I am the typical Mom.
I go to PTA meetings. I volunteer to run bake sales. No one has signed up to work concessions for the competition? Sure, I’ll do it.
“Katherine, we really need a secretary for the booster club next year and no one has volunteered. It’s not much of a time commitment.”
“Katherine you did such a great job at being team manager for the soccer team last year. Will you do it again this year.”
“Yes.” “Sure thing.” “Absolutely.” “Of course!” “Love to!” “No problem.”
Those are my typical responses. I will even give a thumbs up to help feign enthusiasm. 👍
“It’ll only take about an hour of work every month. I have an hour I can give,” I justify.
Then it never fails. I hit April. One month until school is out. And I find myself weeping in my wine.
WHOSE FAULT IS IT?
We complain, “I don’t have free time,” as we eat our sixth meal of the week out of a fast food bag.
Usually I’m yelling to the back seat, “Abby get your cleats on NOW,” as I shove a fist full of fries in my mouth.
Sometimes I get angry. At who? Everyone.
“Why don’t more parents volunteer?”
“Why can’t Susan just get a calendar instead of texting me every week to find out the game time?”
“Why do we even need a Vice-President if he never shows up for the meetings?”
I get angry that I have to do everything. Be everywhere. Coordinate. Volunteer. Organize.
“If other people would just get their sh*t together THEN my life would calm down.”
But it’s not their fault.
- Not Susan who, six weeks into the season, still can’t remember practices are every Monday.
- Not the Vice-President who never shows up.
- Not the people who rely on me.
- Not the Wendy’s worker who sees me three times a week at 5:30 and never remembers to leave the pickles off of my kids’ burgers.
It’s my fault.
SAYING YES TO SOMETHING
Saying yes is SO much easier than saying no.
“Yes, of course I’ll watch your kiddos.👍”
“Yes, absolutely I can whip up 6 dozen cookies in 2 hours. 👍”
“No problem. I can create a flier for the car wash tomorrow.👍”
But every. single. time. you say yes to something you are silently saying no to something else.
“No, I can’t spend one-on-one time with you. I told Jana I’d watch her kids.”
“No, I can’t help you with your homework. I have to get these cookies baked.”
“No, I can’t give you my focus and energy on our date night because I have a bunch of fliers that I’m thinking about that need to get finished.”
When we say yes to something we don’t want to do, we are cowardly, stealthily, inwardly saying “No” to the things we really want to do.
LET ME CHECK MY SCHEDULE
One of the BEST habits I’ve adopted is the “let me check my schedule” approach.
- Question: “Katherine can you help run the car wash this fall?”
- Response: “Let me check my schedule and I’ll get back with you.”
It’s not a “No, are you CRAZY?” and then maniacally laughing and shaking your head as you walk away.
But it’s also not a, “Yes! Absolutely! 👍”
Then you can go home and decide if you’d rather be carrying buckets and hoses all day Saturday with 200 band students or if you’d rather binge watch the entire season of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
LESS BUT BETTER
In Greg McKeown’s book, “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” he writes about doing “less but better.” Putting less on our plates. But the things we DO say yes to, we are able to give more quality attention to them.
Peter Drucker said, “People are effective because they say ‘no,’ because they say, “this isn’t for me.”
You have to know what is for you. What you want your life to look like.
What you are willing to say NO to in order to say YES to something else. Warren Buffett credits 90% of his wealth to just ten investments. TEN.
There isn’t an award for driving yourself insane, forgetting about self care, or drinking the most amount of wine on a school night (I checked).
TIME TO PONDER
- What are you saying yes to right now, that is keeping you from doing what you really want to do?
- How can you life be changed if you start saying ‘no’ more often?
- What is the biggest time-suck in your life and how can you manage it more effectively?
I’d love to hear your BEST advice for saying “No” or for evaluating how you spend your time. Share in the comments below. 👇👇👇