Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Learning to Say, "Yes"

This is a whirl-wind time of year!  Christmas cards to send, goodies to bake, decorations to pull out of storage, gifts for teachers and neighbors, church events, school holiday activities, shopping to do ... and that's in addition to the usual hub-bub of life!  Families these days are busy already ... add the Holiday season and we quickly run out of hours, energy and joy.  All precious commodities!

So ... that's why I am trying to say "Yes" more this week.  What?!?  Aren't we supposed to be practicing saying "No"?

No, we can't add one more thing.
No, we can't be in more than one place at one time.
No, we can't commit to be involved in that, too.
No.  No.  No.  (Not to be confused with Santa's "Ho, Ho, Ho!")

What I had in mind was not so much the addition of more "to do's" to my life, but adding more people to my life to make life easier.  I don't know about you, but I have trouble asking for help, or even worse, accepting help that is open-handedly offered to me.  I am much more prone to just do it myself ... even if it's hard, not convenient or throws a wrench in my life.  Just so long as I don't inconvenience anybody else.  Never mind the fact that I have a willing helper available or that they are excited to help or that they would even consider it a blessing to help.  I have it stuck in my hard little skull that I have to do in all on my own!  When I was two and would say "Me do!" it was cute ... but now as an adult ... not so much. :)

I even struggle a bit when Brett is home and he offers to help with the day-to-day bustle.  If I see him folding laundry, I feel guilty for not getting it done.  If he pulls out the vacuum, I immediately feel like I should apologize for not doing it earlier.  If I have an engagement and leave the kids home with Daddy, I feel like I shouldn't be gone, but home helping.  And in each and everyone of this circumstances, Brett is more that willing to do the work ... no guilt trips.  It's all in my head.  Me do!

I have a fellow mom who invited my girls over one morning just so I could have a few hours to do some Christmas shopping.  The quick kind of shopping where you can run in and out of stores and not have to schlep little people and bags or buckle and unbuckle and buckle and unbuckle car-seats a hundred times!  Just me browsing while my babies played happily.  Such a gift for me ... and she got a few minutes free because the kids were busy with each other.  I wrestled with that offer for several days ... even though it was her idea!  Me do!

Another example was a few weeks ago.  I had a school field trip that I wanted to go to and yet it wasn't something that Lydia would have enjoyed.  I made several phone calls to friends and finally ended up with arrangements with a fellow MOPS mom.  When I dropped off Lydia, I felt like I couldn't communicate clearly enough how much I appreciated her watching my kids ... almost apologetic for needing her.  As I walked out the door, she handed me a note in which she thanked me for the opportunity to watch my baby.  What?!  Such a shift in perspective for me ... letting someone else serve is a blessing for us both!  Hmmm ... me do?  Or let you do? ...

Another perfect example would be getting my kids home from school  on Wednesdays.  On Wednesday's the kids get out a bit early so the teachers can have time for meetings and preparation.  Great for them ... not so much for me!  The kids are ready to come home at 1:50 ... right smack dab in the middle of nap-time.  Hmmm ... I could grumble and tweak the daily schedule ... or I could accept the offers I have received either to bring kids home or watch the babies while I go up.  Again ... instead of saying, "No ... I can do it." saying, "Yes ... you can do it."

This need to say "Yes" became crystal clear a few weeks ago when a neighbor volunteered to take Norah to gymnastics on Wednesdays.  The super perk for this arrangement was that it saved me multiple trips:  4:30 to drop off Norah and then 5:30 to drop off Ashley.  As we sat there watching our daughters stretch out, he offered his services as chauffeur and I actually heard myself say, "No.  That's okay."  Was it pride?  Was it a desire to not inconvenience someone else?  Was it insanity?  Probably all three!  I sat there for a few minutes and then turned around on the bleachers and said, "You know what ... Yes, that would actually be great."  He smiled and said, "Good.  It'd be a pleasure to help out."  What if I'd robbed him from that pleasure ... just because I felt like I could and should do it all?

I think that was my final break-through in my "Me Do" disorder.  When I finally came face-to-face with the absurdity of my pride (I am not less of a mom if I ask for help), the illusion of inconvenience (there was no inconvenience ... same time, same place, no problem) and the foolish insanity of being a do-it-all Mom ... I was free to say "Yes" to help.  And allow someone else the joy, pleasure and blessing of being a helper.

So I want to say, "Yes" more ... to the people who want to help me ... and to the people I want to help.  It will be a blessing to us both!

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