Last night, I was sitting at Boy Scouts, chatting to a mom I had just met. She said, “I really just want to be here, and participate. I always volunteer. I don’t want to volunteer. Can’t I just participate??”
In that moment, I felt like she could have been my soul-sister. I feel that. The burnout. The tiredness. The feeling that I always have to give, give, give. I have to participate, and if they ask for help, I have to be there.
I have to say “yes.”
But do I really? Do you?
So many of the moms I know are people pleasers. I am too. I really want to help. I want to give my kids every opportunity. I want them to be able to go on every field trip. I want them to play all the sports they love. I want them to have fun, and grow up with fabulous memories of times with their friends and family.
I really want to be a good blogger. I want to deliver every printable that you guys request. I want to give all the advice I never got. I want to hold your hand and listen to you as you work through the decisions to remove your child from public school, or while you choose curriculum. I want to answer all the emails, and listen to you on social media.
I want to kick butt at my day job too. If I am going to be leaving my home, spending 18 hours a week away from my children, and even more time with my nose to a computer screen at home, I want to be the very best at it. I want to run with all the great ideas, and I want to one-up my own goals month after month.
I want to do so much. In my quest to please everyone, I’ve forgotten myself. I haven’t yet dropped any balls. I haven’t yet fallen apart. But there is very little of me left to give. What happens when the next person says “Heather, can you?”
The best advice I ever got was to say “no” to the good stuff, so you leave room to say “yes” to the great stuff.
I struggle to accept that advice, but it’s sound.
The simple truth is there is a cost. Every “yes” comes with a cost. Every yes takes away a little bit of your time, a little bit of your energy, and a little bit of your heart and soul. Eventually, you’re going to run out of time, energy, and heart. You’re going to run out of time to care for yourself (if you ever gave yourself a moment of your time to start with). You’re going to start dropping balls. You’re going to burn out. And when the time comes, you are going to miss out on wonderful opportunities because you spent all of you on other things.
I really want to be able to say “yes” to the great stuff. That means I need to not be afraid to say “no” even if it is a good thing. Even if the kids really want to. Even if they need me, or I could do it well. Wishing I could isn’t enough. I have to have time, energy and heart to give. I have to leave something for myself. I have to separate the good from the great.
So… take my advice. I am going to try hard to listen to the wise women around me as well. It’s time we start counting the cost before saying “yes.”