No, I can’t stop my own work to help with yours. No, I can’t babysit your kids while I’m home with my own (and working) while you get your haircut. No, I don’t want to meet you for happy hour, mainly because I not only need but want to put my kids to bed. No, I cannot email that friend of a friend to find out where she bought the dress you saw while creeping on Facebook. No, no, no, no, no.
I’m not selfish, I do not have an obsession with my kids (well, not an unhealthy one anyway). I am a social, happy, giving person. Very often the answer to all of those questions above is a genuine yes. But the madness needs to stop somewhere.
Nope, I can’t do it. I hear others say no, to me or to other people, and I don’t think less of them, but I can’t get myself to say it. Not aloud anyway; I certainly scream it in my head as I smile and say “Sure.”
Why? Is it a girl thing? Are we just so programmed to do what is asked of us? Is it a mom thing? So quick to supply a need or satisfy a request? I’m not a pushover, why is this so complicated? I have a 2-year-old—I hear the word no a hundred times a day! But the most resistance I can muster up (to an adult) is pausing to say “Um” before giving in and saying sure!
But wait. Am I doing anyone any real favors by agreeing to something with fake perkiness, feigned pleasure, or a pouting face? Wouldn’t it be much more appreciated by all if we were genuine so that we can enjoy the times that we are helping or spending time with each other?
I’m practicing and getting better. I can’t sabotage my own work or schedule or principles to help someone else—and that’s not selfish, it’s realistic. We all have so.much.to.do. Some of it is mandatory and some of it is not. Of course, there are mandatory things that we actually want to do, and non-mandatory things that we’d like to get out of. The key is to find the balance and stick with it. I’m pretty sure that as friends, wives, moms, you give enough of yourselves to satisfy your friends. So give yourself a break, and give them a free pass too.
“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.” ~ Mother Teresa