I grew up hearing that taunt from one of my older brothers. I cannot quit anything without that phrase bubbling out of the past to haunt me. I’m still more likely to say “I give up!” than “I quit!” in conversations or perhaps, “Take this job and shove it!” Perhaps that is also why I tend to over-commit and it took me until very recently to be perfectly okay with saying “No.”
This is the 3rd post in my 31 days series on Putting My Family First. You can click here to catch up on any posts you may have missed. Yesterday, I talked about cutting the chit-chat and how I was going to try to limit myself at a meeting I planned to attend. Wondering how I did? I did fabulous! I solved the problem in an entirely unexpected (even to me) way. I simply did not go to the meeting. Hard to hang around chit-chatting when you aren’t present. I did want to go and still feel that slight nagging guilt that comes with not showing up when you are expected but I had good reasons. I called my husband at 6:45p.m. to see where he might be. Oh, you’re still working and don’t expect to be back anytime before dark. He didn’t get home until 8:30p.m. on Tuesday night so I knew that wasn’t a good sign. I decided not to make an ordeal over the meeting and also decided I would not leave my boys alone after dark (I’m okay leaving them for short bursts during the daylight hours. Remember, they are a bit older).
I looked over and realized G needed serious help with his math homework. Actually, so do I. Pop quiz for mathematically inclined readers: An airplane at 2150 ft takes 4 minutes to descend to 1430 ft. What is the average altitude of the airplane? Then, there was the whole water heater issue. Our water heater decided to stop working yesterday morning. It meant that instead of a shower, J was spritzed with a heavy amount of cologne (I hope his teacher appreciated that it was not Axe). However, he still needed to bathe. Instead of going to the meeting, I spent the evening heating water on the stove, in the microwave, and through the coffee pot so there would be warm water in a bath for J. I will likely be doing the same for washing dishes later this morning. I would not have made a pleasant pioneer.
Earlier in the school year, I made an opposite choice and raced out the door to a meeting as my husband raced in the door from work. It was a new commitment for me and I was determined to be at that meeting. Once at the meeting, I realized it was not the organization that I had expected and I had serious issues with the actions of the group not maintaining the integrity of the group’s purpose. I was really disappointed as I had been quite honored to be asked to serve on that particular board. I returned home to an unhappy husband and needy children while being out of sorts myself. It certainly gave me pause. Sadly, it took me two days of deliberation (and a very thought-provoking conversation with a good friend) to come to the obvious conclusion that I needed to put my family first. I had to work through that quote up there, the am I sending the wrong message to my children stuff, and the making sure that I wasn’t just over-reacting to not getting my way during that first meeting (However, a brush-off of someone’s opinion is never a good idea if you ever find yourself in a leadership role if you want to encourage others to speak their mind.). In the end, sent an e-mail apologizing that I wouldn’t be able to commit to the group for the year after all citing family issues. Confirmation that I made the right choice came in the form of silence. I received no reply from any of the 3 members of the group I contacted despite my offer to help with the first meeting as I knew I had given them very short notice. I followed my heart and once again, it did not lead me astray. My heart always leads me home to my family. I need to quit committing to everyone and everywhere else and start committing more of my time and talents (not math!) to my family. Where does your heart lead you? Do you ever have a hard time following your heart?