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A season of “no”

Fall is our busiest time of year it seems. Big Man is playing soccer (two practices and one game per week) and taking golf lessons (one 90-minute lesson every Monday). The Princess is dancing five days a week, which includes competition ensemble rehearsals, private lessons for her solo, and Nutcracker rehearsals, as well as her regular classes. Little Man currently doesn’t do anything extracurricular because, well, we just can’t seem to find a good fit given his autism. Plus,where do I fit in another activity for another kid? All of this, plus homework, birthdays for the older two, family obligations, chairing the book fair at school, volunteering activities with the March of Dimes, and so on. This isn’t anymore than any other family, I’m fully aware. I know I’m not alone in this suburbanite overload.

It’s taken me a few years, but I think I’ve finally figured out, it’s okay to say, “No” sometimes. We can’t do it all. We can’t feel guilty for not trying to do it all. I’ve turned down girls’ night outs. I’ve said we will help with this thing, but not that. I’ve asked for help in getting the older two where they need to be, and then back again, when necessary. I’ve turned down two fun weekend getaways because I’ve already been gone on one long weekend, and have two more already on the books – one for a significant family birthday, and one for my mom who is having a heart procedure. It takes a lot of work to leave for the weekend, setting up carpool for school drop-off and pickup, getting rides to and from dance and soccer, making sure everyone has what they need and get where they need to get. Trying to jam two more weekends away in there will push me over the edge. Also, Little Man does not do well when I’m away too much. Four weekends away would definitely be too much.

I think I’m finding a good balance, but sometimes it takes a season of saying no to achieve that balance. Sometimes, we must step back. At the same time, I don’t want to stop living completely, so there will be some yes days in there too…times when I put my need to refill and refuel on the priority list, times when I need to reconnect with friends, times when I just need to take care of me.

Do you have a season of saying no? How do you find a good balance?

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