“I am a people-pleaser. I get a weird high being asked for help. Need a hand with your kids? Send one over! Can’t work Tuesday? I’ll help cover you! Car trouble? I’m not a mechanic, but I’m sure there’s a YouTube video on fixing your carburengine I can watch!
Unfortunately, over the years, I think my desire to be helpful has morphed into a sick and twisted plot to be fully depended upon, which likely stems from some weird fantasy my kids will want to live with me forever (which gets less and less adorable the older they get). Whatever the reason, I blame Shonda Rhimes and her overenthusiastic ‘Year of Yes.’ I am a mom of three boys and a kindergarten teacher and that, homies, is busy enough.
For years, one small yes at a time has accumulated into a tidal wave of added responsibilities, and I’m guessing I’m not alone here.
Allow me to paint a ridiculous picture for you:
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were driving to a child’s birthday party with the kids. I was giving Mark a heads-up about our upcoming Tuesday. He would have to drive our oldest son to a doctor’s appointment because I was staying later than usual at school to teach a STEM class. I would grab our other boys and get home in time to make dinner before I headed to a board meeting. ‘So, can we please swap running schedules so I can get a quick run in?,’ I asked. Because we recently signed up for — you guessed it — a marathon.
As I said this, I got a text asking if I would make it to a meeting for Vacation Bible School station leaders tonight. Um … what? This wasn’t in my phone alerts, on a Post-it, or scribbled on a calendar. I had completely dropped the ball, and I handled it like any other mature 40-year-old.
It was that weird, frustrated ugly-cry one produces when they are exhausted, overwhelmed, and grossly overscheduled.
I was making time for everyone else, and there wasn’t a whole lot left for me or anyone else in that car. It was time to slow down.
I started texting people. The first one went something like this: ‘I have completely overcommitted. I don’t think I can take on a leadership position at VBS this year.’ Guess what happened. They found someone else to take it, and I am happily going to assist.
I looked at my other commitments and talked to people about cutting back. Amazingly, no one was upset. Life went on. Other people were stepping in and *GASP* they are just as good as I was — if not better.
I have a short list of things I will always answer yes to these days:
- Do you feel like ordering tacos? #always
- Would you like to make a hair appointment? This is my one indulgence. A few quiet hours with a hilarious stylist, a glass of wine, and endlessly scrolling through trash on my phone? #alltheyes
- Mom, can you play with me? I will never turn down a few minutes on the trampoline (but anything more than a few minutes is going to require Depends). #wheremytrampolinemomsat?
- Does ‘Shoop’ automatically play the moment I start my car? #thanksamazonmusic
To me, this was an epiphany. We’ve got an allotted number of minutes in our lifetime — in this place, with these people — and it’s OK to be a little selfish with them.”
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