Being a mom is exhausting! I know, I’m in the thick of it carrying that never ending to-go cup of coffee. All the activities! The programs, school events, sports practices and games. Does it ever stop? It might, but only until the email for the next sports sign up pings in your inbox. We have all heard it with our exhausted ears: “Enjoy the busy time now, it will all be over someday.” I agree, this time does not last forever and we should just enjoy it, but sometimes just enjoying it is never good enough. Right? Why can we just not go be the spectator mom or the mom that drops their kid off at the event to go enjoy a coffee in silence? Why, when we are asked to volunteer for whatever activity or event can we just not say “NO”?
I know I’m not talking to all the mammas here. There are some of you that have that figured out and I envy that ability like you would not believe. I just cannot for the life of me or my sanity say that one small word when asked for help. I feel guilt, I feel happiness, and I ultimately feel tired. Im happy that I am trusted enough to be asked to volunteer, I feel guilt because if I say no what other person will they ask, and I feel tired because I cannot say no to any of it. School parties, Girl Scout campouts, office help. You name it, I will be there.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy being able to help and I am glad I have the time to do it. There are just some days when the frustration of other parents (helping and not) really make me second guess my willingness to help. I volunteer for the kids, so they can have fun creating memories and enjoying new experiences, just like my mom did for me. Let me make this clear: I do not volunteer so the parent who willingly says no can sit and scrutinize those who stand and say yes. The more I volunteer, the more I see the nay-sayers, and the more I want to say no. To say no because it is exhausting to be so positive and helpful when there are only a handful of parents helping to begin with while the others sit idly by.
I love the holiday parties, the book fairs, and all the experiences Girl Scouts offers. I love seeing the excitement on the kids faces as they make memories with their friends and discover something new they are good at. I now understand why my parents took the time and volunteered for my activities growing up. You feel good and volunteering is the most democratic way you can make a difference in your community. But why does it have to be so exhausting?
I admit, I could say yes to only some of it. But as I sat and enjoyed that quiet cup of coffee, I would wonder how that other event was going that I was asked to help out at and I would feel some overwhelming guilt. But the flip side of this is the added guilt of are you really experiencing this with your child or are you so busy that you miss out on that time too? Oh what a vicious cycle volunteering is!
What I am trying to say is this: Say yes to what genuinely make you happy to be apart of and then learn to say no to what doesn’t. Kind of like going all Marie Kondo on volunteering, right? I am learning too, and the older my child gets, I think the easier it may become. Mammas we are in this together one event and activity at a time, and some days there is just not enough caffeine to get us through. We can do this right? Say yes to some things and then be okay saying no to other things? I guess there is only one way to find out. Maybe next time I am volunteering in my coffee filled stupor and I hear a question coming my way, I will hold my head high and just say no! Or will I? I guess the next person asking will just have to wait and see.