Just. Say. No.

By 10am this morning I already had an inventory of things I’d realized that I’d f-cked up on since last night:

  • I did NOT email our insurance guy information on the new car like I promised I would last night.
  • I did NOT search high and low for our new insurance cards (we realized over the weekend that the cards we were carrying expired at the beginning of December).
  • I did NOT fold clothes last night and start new loads of laundry.
  • I did NOT double check the girls’ teachers’ blogs to be sure that they do not in fact have spelling words this week.
  • I did NOT transfer info from my 2011 planner to my 2012 planner as I had planned to.
  • I did NOT work on the reading program I’m supposed to be leading for the PTO.
  • I did NOT look at the art my oldest little girl brought home last night just for me to look at. 

God I feel like sh-t.  I am the worst parent EVER.  I am the worst PTO member EVER.  Not to mention, friends, I physically feel like an 87 year-old today.  Which I’m quite sure is punishment for my ineptness at just about everything.  My hip hurts, my toe hurts, my hands (?!) hurt, and I’m getting stabbing pains when I stand up.  What.  The.  F-ck.

I’ve alluded to the fact that I sometimes take-on too many things.  That mixed with the stupid amount of distractions that swirl around my head constantly has made me less effective, less bright, and less apt to actually succeed at ANYTHING. 

It may be time to cut the fat.

My first “real” non-retail job was as an admin assistant at a nonprofit.  This particular nonprofit, while it existed in all cities in the U.S., ran autonomously and had a very small staff and extensive volunteer needs.  Never able to fill all of the roles, staff often times stepped-up and offered to handle some of the volunteer tasks, and I was one of the most enthusiastic volunteers.

After several years of working 40 hours PLUS working a couple evenings a week PLUS working some weekends AND making next to no money…I’d had it.  I wanted NOTHING to do with ANY volunteering.  I adopted a strict “Just Say No” policy for volunteering additional time to my jobs.  Luckily, my next job didn’t really require it, so I was able to keep to my policy.

Somehow, as the years passed, I forgot to say no to taking extra things on.  Part of it is a control issue on my part, I tend to take things on in an effort to have control over projects that I feel qualified to do well (better), and that’s something I’ve always had to work on.  The other part is a genuine desire to help.  I want to help, I want people to think of me as helpful, I want people to say “she is SO helpful, thank GOODNESS she’s on our team, what a job WELL DONE!!!”  There is a slight problem with this logic…when I take-on too much I freeze…and I don’t do anything.  Forget doing things half-a-sed…I sometimes don’t do them at all.  I let them slide right out of my consciousness and they only reappear when a) I’m driving, b) in the middle of the night, c) or in the middle of 26 concurrent things at work.  Meaning…I can’t do a darn thing about it when I think of it.

It occurs to me that (obviously) I’m totally at fault for taking on too much.  Ugh…I really really REALLY hate to admit that I can’t just DO IT ALL and look really really good while doing it.  But I can’t.  And I come off as irresponsible and inept.  Sh-t.  Where did I go wrong.

I’m really good at SOME things, though, and that’s the point.  Right?  I am GOOD at being a wife, and a Mom, and a friend, and an employee, and a colleague, and a daughter, and a sister, and a cousin, and a charitable citizen of my community, and all of THOSE things are incredibly important to me.  There are things I’ve signed up for that aren’t even that important to me (they felt important when I signed-up but it turns out…not so much) but that ARE eating into the time and energy I can put into the things above. 

Is it worth doing the “extra” stuff if it interferes with the really good stuff?

Well if you put it that way dear reader, than no, in fact it is not.  But won’t some of these groups I’ve joined whither and fail without me?!!  Umm…considering my recent lack of participation/dedication/and work, I’m guessing no. 

I’m dying a little inside admitting that I can’t do some things anymore and knowing I need to give them up.  BUT…I have to remember that this is for the betterment of my life and so I can focus on the things that I love and care about.  Like the little  girls.  And my lovely husband.  

It’s worth it.

TODAY: What if I let go of some of the extra things to which I’ve committed my time and energy and focus on the things I feel are more important right now?  What if I let those groups find someone else that CAN give them the time and effort they need and deserve?  And what if I try really hard not to feel so so guilty about it?

2 thoughts on “Just. Say. No.

  1. This is a constant battle in my life, just ask Bjorn as I bet he wishes he could program my brain in that every time I want to say “yes” that the word “no” comes out instead. It’s also because I genuinely want to be helpful and also to be viewed as helpful along with having a slight control issue. Working on that but it’s easier said than done. In the end I have given up two groups that I thought needed me and that I genuinely wanted to help. When I “resigned” from those groups that I had originally stepped up to I said it was because I needed to get a balance back in my life that supported my family. When I wrote those words I realized that any time that I decline time away from my family that it does not make me feel guilty as my time with them could be taken away in a moment without any notice at all. If you ever need a pep talk on saying no, call Bjorn and conference me in as I always need help in this area of life. Thanks for making me feel like I am not alone 🙂

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