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  • Taking Time to Catch Your Breath & Learning to Say "No"

    There are more demands on my time than I can handle these days.

    A couple of weeks ago, I was asked if I would commit to helping out at school for an additional two hours per week, on top of the two weekly hours plus monthly meetings that I’m there.

    Over the weekend, I was asked if I would join the committee for the PTA’s largest fund raiser.

    I just got back from my last Mega Sale transaction at Ralphs, and found myself thinking that I don’t want to go shopping for a few days now.

    My friend is having surgery tomorrow and I want to provide her and her family with food to last a few days.

    My house needs cleaning.

    I’m sure you have a similar list of demands on your time. Over the years, I’ve actually gotten pretty good at saying no. I’ve learned that if I resent doing something, I’ll just drag my feet so both I and the requester end up feeling frustrated and bad. And that’s not helping anyone.

    So I turned down the two requests from school, as I feel I am helping out plenty and I really don’t want more school-related obligations on my plate.

    But I also need to simply take a breather right now.

    I’m actually happy that the Mega Sale is over at Ralphs so I’m not haunted by all the deals I’m not getting. I’ve gone every day since Sunday and while I’m looking forward to seeing what the sales will be starting tomorrow, I need a break from shopping.

    I will cook one meal for my friend and her family, but mostly I’m going to take over a lot of the free soup I picked up during the Mega Sale, plus some goodies and household items so they won’t have to worry about those things while my friend recuperates. I’ll take these things to her and hang out for a little while, so that too will be rejuvenating as we have a little bit of girl time.

    And I find that what’s more rejuvenating of all is simply spending a day at home without going out unless it’s absolutely necessary and cleaning up and getting some work done and taking care of business. So I’m picking a day when I can say “no” to all requests to look forward to. An at-home mani/pedi sounds good too.

    How do you catch your breath?

    Comments

    1. I can't relate to having to say "no" to anything lately, but I do have to say that it is very kind of you to be thinking of what your friend actually needs realistically while she's recuperating. I was in the hospital from September through mid-October, and my family helped us out tremendously financially or otherwise we'd have simply had an impossible time making it. My mother-in-law came and stayed a little over a week with us, though, to help us get the house cleaned up and take some of the stress off of my husband so he could relax a bit (my primary care giver with this bone infection and all else). It was SO helpful. But my aunt, who isn't in a position to help anyone financially (she repeats often, although we've NEVER asked nor would we- she's elderly but um, well, isn't broke) helps in a way that nobody else thought about. She did like you are doing, and brought over canned soup and paper towels, cleaning items and handy wipes. The array of things she brought was a little strange, because she brought over a bottle of baby oil we still haven't found a use for, but the thought she put into it was heartwarming. Also there have been many days when I couldn't leave the house or be left alone that the soup came in very handy!

      It was weird, though, because we were shocked that those were the first paper towels in our home in several months. We'd been making do with using rags and towels, and hadn't missed the paper towels. It wasn't intentional, we simply ran out and never bought more. It was probably along the lines of forgetting to get them!

      Kudos to you for being such a good friend!

    2. We only have 1 car so it is very easy to say no! I can only do things in the evenings and even then my husband often has to go back work (he's a teacher!). But my kids are still little so I'm sure my time is coming.

    3. Chief Family Officer says:

      @Kristin – Thank you for sharing your perspective. I really appreciate it! (And I'm sorry you've had your own medical issues!)

      @Camille – I could so easily volunteer full-time for the school. Yep, your time is coming!

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