If you’re the mama of a babbling toddler, you probably hear “no,” at least a hundred times a day.
“Time to eat, dear!”
“Sit down so we can put on your shoes, honey!”
“Time for a diaper change.”
“Please eat your veggies. They’re yummy!”
So, why is it so hard for us moms to say “no?”
My family recently moved to be near extended family. We are the members of a church in our former town, and didn’t have plans to join a new one. We’re still involved with our old one, as my husband is a Trustee and I am both employed by and actively volunteering time with them (online). Add that to our “day jobs,” and parenting, and we’re stretched to the max.
Since we live two hours from our old church and can’t attend regularly, we decided to occasionally attend a local church (the one my extended family attends and in which I grew up). It’s familiar and comfortable, and it’s a quick drive.
But here’s the problem: Since we’re part of the local “church family,” we’re automatically unofficial members, and assumed to be willing volunteers. Now, I’m grateful that they’ve welcomed me and my little family with open arms, allowing us to come back and enjoy their services and fellowship. But to take on responsibility in a new church may add to our burden more than is comfortable.
Recently, I received a phone call from a sweet lady from the local church that I’ve known all my life. She informed me that I’d been assigned to her “Women’s” group, and that we were in charge of a Wednesday night dinner. After explaining that I work until 5:00 on Wednesdays and that I could not help with the preparation of the meal, I agreed to help with clean-up afterward. My family usually attends the meal, so this was not an issue, and I was happy to help.
My fear is that now I’ve been initiated into this Women’s circle, I’ll be asked to volunteer for more things.
Well, let me admit that my real fear is saying “no” when I’m asked to do more. Don’t get me wrong, I’d absolutely love to do more, but I am stretched so thin already.
There will probably come a day when I have to choose one church over the other. My heart lies with the former. They’re the people with whom I resonate, and with whom my husband and I first decided to take a leap into attending religious services together. Their theology suits us better. But they’re so far away.
Is it fair for us to give our time, money, and talents to a church we barely attend, and not give back to the one we do attend out of convenience?
No, it doesn’t seem fair. And that’s why I’m going to find it so hard to say “no.”
If I were as confident as my toddler, I’d just do whatever I wished, and say “no” easily. But that little angel on my shoulder is nudging me toward “yes,” even though it would make life more complicated.
What would you do if you were in my situation? Please leave your suggestions below.