I am very much in need of a day, a week, a month, more, where I don't have to do anything for anyone besides my family and the business I'm building which I love so much. I've made the mistake for years now of putting way too much on my plate, volunteering many, many hours a week, doing for everyone else and not myself and I have paid for it dearly with my physical, mental and emotional health.
So I'm officially putting it out there that I'm going to be saying "No" a LOT from here on out. I know some people are going to be really unhappy with me about this, and honestly it may cost me some friendships, but my health and my family's happiness is at risk. There are only so many directions one person can be pulled before they break and for months I've been feeling pulled in so many directions my sinew is stretched to it's limits. I feel brittle and torn.
My challenge is going to be actually SAYING no and not just trying to do it all and agreeing to do it when someone asks because they expect me to, since I always say yes. It's nice to know that people feel they can count on me but I've let it go too far. It's a curse for many women, and some men too, but women specifically tend to be people pleasers. I've always wanted to help people, lend a hand and do what I can. So it's been my fault for piling up my plate too high. But what happens then is that things begin to slop over the sides. Things I've promised might get lost in the details or the to do list. And at some point, none of this is fun anymore. It becomes drudgery. It becomes a yoke around my neck, chains around my feet. It makes me stop enjoying everything in my life because I'm so weighted down with "responsibilities" to everyone else but myself.
People ask me, "How do you do it all?" The true answer is, "I don't". My kids don't get my undivided attention. My husband gets a mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted wife at the end of every day who battles insomnia and spends hours awake in the middle of night fretting over all the things on my to do list (at least 70% of which are things which don't even really benefit my family).
This is an important step for me, it feels selfish on some level but it's crucial at this point. I no longer want to cringe every time the phone rings because 99% of the time it's someone wanting me to do something. I no longer want to look at email and feel a hot ball burning in the pit of my stomach because of things I have to do for others.
I want to be whole again before I give anymore.
So I apologize in advance to anyone whom I'm going to be saying no. I'm sorry if it seems selfish. It's not personal. It doesn't mean I don't love you and value you in my life. What it means is that for the first time in a long time, I need to put myself first because if I don't, if I keep on saying yes to all these things I don't really want to do but feel obligated to do, I'm going to be nothing but a shell. THAT is not something I'm willing to do. My family needs me. My kids need me to be present and play with them, not be spending time dealing with volunteer issues during the few hours I see them a day. My husband needs me to be happy instead of always complaining about all the stuff I have to do that I really don't want to do.
If all this stuff I've been doing was my paying job, I'd have left it a long time ago. Honestly, nothing is worth spending your life miserable. It's not good for anyone least not yourself.
So this is my goal, above all other goals for 2014. My goal is to clean off my plate. My priorities are myself, my husband, my children and family and my business. I want to rekindle friendships where we get together and just have fun, not only see each other when we have to plan and organize for some fundraising event, or have a meeting, or deal with some crisis or political drama in the school district. I'm officially quitting that life. I hope you can respect that decision and still love me for who I am as your friend and family.