If you know me, you know that I used to be overly involved. In everything: my kids' school (oh how involved I was in room parenting, PTA, fundraising, email communications and everything in-between), their activities (soccer team mom, snack bar volunteer), my friends (coffees, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, drinks, emails, long chats on the phone, yoga classes, fitness classes, parties, book club, consulting with one another on local gossip, hot topics, nail polishes), my family (special occasions, who needs to bring what to said occasions, gift giving, picnics, birthdays, holidays), my house (redecorating, remodeling, thinking about planting new colors in the garden, wanting to buy new sheets or pots and pans, repainting one room, then another)... on and on. I could write a long laundry list (yes, I forgot to add laundry), but it would bore you. And me. I can't do it anymore.
I'm learning to say "no." It's hard to admit this, but I think I had to move away from my own life -- physically, geographically -- to gain perspective.
Yes, I've volunteered to be in Marlowe's class one morning each week. And I'm one of Emme's room parents, which has taken up a lot of time this week. But these activities directly impact my kids and that makes me feel like it was okay to say "yes," this time.
However, when a new mom-friend of mine at the school said that they were looking for someone to be a yard supervisor in the afternoon -- just for a half-hour, paid -- I heard myself say "NO!" before I could stop and think of a nicer way to put it. But I couldn't bear to not be heard or understood. Watch a yard full of 1st to 3rd graders for a half-hour? No way, Jose. In general, I don't even like other people's kids, not even if the job entails an orange vest and a regulation whistle. It would be another commitment and I'm not that person anymore.
As my dad, a born-again Texan, would say, That dog won't hunt. No sir, it won't. THIS dog is busy learning new tricks.