Have you ever found yourself carrying too many plates?
One of my daughter’s chores is clearing the table after dinner. Lately I’ve noticed her carrying more dishes than is wise, trying to make as few trips between the dining room and kitchen as possible. Given the [very] short distance between the two rooms, I wondered about her behavior.
After I’d noticed it at dinnertime, I began seeing her do it in other settings as well. Picking up her toys around the house, helping me put away groceries, carrying overdue library books out of her room – every time, she was carrying too much, straining as she juggled, refusing help when I offered.
“I’ve GOT it, Mommy! I can DO IT myself!”
At first I thought maybe she’d been exposed to too many episodes of the Rachael Ray Show, something I watched nearly every evening during that first year or so of motherhood. (Have you ever noticed how Rachael opens the fridge one time – and one time only – and carries 47 things over to her workspace?)
Thankfully, I don’t think my kiddo’s little brain soaked up anything so specific during those early days when I worked all day and my husband worked all evening. Bottle in one hand and remote in the other, I parked the two of us in front of cooking shows and cop shows every time the second shift seemed too long and lonely.
As the holidays turned into a call for resolutions a few months ago, I turned the page on a new calendar and decided to declare this my own year of . . . something. My Year of Maybe.
By the end of last year, I had backed myself into a corner by saying yes to too many great things. I felt overwhelmed and helpless to find a way out of the situation. After all, I’d agreed to everything. And everything on my plate was something I enjoyed. It was a real pickle.
Thankfully, after a lot of soul searching and hard decision-making (and whining . . . there was whining), I managed to clear my plate a little bit this spring. And as soon as I did, I gave myself a little shake and recommitted to my Year of Maybe.
From now on, I decided, each time an opportunity came up, I’d respond only with a “maybe” and a promise to think about it and give my answer soon.
Finally, I’d learn to say no.
I’d find some balance.
I’d avoid those awkward conversations when I had to confess I wouldn’t be able to fulfill my commitment after all.
Of course, changing my yes-girl ways is easier said than done. Just last week I agreed to help with a project before the person asking had even finished describing what he wanted me to do. I didn’t say maybe. I said, “Yes! Sure! I’d love to!” – without giving it two seconds of consideration.
It didn’t take long for me to realize I had done it again. I don’t have time for this project. Honestly, I’m not even a good fit for the task – it’s something I’m not good at and don’t like doing. And yet . . . “Yes! Sure! I’d love to!”
Obviously, my Year of Maybe is a work in progress. And now that we’re halfway through the calendar year, I can see it might take me more than twelve months to figure this thing out. I guess I’d better call it a Season of Maybe.
But for now I have about 20 phone calls to make for the community fair I agreed to help plan.
Are you [too] quick to say yes? Have you ever declared a Year of Yes, No or Maybe?