"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

Mamas: We are NOT supernatural

I have always had this tendency to overcommit.  Back in college, I recall getting involved in so many campus activities, in addition to taking a full academic load, plus working.  One day, I just crashed.  I went to bed, exhausted, at maybe 7pm one night, and I did not wake up until 9 or 10pm the following day.  I literally slept for over 24 hours.  I also had a moment in college when I was so overcommitted, I had to drop half of my courseload part-way into the semester.  I had gotten so far behind that I knew I couldn't pull myself back.

As a mama, I struggle with similar tendencies.  I watch fellow mamas struggle with the same.  What is the right balance, how much should I volunteer even if I am working a full-time out-of-the-house job?  As school is ramping up once again, I am already receiving requests to coordinate an event or lead another initiative and - "oh, by the way" - could I also pick up the donated pastries for the first-day-of-school coffee social?

I had to stop and remind myself: Mama, you are not supernatural.  I am starting this school year with a cold, disorganized from a late summer vacation, and overwhelmed returning to a full load at work.  There is no way I can take on much more than I had originally committed to at the end of the last school year.  So: my goal.  Say "no" to a commitment, but say "yes" to another one, one that serves a grounding or self-preserving function.  So: say "no" to picking up those pastries, but say "yes" to a yoga class this week.  Say "no" to heading another committee, but say "yes" to taking a 30 minute walk with a neighbor.

We have enough to manage with our kids' extracurriculars.  We should keep it simple for ourselves.  How *much* do you do?  Where do you draw the line?  How much is too much, and what is on your "no" list?


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You described me perfectly, great advise.

You could have linked to the many previous conversations uM has on this topic. I keep telling myself and friends, Glass Houses!! Not judging, please don't judge me :-)
We all have different skills, needs, family size- saying how *much*, where to draw the line, has me dreaming about being in a different life. I choose to be encouraged that asking for reinforcements is appreciated, especially at the beginning of the school year!
I'm not ending with my volunteer schedule, # of date nights we have, extracurriculars scheduled- I really can't imagine anyone will want the pool of my crazy ;-) or maybe it's a puddle!

How much? where to draw the line? I think that changes on a daily basis in our house. We are already feeling the back to school crunch, with all the end of summer class pool parties, new parent welcomes, PTA and teacher help requests.

Me... i do contract work from home, which is great because it offers flexibility, but has its downside as I am often tempted to volunteer at school during the day and do my client work in the wee hours of the night. I have three kids in the 1-3 grades. Each does 2 extra activities outside of school (soccer, gymnastics, swim). I volunteer each week in each kid's class. I also serve as room mom, as one of my kids has special needs (health) and I like to be extra involved in that class for that reason. It also means that I have to attend all field trips for that class, and be active with working with the teacher to make sure activities can be adjusted to accommodate my kid's needs. So, there is a lot of volunteering time commitments for that class that falls under necessary for the wellbeing of the kid rather than because I want to or have the time. And my other kids don't think it's fair if I don't spend some time in their classrooms as well given how much is required for the other one, so I do.

Since other parents don't really know why I am there so much (we don't broadcast our kid's issues, and most parents don't know about them), they just know that I am there, so they often see me as an easy person to ask to pick things up or do added volunteer work. I used to have a hard time saying no, but now I think I have to draw a better line... What I have decided is this - I will say yes to things that come from the teachers as directly benefitting the classrooms. I will say no to leading any PTA committees, or to taking large volunteer roles for the auction, field day, or other school wide events. I will help out with those things as time allows but not as a general rule.

Of course, all best laid plans and all... asking me in a month, and I bet I am spending my Saturday setting up for the school carnival! ;-)

thank you for saying that for every no there should also be a yes. I find too many people seem to say no to everything , then what do you have left- a whole lot of nothing. I just wish people would say yes a bit more to being social with their kids- it's sad that playdates often end up being a no.

My older is starting kindergarten, my younger is starting preschool & I'm going back to school after 2.5 years of staying home with them. Wondering WTF I was thinking when I signed up for that. Keep reminding me how much more other people are doing so I will feel up to this challenge :).

Yes! I am a full time single mama to a preschooler, and starting to run out of oomph, between parenting and working and going to school. I will say that people don't ask me to do anything extra usually, and I am ever so grateful for the quiet moments. I do feel like I almost have to be supernatural to make it through.

My "No List" is expanding... but that's a REALLY good thing. Things got way out of hand for me last year, still not too sure how it even happened LOL! But I certainly appreciate the comment of saying yes to other activities which is something I'm looking forward to!

Sherry Tejada


Please make our voice be heard, enough of paying so much money for a company that doesn't care about our kids enough to make it right to the parents.

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