Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Opportunity Knocks

This is the time of year when our friend, Opportunity, comes knocking. There are so many wonderful, helpful, worthwhile, good, and fun ways to get involved with school, neighbors, church, and sports. It never fails to amaze me at all the boxes I long to check on the PTA sign up form. Yes, I want to tutor kids! Yes, I want to teach ESL! Yes, I want to do Thursday Folders! Yes, I want to be homeroom mom! Yes, I'll cut out stuff at home! Yes, I'll work at the fall festival! Yes, I'll make cookies for teachers!

Then, I come back to earth.

Just because Opportunity is knocking, doesn't mean I should let her in. As soon as I offer her a seat and something to drink, she will have my calendar and my mind filled up with every good and worthwhile activity she can tell me about.

I will be happy at first to have a full calendar with not a spare empty moment. I will feel good about myself that I am a giver, not a taker. I will love the fact that I, as well as all of my little social butterflies, have plenty of places to be.

But, it won't take long before all those good opportunities will start to turn on me. I will tell myself, stay up later, get up earlier, get more organized. I will remind myself of everything that every other mom is doing. I will feel like if I don't do a lot of stuff, I am being lazy. I will press on with bleary eyes and a somewhat fake smile until even that fades at home. How many times have I been working on something for my kid's class only to be burning with frustration because that child keeps interrupting me. Seems like I might be missing the point.

I am not saying that I won't say yes to some things, it is my duty to help somewhere; however, I have to be really slow with the yes's. I have to turn off the guilt that wells up when I say no to something that I know I could do (in another life) and that I'd even LIKE to do, if my plate is already full with what I can handle. I can't compare myself with the other mom who can do it. I have to see my own limitaions.

I once read that Jackie Kennedy said, "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much. "

So, this year when Opportunity knocks, I may crack the door, but I am not letting her in.


Tammy said...

That was an awesome post. I have a hard time myself when "opportunity" comes knocking. I hate saying "no". The guilt drives me crazy. Having Brandon last year, though, helped me learn the word no. I just hope I haven't forgotten it this year!!

Kimberly said...

Saying "no" is liberating, and you should not feel guilty saying it when you need to.
Think of your "no" really meaning "yes" to more time with your husband and kids.