As I got home last night, my daughter asked me if I was tired. I said that I was a little tired, but mostly the tired was thinking about my schedule for today. Today is one of those days: shuttling children, a volunteer meeting, putting my closet back to right after a busy week last week, setting up for a reception for base scholarship recipients, catching up on the laundry, figuring out this class I'm teaching tomorrow, making some food for said reception, grocery shopping. Oh, and work.
Every time we move, I swear that I will not volunteer for too much stuff. I won't get over scheduled. I won't allow outside activities to interfere with my family's world.
We've been in our new home nearly a year now, and the volunteer creep has crept itself right onto my calendar. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Girl Scouts, the Spouses Club. Heck, the only major block I haven't check off is the PTA. And it isn't just volunteer stuff, either. I'm taking classes, and I'm definitely working more than my scheduled hours.
A few years back, I took an intensive course with an amazing group of women. One of the women jokingly accused her friend of "raising her hand for her," and the concept has really stuck in my head. This hand raising - it can not be allowed to occur without my brain and my heart participating in the decision making process!
I am learning to better compartmentalize. Since I've figured out what I want to be when I grow up, I'm finding it easier to say no to volunteer opportunities that don't support my personal mission. "I'm focusing my energy on the Relief Society right now," is a lot easier to say than, "Thanks, but no thanks." But it still isn't actually easy. I feel pretty obligated to support the activities in which my children participate, because it is the right thing to do. And saying NO to other things is hard, especially if you've done them in the past. Add in the fact that many military communities would cease to function without a battalion of volunteers, and the feeling of obligation to help can overpower all the sense in your brain.
I know I'm not the only military spouse who over-commits, then finds herself scrambling to keep up. Share your funny stories, your tales of woe, and your strategies for keeping yourself out of trouble.
Oh, and if you hear me grumbling about the opening Ombudsman position, grab my hand and hold it down, will you?
photo by: Nazareth College