I have a serious problem that some of you may be able to relate to... I can't say "no". It really drives my poor husband up the wall. I'm that super volunteer that drives herself mad. I over schedule myself. I complain when I've had no time left for myself. I smile a lot. The truth is I love doing things for others. I love seeing new things and meeting new people. It makes me happy to give to others and accept nothing in return. That's why I can't say "no", I like saying "yes".
The past two weeks have been over scheduled due to my "yes" addiction. I have grades due so my work life has been in overdrive. I volunteer to be the leader of my daughter's girl scout troop. I took a group of high school students to Ronald McDonald House. I volunteered to work the school's fall festival. I volunteered to attend my daughter's field trip.
On top of all that, my husband and I are coordinating two days worth of diagnostic testing for Katie's preschool for this week and had to fill out 5 forms of questionnaires, find her birth certificate and print a current picture off, get her new glasses ordered and then picked up and call the four doctors who left me voicemails... that's when I had a melt down. I'm not writing this to make you feel sorry for me. I don't feel sorry for myself. I put all this on myself. I'm treating this like a AA meeting for Yes-aholics :)
My meltdown happened last Sunday. I was trying to print Kate's picture off and the printer wouldn't work. Isn't it funny how the simplest, silliest things that go wrong set you off? You'd think I was attack by a Grizzly, not an HP, but hey, I lost my cool.
The following day I had Ronald McDonald House night. I was excited for this. It's my favorite volunteer activity. We go to the house, usually with about 8 students, and cook for about 40 families. We had a big family style cuisine planned- spaghetti two ways, pasta con broccoli, baked ziti, garlic bread and a Rich and Charlies salad. I had about 8 bags of food ready in my classroom and about 15 minutes left to go before we left when a student came in to deliver the news that no one could go. My jaw dropped and I panicked. Now, I don't want to dwell on the student thing... I still to this day don't know what happened but for the sake of argument it was outside my control. We've been volunteering at RMDH for several years now and this has never happened so I'm not blaming the kids... but I still was in a state of stress. How can I cancel this late and have 40 families who spent their entire day at the hospital watching their sick children hooked to machines?
I packed up all the food in my car. It was raining and gloomy. My first thought was that I'd drop off the food so they'd at least have something to cook. My second thought was that was ridiculous. I don't even want to cook after having a day of fun... right about then the rain stopped and the sun peeked through. Call me loony but a giant rainbow shined down from the heavens. Yes, I'm for real. :) It was like God telling me that I have to do what I can. My mood lifted and I thought "YES, I will cook the entire meal myself". I can't do anything about someone else's choices. I can only control my own and I chose to do the best I can with the time and resources that I've got. And you know what? I was like a trained chef. I had two ovens going, meat cooking, mushrooms sautéing, pasta boiling and dishes washed all at once. I'm telling you...sign me up for the Food Network because I rocked that kitchen (ok, I'm just kidding about that because if they actually called me you know I'd say yes!). In an hour and a half I had a feast set out for the families. I was so proud of myself. Folks, I made lemons out of lemonade and it tasted delish :)
So after my week of torturing myself...I'm trying to say no more often. I started at the girl scout neighborhood meeting. They needed a Rockwood employee who could drive the biodeisel truck to haul all the camping goods around the state (not only do I fit that description, I'm in the same department as the biodeisel group). I hung my head low and said no in my head... it was a start. Saying nothing is like saying no, right? They also asked for a person to run a club at the high school to promote student awareness for others with disabilities. I'd love to do that!... but I didn't reply. I mentally had to restrain my hands from typing a yes email and I still think about how fun that would be... but I didn't say yes. That's no, right? Ok, so I'm working on it... it's a start.
The rest of my week is filled with more things I volunteered to do and I don't mind one bit. I figure that life is short... why not... within reason. right? I hope your week is as fun and frantic as my own...Now, I'm off to plan my next activity. Have a happy fall week my friends and I'll see you at the next meeting!