Tuesday, January 3, 2012
But I am not so proud of a habit I’ve seen in myself that has grown increasingly worse as our kids have gotten older. Why is it that I have such a hard time saying no to the demands for my time – not from my immediate family, but from others? Why is it I sign up to help even when I know I already have too much to do? I think there’s some deep dark curse on all mothers that says that if we don’t say yes, something terrible will happen – our kids will miss out on something, not be accepted by others, or even worse, that as mothers, we might not be accepted.
When my dad died last year and I took on the added role of caring after my mom a bit more than usual, I made a pact that 2011 would be the year of “NO.” I adhered to the adage that “life is short” and I should say yes only to the things that would really our impact our lives. To be honest, I didn’t say “no” to everything, but I did so “no” to the things that I felt weren’t adding value in our lives. Did we need goodie bags for the Halloween party at school? Did we need to sign up for Cub Scouts on Fridays when we already had an activity three other days of the week and my kids were exhausted? Did I need to be on the PTA board again?
The more I thought about the time these things were taking, the more I realized that my efforts to do “good” were actually taking time from what mattered most to me – my family. I began to loathe the thoughts of running around like a chicken with my head cut off and then telling my son that I didn’t have time to stop and play a board game with him.
It’s been a slow transformation, but these days I find I can say yes to things that really matter to me like cooking a family meal and enjoying it together, reading a book in bed with my son at night, or volunteering as a family at the homeless shelter. And one thing I know for sure - those memories are souvenirs you can’t buy anywhere!
What works for you to balance the demands on your time with quality family time?
Chris Bolding is married to Brent Bolding, CRM manager at Texas Health Resources, and a Mom of three.