How to Include It All

Hustle. Bustle. Check the calendar. Make the appointment. Write the grocery list. Cook the meals. Meet the deadlines. Schedule the party. Clean the bathrooms. It all sounds so simple when broken down into lines on a list, but the overall totality of it can be overwhelming, unfulfilling and downright insane.

WHAT TO INCLUDE

 

It has taken me 37 years of being the “yes girl” to realize that some opportunities are worth passing by. Instead of constantly being afraid of what we will miss out on by saying no to something, we have started to realize that it is more important to focus on all that we can thrive on by saying yes. Likewise, it is necessary to note that saying yes to ALL THE STUFF isn’t possible, so why try? The world we live in is afforded endless opportunity and limitless options. Our kids are in competitive athletics as toddlers, academically advanced expectations in preschool and don’t even get me started with the weekend requirements.

WHAT CAN INCLUDE HAPPINESS?

When writing things on our planner, we now ask ourselves these three simple questions. We try to be vigilant about answering each before committing.

Would this event include happiness and/or health? First and foremost, the events that we commit to as a family should ideally be things that are exciting. Scheduling a weekend road trip would be thrilling, saying yes to a night with family friends would be refreshing, and committing to a family birthday party will be good for the soul. Scheduling a dental appointment isn’t glamorous and I certainly wouldn’t try to say any of us would be excited. However, it is something that is medically necessary for our health and well-being. Unfortunately, our days can’t be filled with 100% bliss.

Will we willingly go the day of the event? Things have a way of sounding more appealing when the date is further out and not right in your face. Sure, free theater tickets sound like a great deal! It could (in theory!) be a day of family fun. However, if we know that our son will have a track meet and our daughter a soccer game by the time the season rolls around, will we be excited the day of? Or will we be dragging our feet and fighting to get kids out the door when they’ve been carted around to activities all day and are tired, grumpy and hungry? It’s sad to miss out on things, but in the trenches of an already busy day, one more thing seems like an impossible climb.

How sad would we be to miss this event? Would we be sad to miss the hockey game? Would we feel bad about missing the family wedding? Would we be torn up about not getting to go to the movie premiere that we could eventually rent at Redbox? We think about how upset we’ll be to miss certain events and make our commitments accordingly.

What we know is that our time is not endless. There are only so many hours in each day and only so many weekend nights where school wake-ups aren’t looming. We can cram it all in, but if including all the things makes us crazy and stressed, then something has to give. We’ve even started scheduling down time. Although this sounds crazy, it is a great buffer amongst a busy world.

How do you decide what to put on your calendar? Do certain events trump others? Are you more of a “yes” person who easily over-commits and regrets it later?


I have teamed up with a wonderful team of bloggers who participate in “Five Minute Friday.” Here’s the skinny: Every Friday for nearly four years hundreds of people joined a kind of writing flash mob. We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt that is posted by the the team starting at 10pm EST on Thursday night and all through Friday. And we connect on Twitter with the hashtag #FMFParty (It stands for Five Minute Friday Party). No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

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