Text message reads:
N: The Baker’s want to know if we can do dinner with them next Friday.
J: Sure. Wait! We have Isaac’s football game. How about Saturday?
N: No. That won’t work because we are attending the banquet.
J: Friday in two weeks?
N: No. We’ve committed to help at Jessica’s school dance.
J: Crap. I guess tell them we’ll let them know when we can find a time.
Sound familiar? Busy, busy, busy. It makes my head dizzy. If I had to identify one clear
cause of stress in our families today is that we are doing too many things. What makes us
think we can actually do this much without certain things falling apart? Most of us need
more space for breathing, relaxing, and thinking than we give ourselves. It’s as if we
really believe someone else is in charge of our schedules. Like we don’t have a right to
say no. We need to say no to more things in order to say yes to the commitments we’ve
One of the factors that makes it so difficult to say no is that there are so many good things
going on. Your best friend’s birthday party – great event. Your daughter’s ballet recital
– can’t miss it. Parent’s 50th anniversary – got to go. Maybe these events are “must
attend events.” If that’s the case, leave other evenings or days open. If you’ve already
filled in the other days with something be courageous and reschedule. It’s not healthy to
prioritize what your friends “might think of you” by cancelling when compared to what
you already know you and your immediately family really need.
We can’t do it all. Even if we think we can, something will drop. The problem with this
is we don’t always get to pick which things drop if we are busy trying to do it all. Say no
to anything else that comes up if you are barely treading water already. Additionally,
pick at least two things you can give up right now. Not because you don’t like those
things, but because you love your family more.