I’ve been a champion yes-man in the past. If you were looking for someone to bake for the school fundraiser, make 35 favors for a wedding shower in a weekend, or head up a committee for a town event, I was your woman.
Forget yes-man. Yes-men had nothing on me. I was a yes-mom.
Why did I do this to myself? Guilt. I thought I should help more, do more, contribute more. Plus, if I didn’t do it, who would?
Well, I’m happy to report that I’ve done a 180 degree turnaround. And if you’re a perfectionist mom-leader type, I’m now the mom you most certainly do NOT want on your committee.
Because I ignore your emails about fundraising followup. Once in a while I drop off committees midway through. And when I do stick with it? I’m the mom who usually does the bare minimum.
Now I figure if I don’t head up that committee, someone else will. And if someone else doesn’t, I guess it wasn’t that important to begin with.
Basically, I am the epitome of what I used to detest about my coworkers and committee members.
How did I achieve my new heights of lackluster participation? What led me to this epiphany of apathy?
Multiple stress-induced mental breakdowns, I’m guessing.
In my early years of parenting, I kept taking on too much and I was stretched way too thin. Being a yes-mom catered to that part of me that is a total overachieving perfectionist.
I liked being depended upon. Being the one who always pulled it off. It made me feel good to bake the best-looking cupcakes that everyone oohed and aahed over. And I felt pride after staying up all hours of the night to create a perfect Pinterest-worthy birthday party for my two-year-old.
But who was I really doing it all for?
Eventually I realized that sometimes – like in the case of my daughter’s birthday party – it was worth it to put in all that effort, time, and yes – stress. But most of the time? It wasn’t.
So how have I embraced the average and banished my perfectionist, controlling tendencies?
I realized three things:
1. My own mental health was more important than saying yes to every volunteer opportunity. You know, even if the town’s library garden beautification committee reaaaaaaaly needed my help. There really, truly was someone else out there who could handle it.
2. I learned to say “no” to the majority of the requests for my time, and to say “yes” very selectively. When I do say yes, I am only a member of the team. I don’t let myself get pressured into leading it. And if I made a mistake and overcommit, I realized it wasn’t the end of the world to fess up, apologize, and make my exit.
3. I’ve embraced the fact that not every member of a team needs to be an A+ contributor. I considered this very idea complete blasphemy until not too long ago. But until my general stress level dials down a few notches, I am happy being a nice, solid B- or even C+ team member.
Maybe when Grace is in school five days a week, I’ll be a room mom or head up a kindergarten fundraiser. Maybe I’ll once again make the most impressive cupcakes at the bake sale. Maybe I’ll get back to being an A+ team member.
Or … maybe being average will be just too damn relaxing.
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