I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say No | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Monday, October 04, 2010

I'm Just a Girl Who Cain't Say No

I really thought I was getting better at this little problem of mine.  The one that got this blog its name.  Which is, putting so much onto my plate that I can't possibly accomplish any of it very well, if at all, and totally sapping me of joy in my life.

But, alas, I was wrong.

Very, very wrong.  This last month has been the busiest I've ever had since that one time when I was in college and took 21 credits in one semester, was in the opera, worked 30 hours a week and still tried to have some semblance of a social life but had a nervous breakdown instead.

Now, there are some things I can't say no to, like my church calling.That's a no-brainer. I also can't say no to voice lessons. I can't just stop teaching them, that is. I will work on starting a waiting list instead of just accepting every person who wants lesson.  I can't say no to my children's activities, and believe it or not, they really don't have that many. Violin and piano and girl scouts for the big girls and preschool for Sophia.  But, when you add in homework and practicing, it's a lot.  They want to do dance lessons, but I said no.  I can't.  I will blow up.

Wait, what?  I can say no!  But it probably doesn't count when it's only to my own kids.  Shoot.

I've decided that my problem lies in the fact that on paper, all of the things I have to do don't really look like much. I'm very visual, and when I write it down it looks like I can do all the things I write in my planner. The hours say that I can do them.  But I never think to factor in how long it takes me every week just to stay on top of (or at least in the middle of) laundry and dishes.  I don't ever think about driving time, and the fact that ending my lessons at 3:15 at the university, getting the big girls at the bus by 3:25 and getting Sophia at the preschool at 3:30 simply does not work and I am late to everything.  Oh how I hate being late!  I don't think about how long it takes to do grocery shopping.  I don't realize how long my lesson planning takes.  My church calling?  Now that it's Primary, it's a lot bigger than YW was.  Lots more time.  Preschool board is way more than a once a month meeting and a few e-mails sent like I assumed it would be.

The fact is, Motherhood is a full time job, and anything above and beyond that is overwhelming.

I have a ton on my plate right now, and I don't really see a way out of any of it.  Some of it will end in the near future, and some of it won't.  But what I do know is that I can't handle one more thing or I will probably die.  I'm already not really living.

So, please don't be mad at me if you need my help and I have to say no.  I am taking a stand.  I am going to be the girl who knows when to say no, who has some boundaries and guards what little time she has with ferocity. It isn't personal, but it is necessary.


  1. You do have an X chromosome, right? It's hereditary.

  2. Ok, maybe the girls could walk themselves to the bus stop?
    It'd save you a few precious minutes -- maybe long enough to organize and tackle a few things?

    I know, I'm all free range lately... but it's a thought. :)

  3. Okay.....so when I come next week, are we still going shopping or to a movie???? Pleasessssseeeee say yes!

  4. You probably already read Nie Nie, but her post today was exactly about simplifying and enjoying life despite everything that tries to crowd its way onto your plate.
    I am the same as you, though. It looks so easy on paper, and since travel tie isn't the actual project you shouldn't have to include it, right? :)
    Good luck simplifying and not exploding and especially saying no!

    And in case you didn't read it, here are her secrets. :)

  5. that is SO me. Especially with my kids in school now....I'm busier than I have been in years!

  6. I don't know how you do it all Lara-You're amazing. School, soccer, play practice, church calling...that's it for me. Plate FULL! Love you.

  7. Lara! I could've written this post.

    In the past years, I've changed somewhat, until I've realized that I'm generous with everything but my time. That's just it, my time is mine, and I am loathe to spend it on stuff that is fun but not essential.

    Still, my time burns a hot wick each day, into late night (I sleep 6 hours a night/avg & have for months)...no answers here, just the honest need to slim down my "to do" list, too. One thing I've done is try & blog less, and read blogs only once a week, but it's so so hard...

  8. Oh dear it does sound so overwhelming. Hang in there. Do what you can and say no to the rest. Most of all enjoy life! Sorry your so stressed.

  9. Oh my gosh I didn't realize we were related!!!!!! Ok maybe we just share a couple qualities. I always want to do everything, all the time. Did I mention I'm working full time and taking full time master's classes?!?! Not to mention the parenting thing & my son's bar mitzvah in two months. Egads. Good luck simplifying. Every little thing doesn't sound like a lot to add to a busy schedule, because, after all, it's just one thing. But BOY does it add up!

    BTW, my boy used to LOVE that can't say no song when he was two. He'd shout, "CAN'T SAY NO!!!!!" from the top of his lungs in his car seat. I guess it was wishful thinking on his part. Who knows what kind of candy and treats I was unable to say no to in his mind?!?!?!

  10. ok, just for the record, I love that song! and I LOVE Oklahoma!.... yeah, I am a big time musical nerdo freak and I love it! :)

    I've been there before and somewhere along the way.... I learned to say no. I still do MANY things, but I made "down time" part of my schedule. It's a requirement!

    When my sister passed away 5 years ago, my eyes were opened to things that really mattered. Cuddling with my children, reading stories, laughing, going slow, doing and learning together, just being. And it seems like life is busy and crazy enough to fill up every moment if you let it.... :)

    Good for you! You won't be sorry.... life is too short to always be so busy.

  11. I'll help you out by not asking for help. That way it's one less person for you to say no to:)

  12. Ahh, say No to more things, it just feels good. I do it all the time, especially to parents here at the school. They HATE it, but man it feels good.

  13. I am terribly deficient when it comes to making accurate assessments about how long things are going to take me. As a result, I'm late pretty much everywhere I go too. And I hate it about myself. I know it's just spin class, but is it really okay for me to show up ten minutes late every single time I go?! Sigh. I'm trying to be better at this... to make realistic goals and have realistic expectations about what can,and can't be accomplished in a certain time frame. I feel your pain... hang in there!

  14. "I'm already not really living"

    Girl - you have GOT to let something go. Today!

    Life is too short : )

  15. I've gotten really good at it in the last six months and it feels so liberating! Everyone in my family is much less stressed now.

  16. Well, okay. Then I guess I won't ask you to make me up a package full of things I'm running low on. Or to please read a book I like so we can discuss it. Or (sheesh, I'm so UNCREATIVE I can't think of anything else I could possibly ask of you!! I meant to write like six or seven things.)

    So anyway, I won't ask you to do those things.

  17. Then there is me, NO is my favorite word....NO, NO, NO.

  18. I was in that same place last spring. I know exactly what you speak of. I am glad some commitments will be ending soon but it really is hard. I tend to do the same things you do- especially the failing to account for how much time the mundane stuff will take. Then I vacillate between periods of saying 'no' and periods of accepting everything. Luckily, I am at a slow period but that will probably be different by next week.

  19. Wanna know a secret? You can say 'no' to a calling. It turns out this does not mean you're evil. I know; I was as surprised as you.

    However, you may want to start with some of those other things first.

    Go read or listen to President Uchtdorf's talk from this last conference, over and over again, until you're convinced it's time to slow down.

  20. I have tried to cut a lot out and be realistic, but I do suffer from the "that doesn't look like too much" syndrome. I need to start overestimating my time commitments!

  21. This is totally a failing in me. I always overschedule my life--thinking I can fit it all in. That was, until a friend told me something really profound. She said, when talking about her own circumstance, that "Every yes for someone else is a no for my family."

    Put that plainly, I had to start saying no because the people I love most deserve more yes than they were getting.

  22. I haven't read the comments yet, but I know with a certainty that this post was VITAL to every woman who read it. This thing. This living, mothering, womaning, parenting, personing, working thing. This thing we call life is HARD! Say no when you have to. You go, girl!