Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lowered Expectations

There are so many things that I wish I could change.

Wait, hang on a sec. I have just broken a rule that my 4th grade teacher told me: do not EVER start a sentence with "there are". Why? I don't know. But, I'm a compulsive complier. Is complier a word? Okay, moving on...

There are so many things that I wish I could change. Things in my own life, things in my kids' lives, things my friends are struggling with, things in my community, things in my nation, etc. But all too often, those wishes last as long as lit candles on a birthday cake because I have to step back and face reality that there is nothing I can do to change it.

I often wonder if I'm just a mom who's been beaten down by the system, being forced into compliance by the sheer lack of ability to change my circumstances. Like, the options are: get screwed and take it with a smile, or get screwed and take it while complaining. But, no matter how much it sucks, there's no way around the getting screwed part.

For example, I could rattle off a crazy list of regulations that my kids have to follow at the public school. I'm sure it has a lot to do with knucklehead parents making bad choices and ruining it for all of us normal, non-harassing-type parents. I wish I could come up to my kid's school and watch him on the playground (nope. not allowed.) I wish I could drop by my kids' teachers rooms to ask a quick question and make face-to-face contact with her. (nope, all visits must be made with appointments.) I wish my kids could wear regular non-offensive clothes to their public school (nope. Uniforms required.)

Another thing: I wish insurance companies and doctors could get their act together and quit charging so much money for all their services. I know the two must go hand-in-hand, along with malpractice insurance companies too. If the doctors charged less, then the insurance premiums would be less, and the malpractice insurance rates would go down too. But, how could *I* do anything about it? Yet, it affects me on an almost daily basis. Having 5 kids, you can imagine how often I'm at the doctor or dentist.

And, what about illegal immigrants, breaking the law by living in the United States, taking advantage of all the awesome services that are intended for American Citizens, paid for by American Taxpayers? I would love for all the illegal immigrants here in Texas to just come to the country... legally. I understand the desire to America! It *IS* a great country!! I don't have a problem with people coming here to make a better life for themselves. But I wish they would just follow the laws that are set up by the very country they want to be a part of. I think it sucks that our country now has really tight restrictions about immigration, because so many people have come here & stayed here illegally. Is it ironic that, if people would just follow the laws set up to get them here in the first place, it would be easier for them to live in the United States legally? I can only imagine how frustrating it is for people who do follow the legal procedures to become an American citizen to watch news reports about illegal immigrants and read stories about the government programs that are failing because of the huge financial strain put on them. It seems like an oxymoron, breaking the laws of the country where you want to be a citizen, so you can live in that country and NOT be a citizen. I guess I could write my governor, congressman, or state representative. But, really? Would that make one itty bitty bit of a difference? I think probably not.

All of these things are just simply out of my reach. Sometimes I feel like a little insignificant ant. I could yell and picket and boycot but the only one who would notice would be me, and maybe anyone who walked by me and thought I was off my meds. And yes, I know, all big things must start small, with one person. I know that. But that person usually has a LOT of energy or a very unique vision or a networking connection that allows them to get big results fast. I imagine that if I tried to start a revolution of some type, where would it go? What effect would it have? What difference would it really make?

So, I lower my expectations. I just assume that the school will not be a friendly place to go. I come to expect that I will get screwed over by the insurance company. I get used to the idea that the problems of the government will never get solved; they will keep being debated and legislated and voted on. But in the end, it will be like using a squirt pistol on a bonfire: a little relief but never enough and always short-lived. I roll over, and agree for other people/companies/organizations to have their way with me. And then I say "thank you, sir. May I have another?"

Before I end the post, I have to say that I recognize how blessed I am that I have as much freedom as I actually do. The people in America really CAN make changes happen. I don't have the restrictions that most of the world has. America has its disadvantages but I still think it's the best country in the world.

But still, I don't want to sound all depressing or anything, but does anyone else ever feel like this?

Texan Mama


Jennifer said...

Yes, all the time. I get frustrated and angry and upset and I know that there really isn't anything I can do. It makes me feel hopeless. I don't like it at all.

Bridgett said...

On many issues I stand across the aisle from you, but yes, I could almost write this very same post. I'm frustrated with insurance companies and how the government only sort of pretends to work and how our country handles immigration. My kids' school is far more friendly than yours is described here, though! Yikes! Although even our school likes to pull crap on us--they still assume that no parents can pack a nutritious lunch, and so have already started the patronizing letters home about empty calories. Sigh.

Kirby said...

Oh gosh, you have no idea, I feel the same way you do especially with the whole insurance and immigrant topic. I feel like some things only get worse than better and will never change. I hope for everyone that it will, but you just never know what will happen next. And yes, yours kids schools scare me! haha!

Life with Kaishon said...

I think those things and then I feel sad and overwhelmed because I don't know how I can ever get them to change.

Kay said...

I write to my congressional representatives all the time — I think probably four or five times last year. You never know, you might be that one email that gets read on the senate floor and makes the difference!

woman:confused said...

OK, I agree with everything you said... except the part about lowering expectations - I REFUSE!!

However, I will say that the good are ALWAYS punished for the bad. That is why things such as Tort reform are more necessary than healthcare reform - because the REASON health costs are so high is BECAUSE of the lawsuits.

I have to cut it short or I will comment longer than the blog itself! *stepping off soap box*

Just don't set the sights low. Keep 'em high. :D

Swizz said...

Go read this:

It will make you not only NOT feel alone, but see that it goes much deeper than you what you even stated.

I can hear the Beatles song now, "You say you want a revolution, well, you know...we all want to change the world!" Or something like that. ;O)

Gigi said...

Oh my gosh! I feel like this all the time! So much is totally out of our control. And there are so many problems that are so huge that it seems totally unsurmountable to even begin to try and affect change. But then, I suppose any change starts with baby steps.

Aunt Crazy said...

Yes, I feel helpless often. I have so said so many times that I wish I had the wherewithall, the time, the money, the knowledge, the everything it takes to take the Texas education system and fight to make it LOGICAL and work for our kids, the way it is supposed to. Insurance and immigration too, all of's mind boggling and I want it fixed but I too just do not know how!

stephanie (bad mom) said...

Amen, sister - but I do think your small steps (writing this post, for example) can make a difference. If the 10 of us who have commented so far talk with 10 friends and maybe even write to a representative, eventually things will start to change.

It's a long & frustrating wait to be sure, but it is part of what makes America better than so many places.

As far as school goes, I so hope it becomes a more pleasant place than you dread...What happens if you just show up one day, I'm wondering. That's what we Renegades do ;)

Maggie S said...

Well said. I guess I always say that.
What is the reason behind the "there are" rule? I have never heard that until right now. I start sentences with "There are" all the time.