Platter of vegetables with the share of a heart of no vegetables in the middle.

Spring Cleaning – Taking Control of My Full Plate

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We talked last week about the powerlessness we have over a certain amount of chaos in our lives as parents. So please don’t view this post as pressure to rid ourselves of that chaos, but as a reminder that this is a time of year when we simply have to get real about how much one human can do. For me, spring always seems to drop huge helpings on my platter, and I always benefit from reminding myself that, at any given time, I have the power to take things off that plate. This is especially true when unforeseen things have been added to my list. I’ve got to be upfront about some long-term engagements that, no matter how much I might want to deny, are sticking around—like these four kids who, after 20 years, are still here. They’re like gum on my shoe: impossible to shake off and, at this point, pretty much part of my daily uniform. 

Empowering Spring Reflections: Taking Control of My Plate

Oftentimes, there are commitments and plans on my plate that may have worked for my schedule at one point, but don’t continue to work. I have also been known to take on things that I thought would work, but just don’t once I start doing them. I have even agreed to do things out of fear of disappointing people—tasks that I can’t possibly manage while maintaining any level of serenity.

Here are some of the things that used to get in the way of me advocating for my own needs:

  • I didn’t know how to back out of a commitment in a kind, loving way.
  • I didn’t want to cause conflict or disappoint someone.
  • I didn’t love change, so I chose to stay in a bad situation rather than to risk trying something different.

Friendship & Empowerment: Saying No for Serenity

I love my friends who inspire me to advocate for my own needs–the friends who remind me that I always have the right to change my mind or alter a plan. I need people in my life who challenge my favorite starring role as the victim of my own story. For those times when I need to step up and face my fears, one of my friends suggest I say–or even write down–and keep repeating over and over again a statement like this:

“After a lot of consideration, moving forward I’m not going to be able to [insert task] as I originally thought. I have a few names of other people who might be able to help you.”

Muscle Building for the Soul: Embracing Emotional Growth

You know how the process of building muscle in our body involves physical pain–that soreness you get after a hard workout? I have found this to be true for emotional growth as well. The fear I feel when I have to face conflict, or advocate for myself, is pain that actually indicates to me that I’m growing emotionally. While feeling that pain is difficult, when I’m willing to embody it, I do feel empowered … even if it takes a while.

Spring Advocacy: Prioritizing Serenity in Busy Seasons

For years, I saw backing out of things as a failure or an invitation to “bad girl” myself. But, with the help of strong women, I am learning to prioritize my serenity because of how doing so affects my relationship with myself and the people I love. So yes, like every spring before this one, I am going to do too much, and there is going to be chaos—we all know how busy kids’ schedules get at this time of year–but I will also be consciously advocating for my peace as much as possible, and that is the best I can do for today.

If you’ve read or listened to this post and you’re someone like I used to be, who struggles with people canceling on you, please check out “The Art of Disappointment: It’s Not You, It’s Me.” It might help bring a new perspective to last-minute plan changes. And this post–“Survival Mode – Cutting Every Corner Possible”–might offer some helpful tips for how to set reasonable expectations over the next several weeks.
And how about you, Team? Can you strong folks share examples of how you have managed to back out of something that was difficult for you to say “no” to? I would love to hear your stories. Please drop them in the comment section below.

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    Welcome to my blog! Here you can read about what’s on my mind as I try my best to recover from screaming at my kids and nagging the bejesus out my husband.

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