I suppose it's the "good girl"/neurotically responsible person in me that feels obligated to make sure my kids go to everything they've agreed to, and for me to attend meetings faithfully. We have made commitments and we intend to fulfill them. Doesn't everybody?
Wednesday night, however, I chose not to attend a meeting at church because Libby (9) was sick, and Annie (6) is still looking hollow-eyed from her extended virus last week. I suppose I could have gone and left them with Allie (14), but I said "NO."
Last night, I intended to go to a meeting for future high school (!) parents.
It would have meant another night scrambling to feed everyone quickly before I left, getting kids started on homework without me, leaving a sick child, and missing my husband's arrival after having been gone four days. Then facing the mess at 10:00.
I decided to say, "NO."
I sent just one quick email to say I had a conflict and wouldn't be able to attend . A teacher replied that all the information would soon be posted on the school website. So why didn't they just go ahead and say that up front? We'll never know. I'm a visual learner - I'll get much more out of it just by reading, anyway.
So back to the issue of conflicts. Why is it that, "My family needs to eat dinner together tonight," does not sound quite as compelling as, say, "I have to work late," or "My child is ill" (although I definitely could have pulled that card with Libby (9) running 103 last night again). Why is it that, even when I am dealing with people who specialize in CHILDREN, I hesitate to pull the "child" card? Or worse, the "family" card? Maybe it's because I stay home that I feel I have no "excuse" good enough.
After tucking my kids in bed last night, however - dishes done, the house picked up, and everything quiet - I felt so empowered. I knew that I'd made the right choice, not once, but twice. In one week! My family may not even realize I did anything, but that's okay. I don't need an "excuse" to protect my family time.
I do need to take a closer look at my running around and make critical choices about where to put my time. I try hard to anticipate
Anyway, as I found out this week, there ARE ways of giving/getting information that do not require a piece of me or of my time, but I don't pursue finding them often enough. Instead, I start to feel victimized by the schedule others try to impose on me. Others whose values may be different, or who may not understand what constitutes a "conflict" for me (or who may not understand how "just one [more] little meeting" could put this mom over the edge!).
But I'm learning to say, "NO" more often. Period.
It feels good.