I don’t think I’m one of those people who are totally helpless. Granted, I don’t know everything about any one thing, but I think I’m pretty self-sufficient, and sometimes I’m just looking for some validation.
Here’s my situation: My daughter lives 3000 miles away in California. So there are a lot of things I don’t bother my daughter with, because she’s in an entirely different time zone. So most of the time I just try to text her with the important things because she can’t help me with some of the smaller things or the things that you do to maintain a household on a daily basis.
My son, on the other hand, is local and close by. He lives less than 20 minutes from us so I will often just text him with little stupid stuff because we’re in the same time zone. I text him about the things that I’ve done on my own without needing his help or anybody’s help, and he feels the need to always respond. I told him, look, if I really need you to respond or if it’s an emergency, I will let you know. I don’t expect a response for every little thing, sometimes I just want to talk or text just to get it out of my own head.
But sometimes I do wish someone would tell me, “Good job, Mom. I’m glad you could climb onto the roof and change that spotlight.” Or “I’m glad you figured out how to correct whatever was wrong all on your own.”
There are so many other widows that don’t have a clue, and that’s okay. But I try my best not to be a burden on anyone. I never have in the past, and I don’t want to in the future. There are so many new things I have to do now on my own, or figure out on my own – for example, I had to insulate the pipes for the winter and get all the equipment ready for winter storage. In the past if I was doing something like this, Steve would always compliment me and say, “Honey, you’re doing such a great job” on maintaining the lawn. Or “The gardens look so good, you’re doing a great job.”
But I no longer have that validation. And sometimes I don’t think my kids or friends realize how hard I try to keep things maintained. In my mind, when I’m taking care of the household maintenance, it’s as if Steve was still here and giving me guidance or a pep talk.
I’ve had to figure this stuff out because I’m not helpless. I always feel I’m empowered and I’m capable of figuring a lot of stuff out on my own and I consider it an accomplishment. I just wish sometimes one of them would say “Good job, Mom. You’re doing great, but let me know if you need my help.” Just the acknowledgment that I’m doing stuff on my own, because I am capable and I can probably figure out most things. I’m not a hopeless widow that need someone here 24/7, and I really only need help when it comes to the big things, things that involve power tools like a chainsaw or a log splitter. Otherwise I think I’m doing pretty well, but I just wish sometimes I could get some validation.
My kids always get back to my messages in a timely fashion, but recently, my son seemed annoyed. He called me and said “Come on, Mom. I’m not busy, just get it all out, tell me what you want.” I had nothing important to share with him, just those little things that I was so proud of, or how my day went, or what I did. Then I realized, I must be annoying and a pain in the ass… He must be thinking “Now what?” and hates reading my messages.
So I decided to change that. I didn’t message him for 5 days. He finally called me to make sure I was okay. Obviously, I was. But I said to him – This is what it’s going to be like when I’m gone and you and your sister will wish I was annoying you two.
So, make sure you acknowledge someone’s smallest accomplishments, even if it doesn;t seem like a big deal. But always tell them… whether they’re old or young… that they’re doing a great job. It inspires them to keep going on to the next project… it validates that what they did was great… no matter what it was.