On Monday, a letter came in the mail for my 6.5 year old. The return address was his den leader’s home, so I handed him the envelope, wondering what was inside. He tore it open, and a birthday invitation with a photo of a smiling little blond boy and a graphic of a rocket ship fluttered to the floor.
“Oh!” I said. “It looks like a birthday invitation.”
I read the little boy’s name, and asked my son who he was. “Um,” my son shrugged.
“Is he in your Boy Scout troop?” He peered at the photo more closely.
“I think so!”
I looked at the date, which was for this Friday. It was at a local indoor play space that I knew my son would enjoy, so I started doing the mental gymnastics regarding this date and time.
Well, I thought. Friday IS my mother in law’s art show, as well as my personal shopper appointment, BUT, maybe the boys could go to the art show early, and then the birthday party, and then I’ll drive separately, and leave them to go shopping. OR, maybe we can switch the art show visit to Saturday morning, before my husband’s choir concert.
And next thing I knew I was checking to see if the art show opened early enough the next day to move it to Saturday, and then we could attend the birthday party. And then I stopped suddenly. What in the world was I doing? Why was I rearranging our already too busy weekend to try and fit in a birthday party for a kid my son doesn’t even really know?
My default answer is almost always “yes.” This is why last night, we went to an event at the school, cub scouts, and the PTA meeting. This is how I ended up coordinating the school’s book fair the same week of my husband’s choir concerts. Not to mention the fact that I work full-time.
It has to stop. We were overly busy in October, and November has turned out to be slightly worse! After this very, very busy weekend ahead, my calendar is quite empty. I pledge to say “no” in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas as much as possible. I want to have nothing planned, so that we can be spontaneous and go out if we want, or cocoon at home if that’s what we prefer.
I recently heard something that really resonated with me. By saying “yes” to all these things that don’t matter, that means I’m saying “no” to the things that do, namely, time with my family. I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but it’s totally true.
No is not a bad word, and I need to stop feeling guilty for saying it.