All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mom. My mom stayed at home with us until I was in the 4th grade. I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to raise children, clean, cook and devote myself to my husband and my children.
I didn’t know until I was much older that my mother had a problem with saying “No.” She didn’t have a problem telling us “No,” but she did have a problem with saying it to other adults.
She was not a “Join the Junior League” kind of gal. But she would say yes to almost anything asked of her.
Would you like to be Vacation Bible School director? Sure.
Would you like to be cheerleader sponsor? Of course.
Would you teach Sunday School? Absolutely!
All of my mother’s volunteer efforts were directly related to her family. We were the young participants at VBS. I was on the cheerleading squad. She taught my Sunday School class.
Is this behavior genetic? Let’s find out…
Christie, would you like to join the Women’s Service League? Yes! As a matter of fact, I accept the nomination of vice president.
Christie, would you be our Vacation Bible School director? Sure.
Christie, would you like to join our sorority alumnae group? Of course.
Christie, would you like to lead the church children’s ministry? Absolutely!
Looks like we have our answer, folks!
I’m not sure why my mom was a volunteer-addict, but I’ve done some thinking on why I go overboard in this aspect of my life. I rarely go out with my girlfriends. The time that I spend volunteering is “me” time. I enjoy the ladies I spend time with raising money for charitable organizations. The problem with over-committing myself to these worthy causes is this: while I am consumed with these community building, do-good projects, my family suffers. The dishes pile up, and the laundry room looks just as bad.
My husband feels neglected. (Honey, do I have clean underwear for tomorrow?) My children feel neglected. (Mommy, will you play Barbies with me? No dear, Mommy has to prepare for her volunteer duties.)
This is not the fairy tale I thought would be my adult life. I had visions of a well-kept home. I had plans of making wholesome homemade meals every night. Instead, we are running through the drive-thru and digging clothes out of the laundry basket from the last load of laundry.
My husband doesn’t seem to have this condition. He has no problem saying no. His world consists of going to work to provide for our family. He comes home to take care of us and take care of his duties at home. If he isn’t spending time with me and the kids, he is tending to the yard. As a matter of fact, he has taken over some of my “mommy” duties. I lucked up and married a good cook. He prepares most of our meals and occasionally steps in and helps with housework.
This over-achieving mommy has guilt, and I know why. I’m simply trying to fit too many things into my 24-hour day. But I’m just a normal mommy, often trying to be everything to everyone. Sometimes we just have to learn to say no to outside activities when it becomes too much.