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Old 06-07-2014, 07:02 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,884 posts, read 36,203,761 times
Reputation: 63544

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Some of you may have heard of this concept, but apparently it's a new one to a lot of people, based on how often I have to explain it, so I thought I'd share it here and get feedback. Some people are delighted when I share this concept with them, and others think it's awful. I worked for years with a woman and we always got along fine, but when I left and they had my little going away party, she told me that she had never forgotten when I told her this and though it really took her aback, she realized immediately what my personal boundaries are and has applied this to her own life and passed it along to her kids as well. This concept is one of the basic, core concepts that I've applied to my own life and wow, it works!

What does "I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey" mean? It means this - I am not going to allow you to shift a responsibility that is entirely yours on to me.

Let me give some examples:

Say that your co worker says, "Oh my gosh, DON'T LET ME FORGET that I have to call Mr. Smith after lunch." Now - seems innocent, right? But it's not. If you say, "Sure, I'll remind you," then if you forget to remind the co worker, and they forget to call Mr. Smith, then suddenly it's partially your fault - when it was their sole responsibility until you agreed to help them remember to make that important call.

My response is, "I'm sorry, but I don't accept the care and feeding of that monkey. Why don't you write a note and stick it on your computer screen or set an alarm on your phone?"

Another example - say that your grown daughter is trying to coordinate child pick ups and drop offs with a difficult (ornery) ex husband. She says, "He's always making me wait on him - he's ALWAYS 30 minutes late. I have to be at work at 8 am, so can I just have him pick up the kids at your house instead of mine? That way I can just drop them off and it won't matter if he's late or not - I'll be at work on time then and the kids will be in a more comfortable place in case he's late."

Now - wait a minute. Now HER inability to enforce boundaries has become YOUR problem. The issue isn't about her being late for work - that's a symptom of a deeper issue, which is her ex husband's lack of respect for her time (and I can promise you, he won't respect your time either). So now she goes off blithely to work and you sit and wait for her ex husband.

My response is, "I'm sorry, but I do not accept the care and feeding of that monkey. Now, I don't mind watching the kids till you can line up something else, but I'm not going to deal with your ex husband on this level since he obviously doesn't respect the time frame laid out by the court. Here's what I suggest - that you tell him you'll meet him at 7:30 sharp and then if he's not there by 7:35, he will miss the opportunity to pick up the kids. Then you bring the kids over here - but do not tell him where they are or that he can come by later and pick them up. Just tell him that since you have to be at work by 8, it's important that he be punctual, so you've made other arrangements this time and will every time in the future." Sorry, but there's no way I am going to take on the job of dealing with some jerk who leaves people waiting EVERY SINGLE TIME for a half hour to an hour or even longer.

Say your 12 year old says, "Mom, I need help with my science project," and you agree to help - and then you look around and you're googling the topic, making a list of things to pick up at the hardware store, etc and he's sitting on the sofa playing video games. BINGO - "I do not accept the care and feeding of this monkey!" There's nothing wrong with helping a kid with a project, but doggone it, he's going to sit right there beside me and look things up and make the list and go to the store with me and load the cart and do the project right alongside me!

My neighbor recently scheduled a vacation and called me and asked me if I'd pick up their mail the following week. "I do not accept the care and feeding of this monkey." Now, to clarify, I asked if they were expecting any packages from any source other than USPS and they weren't (I would certainly go over and pick up and hold any packages rather than leave them sitting on the front porch). It is SO EASY to go online and put in a mail hold request - and you can do it the night before you leave! You don't even have to go to the post office to do it. I do it all the time. So why should I make a point of walking over to their house every day and gathering up their mail and saving it for them when all they have to do is put in a mail hold request? Now, I want to keep peace with my neighbors, so I did say, "Did you put in a mail hold request?" They said they hadn't. So I told them how to do it and said, "Let me know if you have any problems with it - you're not leaving till next week, right? It's safer to have them hold the mail than to have it sit in your box overnight, and I often go visit my parents or my daughter on the spur of the moment and may stay overnight. I can't do that if I'm worried about your mail sitting in your box - so put in the mail hold - I do it all the time!" I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "And by the way, I do not accept the care and feeding of your monkey." But I was thinking it!

I don't mean that I'm never helpful - I AM a helpful person. But I help with the intention of teaching people to fish, rather than taking on the responsibility of giving them a fish every day, if that makes sense.

Your thoughts?
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:07 AM
 
13,170 posts, read 20,804,608 times
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I think anytime you have to (or want to) say no, it helps to do so with humor, so this would fit the bill in many circumstances.
I would not however, recommend using it should you be asked to provide childcare!
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,111 posts, read 54,597,263 times
Reputation: 66503
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I think anytime you have to (or want to) say no, it helps to do so with humor, so this would fit the bill in many circumstances.
I would not however, recommend using it should you be asked to provide childcare!
LOL, that was funny.

I like the expression (never heard it before) but I fear it will become overused, as all the good phrases do.

The concept is great, and it's a nice reminder not to let others manipulate you or set you up for blame for something that they should be taking care of themselves.
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:12 AM
 
25,953 posts, read 26,775,403 times
Reputation: 26716
Monkey: as in the monkey on your back.



Touch my monkey - YouTube
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,884 posts, read 36,203,761 times
Reputation: 63544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyqueen801 View Post
LOL, that was funny.

I like the expression (never heard it before) but I fear it will become overused, as all the good phrases do.

The concept is great, and it's a nice reminder not to let others manipulate you or set you up for blame for something that they should be taking care of themselves.
I went to a workshop on this phrase over twenty years ago and have been using it ever since - and yet it still surprises people. Most have never heard the phrase but I can't imagine why because it's SO GREAT! LOL
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Old 06-07-2014, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,884 posts, read 36,203,761 times
Reputation: 63544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I think anytime you have to (or want to) say no, it helps to do so with humor, so this would fit the bill in many circumstances.
I would not however, recommend using it should you be asked to provide childcare!
Hararharharhahrar, you have a point!
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:15 AM
 
Location: 500 miles from home
30,066 posts, read 16,619,946 times
Reputation: 22616
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattie View Post
I think anytime you have to (or want to) say no, it helps to do so with humor, so this would fit the bill in many circumstances.
I would not however, recommend using it should you be asked to provide childcare!
Oh - thank you for the laugh this morning! I'm getting ready to do yardwork (ugh) and I really needed it!
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:17 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,884 posts, read 36,203,761 times
Reputation: 63544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringo1 View Post
Oh - thank you for the laugh this morning! I'm getting ready to do yardwork (ugh) and I really needed it!
Har! You think YOU'VE got it bad - I'm moving today.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:25 AM
 
12,540 posts, read 12,531,731 times
Reputation: 28901
Quote:
Originally Posted by KathrynAragon View Post
Let me give some examples:

Say that your co worker says, "Oh my gosh, DON'T LET ME FORGET that I have to call Mr. Smith after lunch."
When people do that, I say, "Remind me to remind you."
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Old 06-07-2014, 10:19 AM
 
7,936 posts, read 5,045,305 times
Reputation: 13596
I disagree completely. It takes a village to care and feed for a monkey. And there is economy of scale; it takes less effort for 10 people to raise 10 monkeys, than for each to tend exclusively to his or her own.

If somebody asks me to remind them of some impending appointment, my response is to remind them of my self-diagnosed early onset Alzheimers. I then trot out the quote that success is not to the skillful, or victory to the warrior, but time and chance overtake them all. This builds deniability, so that if I fail in discharging the service requested of me, I can not be blamed; but if I succeed, I can claim credit, and call in a favor later.
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