We had a meeting of our networking group this morning. The group started as a way for anybody with any sort of goals to find motivation. After a couple of meetings it appeared to be a bunch of women who are all starting their own businesses. I was motivated and inspired by what we were developing. Today was the 3rd meeting. I had brought one of my best friends, who is also starting her own business. Another girl was also new. There were five of us altogether.
The meeting was a disaster, IMO. And I am blaming myself for it. I have spent the day in a state of mental agitation, and had to restrain myself from calling one of my friends in the group to vent to her and ease my guilty conscience. After an intial introduction of who we are and what we were trying to do, it was the turn of the new girl (the one I didn’t know) and she broke down into tears when she confessed her goal was to be a more effective parent (well, she didn’t put it that way, basically she feels like a failure ‘cuz she’s struggling with her 3 year old).
My heart immediately went out to her. It is SO hard to do this parenting thing, and it’s astonishing how ill-equipped we all are to do this job. And it’s so frustrating to see how many parents want so much to do the right thing, but have no idea what that is. Since I generally have a pretty good handle on parenting from all the research and discussion I’ve participated in over the years (my issues stem from losing the patience and energy to deal with things the way I know I should), I wanted to help and reassure this person.
What ensued was a very lengthy talk about parenting a 3 year old. My best friend has no children, so this basically left her out in the cold. I should have shut up but I just kept going. I wasn’t the only one talking, and certainly this distraught mother was eager to talk about it, too. But I’m blaming myself for most of it because I just kept going on. I’m so passionate about this subject, and can’t stand to see someone so distraught when I feel I can help her a bit. But I totally lost track of why we were there. Before I knew it time had flown and we were all rushing to put on our coats and pay the server. We jotted down each others’ Goals (we set a couple each meeting, then follow up next meeting) in the midst of this chaos.
My dear friend basically wasted her time – she lives way outside of the city, so this was a big trek for her. Frankly, it was a total waste of my time, too. I can talk parenting any time. This meeting was not for that. We barely talked about business. There were subjects that should have been discussed that would have benefitted everyone, but that weren’t. There was basically nothing but an introduction and then a long gab about parenting. This isn’t what this meeting is for. I feel like such a schmuck!
I asked my best friend to give us one more try, and I will be bringing my concerns to the group. I think we need some sort of meeting agenda, and some sort of chair to make sure things stay on track. Somebody should have said “okay, let’s move on…” and shut me up. But nobody did. I can’t stop berating myself in my head about this (it’s an issue I’ve struggled with pretty much my whole life, and one that is associated with hurts whose scars run very deep). It’s like I get tunnel vision, lost in my own thought process (which is coming right out of my mouth) and time stands still. Suddenly I pull back and see that I’ve wasted these peoples’ time. And probably made a fool of myself in the process. Then I get all anxious and agitated about it. And the only thing that helps?? Talking about it!! (slamming head against wall).