Sunday, April 5, 2009

When good deeds backfire...

I did something yesterday, that I sort of regret.
Yet in a way, I'm sort of proud of myself too - and more than a bit relieved..
Sort of.
See, I've spent the last 18 hours or so alternately beating myself up over it ... and patting myself on the back at the same time...
I'm starting to look like a bloody pretzel, believe me...
Between the knocking myself in the head and patting myself on the back, I am one twisted sister!

Mainly, I feel that I did the right thing.
I said what was in my heart and I did it for the right reasons and that can't be anything but a good thing... right?

So then why does it hurt so bad?

I'll tell ya about it, okay?
(deep breaths)
Hi, my name is Tatersmama and I'm a member of an online daycare group.
I've been with them for almost 2 years and as far as the other members go, well... I've met some great friends that I never ever want to lose track of... Special folks... ya know?

Like any on-line group, there are some pretty dicey moments, where tempers flare, things are said... but eventually everything smooths out again and peace reigns again. Then again, things can be as smooth as butter and there are no hassles for months on end.

Kind of like that old nursury rhyme:

There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good, She was very, very good,
But when she was bad, she was horrid.
Yep, that's the perfect description.

About a year ago, this group was going to place an ad in a national magazine and one particular carer volunteered to collect money to help pay for the ad.
No worries mate... what a good idea.
It was helpful to the owner of the group, great advertising for us all...yada yada yada...
Quite a few of us donated what we could... and all was rosie.
Only, the ad didn't happen. (at that point, there was a good reason, so we weren't worried)

We would just put an ad in the next issue.

That too, fell through... and at that point, one particular member asked if we were going to get our money back. I backed her up, but we got no response.
I privately Pm-ed the woman.
I privately Pm-ed the group owner.
No ad, we want our money back... simple.. yes?
I got no response from anyone.

So about a week ago, I came across that particular thread again and re-opened the discussion.

Clearly, by the response, people wanted their money back, because we weren't talking chicken feed here. ( this is money to pay for a national ad... and they don't come cheap)

We were talking BIG money for some of us and smaller amounts for others... but at the end of the day, that was OUR money and we deserve an explanation as to where it went.

The only thing is, the member who had collected the money has virtually disappeared.
The group owner tried contacting her...
individual members sent her private messages and emails...

And we got nada.. nothing... no response... no explanation for almost 8 months.
Until yesterday.

Yesterday we finally got a response, and it wasn't nice.
No sir, it wasn't nice at all.

She YELLED at us through the whole message, accusing us of having called her dirty scum, a thief and on and on... even going to the point of airing her dirty laundry and then finishing with "THERE...I HOPE YOU'RE ALL HAPPY!

No one had called this woman names and I swear... no one had ever been anything but polite.
Maybe a bit firm because we were concerned as to where OUR money had gone, but I guarantee that we were ALL polite about it.

See, It's not in my nature to be anything but polite... and I will turn the other cheek so many times, that I look like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. Anyone who knows me can tell you that.

So rather than get into a big hoo-ha over it, I simply replied:

"Thank you XXX, thanks for letting us know"

Which I guess, was the wrong thing to say. Because the diatribe continued.

We got more "SNARL SNARL SNARL, just tell me what you want me to do and I'll send you your money."
(well... snarl snarl snarl weren't her exact words, but I'll let you leave it up to your imagination)

So I purely and simply said:
( and this is copied and pasted directly from the site - or rather what was on the site)

I will be contacting you in the next day or so.
I was taught by my mother to think wisely and speak carefully and kindly at all times...and I'm afraid I'm not capable of doing either, at this point.

Better to wait, until I've calmed down and dried my tears.

That was IT.

Is there anything hateful or hurtful in that?

Yet it was immediately removed from the site, because it was deemed inflammatory and potentially hurtful.
HER message (Miss XXXX's nasty nasty diatribe) remained for hours.

Then, the owner came in with her message that basically read

"Oh XXXX, I knew you were just busy, gush gush, coo coo, hugs hugs, my dear friend."

I mean.... this response was just vomit-inducing and it was a clear slap in the face to everyone who had asked for their money back.

So... I posted a message that I would be leaving the group.

Again, being me, it was tastefully and politely done ...and I simply stated that I had decided to leave. No mention of why, no accusations, no mud-slinging - basically just
"I will be leaving the group on Friday and I will miss you all."
And the support I got? OMG... I had Pm's and emails all night long, asking me to re-think and stay on. Let it slide... we've all been there.... this is wrong... someone needs to say something... etc.

But I'm torn.

I feel like I've done my dash and to back down now...well, it would make me look foolish.
Sometimes it just comes down to a matter of principle, ya know?
Someone needed to say something and take a stand... and I did it out of the goodness of my heart. Not just for me, but for everyone involved.
And I got a good swift kick in the arse for my troubles.

But.. the group is a great resource for my job, with heaps of tips, activities and support.

Not to mention, some pretty great friends as well... and although we do keep in contact off-list, I would miss the group socialization, ya know?.

What to do? What to do ?


Queenie said...

Follow your heart, sweetie. There is right and there is wrong and you cannot compromise yourself. Follow your heart.

Sherri said...

It's very sad when on-line drama affects your regular life. I don't know how much money you are out, but I guess you could look at it as a lesson learned. I wouldn't go back, to much chit has been said and done. It wouldn't be the same. Why don't you concider starting your own group. Could be something to thing about.

Sherri said...

or think about :)

Neas Nuttiness said...

E mail me Crisco Kid - maybe we can "talk it over"!

Marilyn's Money said...

Ok I have to ask, "What is an on line daycare group?"

Reddirt Woman said...

I'm afraid my mother's teachings would fall to the wayside and my father's temper would take over and, being the impolite person that I can be, I'd probably say, Okay... you want nasty, you can't handle the kind of nasty I can dish out! I want my money and I want an apology from the person who raged because she got caught with taking the loot and not doing what she was supposed to do, busy or not!

There are times that people have problems but she should have had someone else get the money and do the ad if she had problems or suddenly got 'too busy'.

I think you have to follow your heart. You know what is right for you and you still have your contacts if you choose to leave, but it sounds like you've got a bunch wanting you to stay. If this money mess can be straightened out and madam butthead can calm down and act like a civil human I'd probably stay for the contacts. But it sounds like the owner has suck-up problems so I'd be cautious if I stayed.

Didn't mean to be so wordy. I get irritated when people mess with my 'peeps', especially since you are right on this one.


Neabear said...

I don't know what to suggest. Maybe to just cool your heels for awhile and maybe rejoin later. I hope you are able to resolve your feelings about this eventually.

Andrea said...

I agree with have to follow your heart. :)

Paula said...

Some times things happen for a reason and now you have learned a lesson, got a bit hurt and probably a bit jaded as well but I would say that moving on would probably be wise. Hopefully you can stay in touch with the friends you made and maybe you all could start a thread some where else. I could say the old when you get lemons...but I say you got sucky, sour lemonade and its time to take stock, rinse the taste from you mouth and look for sweeter tastes somewhere else.

rubiesrnotpurple said...

Hey my word thingo is fiesabit which sort of sounds like your week hun! I'm only posting cause of that ... I've sent you an email.

censored, censored, censored, way too bitchy, censored censored, censored.

I think you're gorgeous anyway.

farmlady said...

I'm with REDDIRT WOMAN on all of this. The reason that the women with the money is so irate is because she knows that she did something wrong and she is not being honest about it.

Don't play into her dishonesty. It's affecting your life and, probably, everyone,s around you. Do what you think is right and let it be. Life to short for you to deal with this for one more day. If the rest of these women in this group like you, they will still be there.
I don't know what an online daycare group is either NEAS but it's sounds like this women needed a background check.

Robynn's Ravings said...

Okay Katie,

For what it's worth.....

I know this will be hard for you to IMAGINE (uh-huh) but I frequently find myself leading the charge on things. In the work world we'd have grousing sessions when things would be horried and EVERYone would agree that SOMEthing needed to be said. I would be volunteered when the rest of the line I was standing in backed up.

HOWEVER, when we went into a meeting and I stuck my neck out, most of the rest of the gang just watched as the guillotine came down and MY head rolled. (I only had one dear friend who always had my back.) When I'd look around for back-up no one else made eye contact. The worst one was a gal named Darlene. She would lead the behind-the-scenes charge and promise to be right by my side during negotiations. She flaked and kissed up so many times, her actions became a noun. We learned to say, "Be careful! You're gonna get Darlened." Grizzly and I still use it. Reminds me very much of the leader in your online group.

I have learned to be a little more selective in my battles and not let myself be used as a pawn. But if it's MY decision and I've really thought it through (and prayed), I will do everything I can to resolve. If it can't be done, I shake the dust from my sandals and move on.

Sounds like you have a pretty good group overall. I say farm it for the best people, chuck the culls, and reform a cohesive, mature group. It's always the 20% that do the 80% anyway. It will be that 20% you take with you.

You were honest and upfront, while trying to be polite; a hard combo. You'll make the best decision for you because only you know what that is, ultimately. The above is just my two cents worth. Well, three cents. I AM sending it to Australia after all.

I HATE ANGST. But I love YOU! xOoX

Robynn's Ravings said...

P.S. "Horried?" is actually "Horrid." Thought that might need clarification. LOL

Narelle Nettelbeck said...

Hi my friend
I'm at the library just so I can check my email and I'm so glad I checked in on you. I'm so sorry about all the fuss and I'm planning to give you a call when we get home.
Hugs to you

Homestay Mama said...

Tatersmama, You've been given some pretty good advice, so I'll just add my 'amen' to it and keep you in my prayers.


Staci said...

seems to me immaturity is running rampid, not to mention people who dont know how to take responsibility for their actions. "im so sorry i have been so busy" or even a "you all said some hurtful things, but i just wanted you to know i am so sorry"

I would not want to be a part of something like that either but in the end its up to you.

love ya girl!!

Neas Nuttiness said...

I left you something at my place today...and no it isn't Crisco!

Tatersmama said...

I guess I didn't explain myself very well.
See,I'm a family day-carer, which means that the little rug-rats come into my home to be cared for. The online group is/was a way to socialize with other carers through out AU and the rest of the share tips and information, discuss childcare issues etc. When you're tied up at home for the complete day (or in my case, offer 24 hour and long-term care) sometimes it makes it hard to get out and have a life, so the group was great for socialization and sharing ideas.
Sometimes I wish I COULD just have the little rug-rats online - my house would stay a lot cleaner!!!
Queenie, I just read your post... and honey, I GET it. I Really DO! I'm following my heart, regardless... ;-)
Bless you!
Sherri, The money isn't really the issue - it's more a matter of principle. It wasn't just ME that this was done to.. and from what I can gather, there were dozens and dozens of people affected - so I spoke up regardless of the consequences.
I do have a small yahoo group that's been pretty inactive lately, so maybe it''s time to resurrect it!
Libby, I'll be over for a visit sometime today...okay? Put the kettle on. I'm bring cookies! ;-)
Marilyn, See above! I was so busy getting it off my chest, that I didn't explain myself very well...sorry! *smacks my head*
;-) You can call me an idiot... after all, that's what I call myself sometimes!
Helen, You're so RIGHT! And I just loved everything you had to say! Things seem to be getting sorted out, so we'll see what happens, but it's certainly left a bad taste in my mouth.
Andrea, I would, if I only knew what it was saying! LOL!
Neabear, That's just what I'm doing. Easter Holidays are on here, so with 7 kids of various ages driving me batty for 10 hours a day, I don't have time to think ( or scratch myself, for that matter) so we'll see what happens at the end of the week.
Paula, I'm thinking that I might stay on, but not participate other than to use the resources... but I haven't had the time to think it out completely. Thank you for your wise words... I knew I could depend on you....;-)
Rubbies, thank you for your kindness.and your friendship. And for saying I suck ( I think?)
signed Johnny Farnham
Farmlady, I think you're 100% right... the question is, Can I remain and still stay civil? Or do I let it fester and then eventually blow up? I just dunno.... *sigh* I think there's an Incredible Hulk in me somewhere... and I'm afraid he's going to pop out at the wrong time!
Robynn... Are you SURE you're not my long-lost sister? Everything you say always strikes a chord with me! I love ya woman!
Narelle, Last night was GREAT, so thank you! Just hearing your voice did me a world of good... :-) I need to check the member file...*wink*
Sue, Isn't it wonderful how we can trust others to have a clearer eye and better insight?
I don't know what I would do without you! Now, maybe I can kick the dust off my heels, and get back to my blogger friends!

The Blonde Duck said...

Get your money and run. Life is too short for abuse like that.

SassyDog said...

What did she do with the money? Did I miss that part? Think it over and let your conscience guide you. You will do what is right. You are a good person!

Frugal Maven said...

Tater, so sorry this happened to you. Sounds like a toxic person bringing out the worst in everyone. In my business, I get all sorts that are like that woman. It's not you that caused her situation (whatever craziness it is), you just get to bear the brunt. Give it a few days and it'll all settle down. Always does. In the end we are a fairly civilized society. Good luck and I'll be thinking about you!

Treehouse Chef said...

I think you did the right thing!

Kurichan said...

No wise words from me, or really any advice...just a word to say you did nothing wrong, sorry you are having to deal with this, and we all love ya...


Gramma 2 Many said...

Stick to your guns, AND get your money back.
Simple. If you are still on friendly terms with others in the group, you can continue to be so. You could also begin your own thread. Probably many would follow you.

Irene said...

Hi Katie
Start your own group ask the other ladies to join you in the new group.


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