Well today I got a taste of my own medicine. I have a niece that I am very close to, pretty much was a surrogate mom to her growing up. She is older now and has a son that is almost two. He is the only little one around at the moment and we love him. To make a long story shorter, my niece moved about 15 minutes from our town. I work daily and as of late been pretty busy, and when I am not, I have been depressed and just wanting to hide away.
I offered to watch my little great nephew yesterday, but that fell through on my niece's end so I told her last night that I would come and get them, take them to the pumpkin patch and maybe we could carve pumpkins. My niece's car isn't working right now and she is certainly struggling financially. I woke up not feeling well today and called her to cancel. She started going off on me, telling me she feels like she doesn't have any family, we never go see her, we never watch the boy, I am always sick, etc. I stood my ground and told her the road works both ways. Basically, she had some pretty high expectations of me right now, not even considering what the rest of my life on a daily basis looks like.
I stewed over it for a bit and tried to just let it go. I realized that I do this same type of thing, expectation placing, on my son and others that I love, including myself. Expectations that are not even remotely reasonable for the person I place them on, again including myself.
I called her back late today and offered to watch him next Saturday as I really wanted to, not because she expected me to. I really had to put some thought into this one and boy do I have some work to keep doing on the expectation rollercoaster! Maybe because I was on the receiving end in the past couple of days (had an experience with my boss also on Friday), I will look at it differently the next time I start to place them on others. It felt crappy having someone expecting something of me that was just not reasonable today and on Friday with the boss. Good lesson.