I’ve silently been observing the world around me buzzing with pride in the “busy”. Our schedules are maxed and our time (and our children’s time) has become less and less our own. In fact, it’s to the point of near extinction. Honestly? I can’t take it anymore. When did over- scheduling ourselves and our littles become the pinnacle of societal success?
If I had a nickel for every conversation I was a part of or overheard that entailed listing a nauseating number of activities....let’s just say I would have a lot of nickels. When I ask a good friend out for lunch, it shouldn’t take the skill level of a hostage negotiator to free up some time or require upend both of our schedules to make things like this possible.
I’ve long struggled with fear of disappointing others so drawing my line in the sand and taking a hard stand against a lot of the “extras” was a hard thing for me to do. But once I started doing it, I noticed an amazing shift in my family.
I always kind of thought, with my son, that we needed to be busy. If we are busy we are being productive and that defines a good day, for me. But what about for him? I wasn’t so sure. Of course, he enjoyed most of our activities and looked forward to them but I began to realize he heavily relied on us to constantly entertain him. Saying, “Yes” to so many events, activities, outings, projects, etc. made it so that he literally didn’t know what to do with idle time. Time to create. Time to be bored.
So we started saying, “No.”
So, if I made little Billy sad or made you think perhaps I don’t care for you because I RSVP’d “No” to his birthday party, please know: it’s not you, it’s me.
If I declined lunch or cocktails out with you and it wrinkled your mom-friend heart: it’s not you, it’s me.
If I said “Sorry, won’t make it” to that Valentine making party with neighborhood kids and stickers everywhere: it’s not you, it’s me.
If I bummed you out when we said “No thanks” to that cute little team you really wanted us to join: it’s *really* not you, it’s me.
See, I don’t see my family enough. Weekends are sacred. We block out these two days that go by in the wink of an eye to pour into each other and try to block out the world. We go to the park. We play games. We dance in the kitchen. We rarely have a coordinated outfit or matching socks on. Sometimes, we don’t even get out of our jammies. We make pizza. We have family movie nights. We do whatever we feel our unit needs to.
This means, I decline things like small talking about the weather at a party where I know absolutely no one and my daughter clings to me like white on rice because she is in an over stimulating environment she wants nothing to do with. So, don’t take it personally; we literally say no to all the parties (excluding our very best friends and family).
Over-scheduling my family just doesn’t leave me the space to smile at them while they drip finger paint all over my wood floors. Or to notice how my husband’s eyes twinkle when he watches my son do anything his youngest sister demands. And it *definitely* doesn’t allow room for us to refill our cups so we can face taking on another week out in the world before we get to huddle back together again.
So I’ve started saying, “No”. And I’ve done it unapologetically. Because my family depends on me to create the space and boundaries we all so desperately need.
So it’s not you, it’s me.
But I’m not sorry.
And the answer is still, “No”.