I recently turned down an extra work opportunity to consult on a short term project for an organization that I love with people I greatly admire. This work would have been great, but would have been difficult to manage in addition to my current job and family commitments. Even though I am confident in my decision, it was difficult to make and it still pains me a little. The reason why is because I hate saying no where my career is concerned. My pre-kid self was very career driven and always welcomed new and exciting work opportunities. The more work I had on my plate, the happier I was. I loved multi-tasking, and challenging myself. I still do. Except now, the tasks I am juggling are very different. My son is still transitioning to his new daycare and my daughter is in kindergarten (I cannot believe it!) and is turning into a beautiful young woman faster than I can keep up. My family eats more food than I have time to do the grocery shopping for and I feel as though preparing healthy snacks, lunches, dinner, and participating in extra curricular activities is already my part time job. I am shuttling children back and forth from their care institutions, swimming lessons, dancing lessons, play dates, and weekend family adventures. The dishes are piling up, the laundry is stinking, and the ants are feasting on the crumbs left on my kitchen floor. So what is a crazed mom to do? I have to cut back somewhere.
By saying “no” to extra work projects, I am saying “yes” to volunteering more hours at my daughter’s school, having the flexibility to drive her to that earlier dance class she’s been wanting to join, and using my “free time” on the weekends to just enjoy life with my family without worrying about deadlines and other commitments. In addition, the perfectionist in me still yearns to fulfill my responsibilities to the best of my ability. I want to deliver my best work in every job I commit to and taking on too much removes that guarantee. It makes me truly value the important work I am already doing, and wanting to become even better at it. The only way that can happen is by keeping myself from being spread too thin. Less is definitely more.
This time is so valuable. My kids will be in this phase for a few short years so I want to be there for them as much as I can while still doing work that I love. I wholeheartedly believe that with the proper planning, recognizing and embracing my strengths and weaknesses, and learning how to prioritize, that I will have it all…in due time.