This is “The Year of No.” Our son tells me no all the time. Within the next few months, our daughter will probably tell me no. A LOT. But most importantly, I am learning to say no a lot more.
For starters, I am an RN working in a busy cardiac cath lab. My days are rarely just eight hours long – they often border on 9-12 hours, especially if it’s my scheduled day to stay late. On-call shifts mean I am available and obligated to be present in the hospital within 30 minutes of being paged for an emergency at any hour of the day or night. It’s a huge commitment, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I was born to do this work. It is one of my vocations; it is my calling.
My husband and I have two children, ages 8 and 1. They keep us on our toes on a daily basis. Now that school is in full swing, they are at different schools which brings its own set of challenges: who drops off which kid where and who picks up which kid and pray you don’t have to get both before 6 p.m. because even though their schools are only 10 minutes apart, it always takes longer just to get in, collect them, load them in the car and jet off to the other school. It’s hectic, but it’s our own kind of crazy and we make it work.
Then there is the chaos my husband juggles as he runs his brewery and navigates the stressful process of construction on a new location. It’s been a busy season for us. Nothing comes easy.
For the past two years, our son has played soccer on his school team. He’s not particularly gifted with athletic ability, but he enjoys playing on a team and gives it his best effort. Same goes for basketball, which he started just last year. But let’s be honest: it’s a huge time commitment between practices and games. Our weekends (prime time for laundry, bathroom cleaning, and catching up on much-needed sleep) were full of traveling 35-minutes each way across the metro for a 40-minute soccer game.
We are worn out, exhausted, and stressed out from unintentionally overbooking ourselves. We never planned it this way.
So starting this fall, I have declared it “The Year of No.”
No, we are not playing soccer or basketball this year.
No, we are not taking on any new projects.
No, we are not making plans with other families until after we have time to visit with our own.
No, we are not volunteering for anything beyond what we have already committed to.
No, we are not booking every weekend with extra activities and commitments.
And, no, we might not make it to your child’s birthday party because maybe we need that afternoon to recharge our batteries as a family.
Please don’t take it personally. This is literally a decision for salvaging our sanity and our family’s well-being.
Next semester might be different.
Next year might be different.
This isn’t for forever, so please be patient with us.
Who knows, maybe you might need a “Year of No,” too?