It is Monday morning and therefore today is the day that I wrap up or "finish" what wasn't checked off last week's "to do" list. Like most people, I am almost constantly thinking that there aren't enough hours in the day to do everything I need to do. That is a lie and I'll tell you why.
I am a stay at home mom, a wife, and part time substitute teacher. A major portion of the population believes that I sit around and watch talk shows and soap operas all day. Sigh...if only that were true. Most days, I go non stop from 6am til after 8 pm just as if I worked a "real job". The difference is, I DON'T get paid in spendable currency.
I am a stay at home mom because I can be, well, that, and I almost kind of have to be. My husband makes enough money to pay our bills but that also means that he works 50 to 60 hours a week which means that he brings home the bacon and I fry it up in a pan. It also means that I do EVERYTHING else and I am good at it. I make sure our children are at school every morning with everything they need for their day as well as everywhere else they may need to be for extra curricular activities. I do ALL of the house cleaning, ALL of the bill paying, ALL of the banking, ALL of the grocery shopping, ALL of the cooking. I could go on but you get the picture. Because of Eric's crazy hours, ALL that he can't do, I do.
On top of ALL of that, I have added working out 4 to 5 times a week, cleaning the church once a month, cooking for the Wednesday night youth meeting at church once a month, cooking once a month for community meal night at church, attending and sometimes teaching a women's Bible study one evening a month, and a once weekly Bible study with a friend. I also try to fix a meal and either deliver it or have someone over for a meal once a month. I sub for the city schools and most recently have added a subbing stint at a church in Pilot Mountain, working 5 days last month.
By mid October my datebook was a scary place and there were many days when I was on auto pilot , would crash when my head hit the pillow only to get up the next morning and start a new day that looked very much like the day before. On the evening of a particularly brutal day, my daughter and I were headed to a school function that she had to attend and I was telling her how exhausted I was and why. I was explaining to her why we probably would not be doing something that she had asked to do. The explanation included how I could not physically add even just one more thing. What she said to me in that moment changed my whole thought process. She said " And how exactly is that MY fault? Mama, you need to learn how to say no more than you say yes."
A trip to the doctor and some bloodwork results in July made me realize that I needed to change how I take care of myself if I want to continue to take care of my family full time , now and for years to come. I will address that and what has transpired because of it in a blog very soon. Between July and now I have battled with making myself a priority and I was failing miserably. One day last week I ate only an apple for lunch and it took me an hour to eat that because I was taking bites between peeling and chopping 15 pounds of potatoes for a Wednesday night youth meal.For far too long I have made everyone and everything else more important and that must stop and stop now. It was in that moment that I decided that I do need to say no more than I say yes and declared November "SAY NO" month.
I struggle with saying no. I hate hate hate feeling as if I have let someone down . Why can't my no just mean no? Why do I always feel the need to explain myself? I do not know the answers to those questions but by the end of this month I shall be well on my way to saying no like a boss.
My to do list today looked like this : Drop off children at school, 2 loads of laundry, clean toilets, sweep downstairs, drop off items that have been sitting in a pile for 2 weeks at the cleaners to be repaired, take something back to Goodwill for a refund because this is the last day I can get one, take off the trash, workout at the gym, make mammogram appointment, call for prescription refill , grocery store run for 2 or 3 things, and somewhere in between all of that, put up freshly washed laundry, shower, eat lunch, plan supper, take dogs to potty multiple times, cook, pay 2 bills, scrub and pre-treat Eric's work jeans for washing tonight and probably 3 or 4 things that will come up as the day wears on. At 7 :25 I am getting into my car to take my children to school. I am wearing sweatpants, a t shirt, and flip flops. My hair has been combed but needs a serious washing. I have on no makeup and I am not sure I had even brushed my teeth. As I put the car in reverse I get a text asking if I can sub today. I would love to say yes but just to get there on time would have meant that I would have needed to leave the house at least 10 minutes before then and in different clothes. It just wasn't possible. I quickly texted back that I could not and it took everything in me to resist a separate response explaining why I couldn't. I said no and it was uncomfortable but I stuck to it. I have crossed off much of my to do list today and because I said no, I have nothing that I have to carry over to tomorrow's to do list. Maybe I can learn to say no like a boss. We shall see.