I hope so - the children are so much more important than the childish bickering and backbiting that adults sometimes do . . .[​IMG]

    Hang in there![​IMG]
    1 person likes this.
  7. smudge

    smudge Songster

    Mar 20, 2013
    Long Island, NY
    Well, here's the thing... If I "bow out" of the troop it disbands... It's a complete loss for everyone. I'd rather at least complete the year.

    Today we had a meeting of 2 - my girl, and one other.

    It was our Garden Club meeting - our troop is partnered with the local garden club. The 2 volunteers that were there today, both retired teachers, were rather taken aback at who was complaining...

    The mom of the remaining girl was appalled - because I really have been going above and beyond, with no reliable help.

    So far, I feel like I've had 0 support from our town's service unit. Like, even when I provide proof that people are lying (and it's *really* easy to find), it's being ignored. (Like, when you claim not to have received an email that you actually replied to! Or when you claim to have completed the training online, when that training isn't offered online.) Or responding to emails with time sensitive questions so that I can meet deadlines.

    I know in the long run everything will work out. But I don't think these girls' moms have a clue. Even if Ann and her ally wake up and smell the coffee - that transferring to another troop is quicker and easier than starting one from scratch midyear - it's just BAD. They've broken just about every Girl Scout law. Not that that matters to the organization...

    On the up side, it seems that anyone who has ever been present at one of our troop meetings thinks the whole thing is nuts. Still not feeling a lot better, clearly.

    I guess that's why "thou shalt not bear false witness" is one of the Ten Commandments... It's so hurtful, and cannot be undone. Because even if it's false and proven false, people will wonder what you did to make someone do such a thing.
  8. BrokenWindFarms

    BrokenWindFarms In the Brooder

    Jan 11, 2015
    I have been exactly where you are and I'm pretty sure I can emphasize with your feelings! I was a co-leader to a troop that was fairly decent, but Lord, have mercy on our souls... only a few would actually show up and help. My favorite was the competitive moms who were COOKIE CRAZY! Like, seriously, competitive... I was finally ok when we left, but I LOVE the service community and Girl Scouts is such a fantastic service for the girls. You are an amazing soul to continue to do the work you do and trust me, He knows that you are doing the best you can and I promise, He is walking with you! I am so very sorry that you have to deal with such people and hopefully, they will see the unnecessary commotion they have created (maybe even offer an apology at some point?? Yeah, don't hold your breath, but good to hope, right?)

    I do hope you find some relief soon. I can tell you need some love :D {Hugs from Arizona}

    1 person likes this.
  9. wyoDreamer

    wyoDreamer Crowing

    Nov 10, 2010
    I am sorry that you are so overwhelmed with all this. [​IMG]
    I am not a girl scout leader, so I don't know what the requirements are. However, you are so overwhelmed with this that you need to cut back. When you are stressing about it, the girls stress about it and no-one has any fun.

    Well, here's the thing... If I "bow out" of the troop it disbands... It's a complete loss for everyone. I'd rather at least complete the year
    Who is everyone and what are they loosing? It sounds like you're the only one who really cares about the troop. If you burn yourself out, you are helping no-one and the girls get nothing.

    Send a letter to the parents of the girls in the troop and tell them that you are overwhelmed by doing this by yourself and the activities will be cut back. Figure out what activities you can cut back on, what is absolutely necessary? Honestly, you will not be sent to Heck for eternity just because the girls don't complete all the activities that the Girl Scout machine suggests. No-one dies of the girls don't sell cookies.
    Please, let Anne off the hook. She obviously doesn't want to do this and you are only setting her up to fail by pushing the issue. You need to realize you cannot make her follow through on what you want her to do. I was an Anne once, and it is not a good position to be in.

    My sister has a co-leader the complete opposite. This young mother has so many ideas, but is so unorganized and does not understand the concept of planning ahead. For instance, the plan was to have the girls to make valentines so my sister had glue, paper, sequins, glitter, and bunches of other stuff for decorating the valentines. The co-leader shows up 5 minutes late for the meeting and says "Guess what, we are going to make valentine pillows" and proceeds to unpack fabric, fabric markers, a bag of stuffing and says she needs to "download and print the pattern". She didn't have anything pre-cut, a sample made, or anything. AND, of course that is what the girls want to do... most of the meetings are thrown completely off topic by this woman and her need to be the best leader ever. My sister just wants the girls to have fun and learn.

    It is a wonderful thing that you are trying to do. The Girl Scouts is a great organization and I hope you can find a level that you can make it work at. [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  10. Nutcase

    Nutcase Songster

    Dec 2, 2012
    My Coop
    You have the right idea, and I hope things are looking up for you too.

    wyoDreamer is right too, @smudge ... think about what's best for you if nobody else is going to. Then if you look after yourself you can worry about helping others too!

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