When I’m Tired, I’m Grumpy

I’ve tried to keep my employment out of my blog for the most part.  I want to respect the privacy of my clients.  I enjoy tutoring and I feel I’ve done a good job this year of relating with Daniel.  For his part he has shown a lot of improvement.  Things have gone really smoothly, and any friction has been worked out quickly (and has been mild.)

Everything would be perfect (gas prices notwithstanding) if it were not for the ever-changing schedule.  What began as 5-6 daily became a fluctuating at-whim mess until I finally had to put my foot down last winter and request either we return to the original schedule or I raise my rates.  It was just too hard for Esme, for my family, and for me.  This spring the schedule began to shift again, and I did my best to accomodate Daniel’s desires to go to as many tennis practices as he could.  I think balance is really important.  But I tried to make it clear that it would be temporary and that when I began watching Aiden “everything would return to 5.”

Yesterday afternoon he called me at 3:45 asking when I was coming (expecting me to have been there at 3:30 so we could fit in tutoring before tennis.)  I reminded him that now that it was May things went back to 5.  “Oh, I thought that was just Thursdays.”  I politely apologized for the misunderstanding, that I didn’t realize when I told him “everything would return to 5” that he didn’t understand that everything would return to 5.  He had a game, so we had to cancel tutoring last night.  (Which, I confess, helped me out a great deal.  At the time of that call Boy Blue had still not taken his afternoon nap.  And I knew we’d have a late night with the first Phreeley Friday Pajama Party at our house.  A success, but another story.)

Laaaaaaate last night I got an email from the father, trying to get me to reconsider my Fridays, explaining why tennis is so important to Daniel, and guilting me by telling me that if Daniel has to give up tennis he’ll be very depressed.  I replied with some alternate suggestions I thought would work, and have yet to hear back from him.  I’m sure in a day or two we’ll have a solution and this will all be taken care of.

BUT IN THE MEANTIME I’m frustrated and insulted.  I realize that Daniel is an only child so it’s easy for his whims to dictate the schedule of his household.  I understand that.  I think it’s great that he has such dedicated parents.  Good for him.  Good for them.  What bothers me is that they don’t understand that I am not a part of the Daniel-centered world and that it is a lot harder for me and my galaxy to adjust on a whim.  If I made a commitment to babysit until 4:40 (at which time I have to say, “hi!  here’s your child, see you tomorrow!” and hop into the car) then I am totally unable to tutor at 3:30, no matter how valid the reason.  If I made the commitment before the tennis changes happened, then I am not in any way trying to work them over.  And if during the course of time when I did tutor early I kept reminding Daniel that it all went back to 5 in May because of my previous commitment, then obviously I’m not being unreasonable.

Am I blowing this out of proportion?  Yes.  Do I know I should be folding laundry so I can sleep instead of venting about something I know isn’t worth it?  Yes.  But do I feel invalidated?  Do I feel disrespected?  Yes.  However, I’m registering my complaints with the cosmos.  Once it’s out, it’s no longer in.  And I can move on.  I bid you all goodnight.  It is one hour past my bedtime so I am off to fold the laundry on my bed and have a shower.

***EDIT*** Monday morning he replied to my email, saying he “kind of” agreed with my suggestion that Daniel could take Fridays off tutoring in May.  (Scheduling conflicts aside, I actually have been thinking for a while that he needed an opportunity to prove how much he has grown this year.) 

🙂  This is me, very relieved.

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7 thoughts on “When I’m Tired, I’m Grumpy

  1. They’re not being disrespectful. They just really, really like you. Imagine what would happen to an insular world like that if you told them you just couldn’t do it anymore. (Um, speaking from a similar insular world…)

    Thank you, your perspective is very kind. I had actually thought last night of saying, “maybe I’m not what you want. Maybe what you want is a college student who can offer you more flexibility.”

  2. That’s not how I wrote my comment. I don’t know where the smiley face came from. My comment ended with only a bracket. But maybe my clumsy fingers slipped and I hit the semicolon while I was trying to type the bracket? It’s early in the morning. It’s plausible, but I am still mystified.

    I just checked the comment and I guess an elipsis followed by a parenthesis is also a code for a smiley. Your fingers did not slip. However, I can delete it for you if you would like.

  3. I had a big long response to this post with my own personal imput because of some of my students. Then I realized that it really was too personal, so I cut it back out. I guess what I am trying to say is, I know exactly how you feel and it is definitely not too much to expect someone to listen when you say your available times. Things will work out, and know that in the mean time, I get grumpy when I am tired too.

    Thanks. It feels good to know I’m not alone.

  4. Ha, you’re losing your Canadianisms. You called a bracket a parenthesis. 🙂

    Smiley intended this time.

    Alas, I did. (sigh)

  5. I can completely understand how you feel – I have had some similar experiences with piano lessons – but more along the lines of, “my child doesn’t feel like coming to their lesson today…” to which I reply that’s fine, but you will be paying for it anyway. I feel mean sometimes, but I have had many people take advantage of niceness, and become so flakey. I would completely free my schedule, not be able to take kids the to the park, or playdates, and I would get a call 5 minutes after the lesson was supposed to begin that the student decided to go to a birthday part instead.

    At least I don’t have to go to their houses to teach – that would be a lot harder, and now with as few students as I have I can be flexible for my students who need it – if I had to go to their house though, flexibility would fly out the window.

    Yep, the cancellation clause was in my piano contracts — I remember Mum dressing me up no matter how sick I was because we were paying either way. It’s hard to think you’re being “mean” but it’s really important to protect yourself from being taken advantage.

  6. I think you are being fair. If they want you to be on-call, then they need to pay you for being on-call. Don’t let them take advantage of you!

    I think there are going to be A LOT of kids in about 10 years who will enter the real world with no idea how the real world functions.

    (I wish I lived in their world where I get whatever I want whenever I want. I want ravioli. And I want it NOW!!!!!) 😉

  7. i thought you handled the situation beautifully. i’m one of those kids who was extremely devoted to sports and prior to a “career-ending” injury was making preparations to play in college as well. because i couldn’t play ball, i was not motivated to go to college. some of us need one to want the other, even if that sounds “jockish” or stupid. heh. even if it were not his future in tennis the parents were concerned about, they might know he would spiral into a lot of poor decisions without the discipline it takes to stay devoted to a sport. why am i saying all of this? because… it sounds as if they were truly faced with two things they wanted equally. you and his tennis. i can see why they would try to convince you to change your schedule to accommodate him– the theory, what does it hurt to ask– (and maybe push, and convince, and beg… heh) so they would not have to sacrifice one or the other. i’m glad you gave them options that could work for you both. however, i’m even happier that you would not shift your priorities to accommodate someone elses priorities. breeds resentment, don’t you know. 😀

    i would not have even completed high school if i could not play sports. so, for some, that dedication might be seen as a luxury, or hobby, or idle “want”… but it can also be a means of survival and motivation.

    i know you weren’t dogging sports. do i ever stay on topic? um, no. 😛

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