Just Say “No”

“Say ‘No’ to things that other people can do so you can do the things that only you can do.”

I have heard this advice several times at different conferences for parents who have children with disabilities. The sentiment hits home every time I hear it.

Life with a child / children with a disability is full and hard. It has challenges that other families don’t normally face. And the primary caregiver of that child is taxed and pulled day and night. It is true that there are many things that only the mom (or only the parent) of the child with a disability can do.

Only Mom can stay up all night caring for the child’s needs.

(I am using ‘Mom’ since it’s my musings…but I know sometimes it is the Dad or the Grandparent who is the primary caregiver. Don’t be offended.)

Only Mom can attend all the school meetings required for a successful school year.

OnlyMom can take the child to the numerous doctor appointments.

Only Mom can do homework and practice and therapies (usually).

Only Mom can be a full-time advocate for the child.

Only Mom can do the at-home therapy routines built into the day.

Only Mom can ensure that the Ts are crossed and the Is are dotted at home.

Only Mom can sift through all the research and the advice.

Only Mom can schedule the appointments so they coordinate with school, lessons, and other committments.

Only Mom can ensure that the child’s sensory diet is regulated each day.

But guess what?

Someone else can be roomparent at school.

Someone else can be in charge of the party at church.

Someone else can headup the ladies’ Bible study.

Someone else can host the Mom’s group.

Someone else can volunteer at the hospital.

Someone else can babysit your friend’s child.

Someone else can be team Mom for the basketball team.

Someone else can even cook dinner, if needed.

Someone else can even do the laundry, if needed.

It makes sense when you think about it. And this past year, for the first time ever, I did a pretty good job of saying ‘No’ to things that someone else could do.

I said ‘No’ to being on the planning committee for VBS. I said ‘No’ to being race director for the school 5k. I said ‘No’ to helping with the Christmas musical. I said ‘No’ to being on a couple of committees at school.

These are all good things, and they are things that I helped with in the past. But I am in a season of realizing that some things need to give so that I can do the things that only I can do.

The bummer is that even though I’ve gotten better at respecting my limits and my boundaries, I have beaten myself up with guilt at different times for not being a part of those important things. I hated not helping with those things when those teams really needed the help. But I’m positive that it was the right decision for me and for my family for me to say ‘No.’

So that’s one thing I hope to change this year: to allow myself the freedom to say ‘No’ to things that someone else can do — and to not accept guilt for it.

Do you need to hear this message today? Do you need to allow yourself to say ‘No’ to something to ensure your being available to do the things that only you can do?

We can’t do it all. But we do have a responsibility to our family … and to ourselves … to be available physically and emotionally. Just one of the things I’m learning …

photo credit: www.faculty.ashrosary.org
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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Shannon on January 7, 2013 at 9:56 PM

    Whew…. I’ve heard this from Jason many times…. “Shannon, you can say No.” Well, I am not good at that at all. Maybe one day, I’ll let myself say No… hopefully one day soon! Love this Kelly!

    Reply

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