I guess you could call me a "yes" girl. I want to say yes to everyone about everything. Yes, I can attend the thing you want me to go to, yes I can have lunch next week, yes we can get ice cream after school, yes I can serve on this or that board or committee, yes I will get you the school supplies or clothing you need tonight, right now, etc., etc., etc.
Because of this tendency I have, my life has become far too busy. Each week I find myself out of the house (always for a "good" reason) 3 or more nights a week. When Jay is traveling, as he often does, that leaves the older kids or grandma in charge, and that is not fair to any of us. My kids need me home more, and I want to spend my time with them rather than driving all over or out of the valley to do something that likely won't matter a few months from now.
I kid you not, THREE times in the last several weeks from THREE different people I trust very much to lead me down the right path have independently told me to learn to say "NO!". And to not feel guilty about it.
This is easier said than done because all the things I do feel important to me. Most of them I do for my children or for their schools, but at least two are for me: weekly choir practice and once a month faith formation.
Nonetheless, I see my children growing up so rapidly and, thinking about the time I miss with them while I am fulfilling parent hours or inefficiently reacting to an individual's needs, makes me want to cry. God has given me a true second chance at life and I want to spend every minute I can with my family.
This Lent I am trying to not make any new commitments, trying to scale down to reasonable the ones I already have and am arranging them to take place as much as possible when the kids are in school. I am also working on bringing as many of my children with me as want to come when I go to the grocery store or bank or anywhere else I would prefer to just go myself. I am trying to say yes to the requests of the children to read with them or play a board game with them, and am forcing myself to stop what I am doing to look at them when they are telling me something. I know these things sound like basic courtesy, but some days they are a real struggle for me.
Please know that my intention in declining an invitation to a social event or meeting, to be a team mom, a leader of any kind or even a participant in a new group or club or sport is a good one. It's not that I don't want to join you...I just want to be at home with my kids before they grow up and don't want to snuggle or play board games with me anymore. I'll have plenty of time, God willing, to do all those extracurricular things when my children are grown and gone.