I’m feeling conflicted. This is not an unfamiliar emotion for me. It’s uncomfortable, sure, but so, so much a normal part of my life.
I wish it wasn’t.
I’m going to try to explain the dilemma our family is facing without giving (very many) specifics, because I don’t want anyone to feel bad (inside our family or out). I realize this will leave some real-life friend-readers thinking/worrying, “Is she talking about me?!?”
No, I’m not.
Here’s the scoop: our family is invited to partake in many things.
There are several reasons for this. Here are five:
1.) We know a lot of people.
2.) We have unconventional schedules that allow us to be available when others aren’t.
3.) People are kind to include us in the things they do.
4.) We collectively possess a variety of in-demand skills: writing, speaking, website-building, photography, babysitting, canvas-painting, etc.
5.) We are somewhat fun to be around (on our good days).
Here’s the dilemma: We can not agree on/figure out which things to say yes to and which things to say no to.
(If you haven’t figured this out already, I am writing this post as a free therapy/counseling session with myself. I hope to have answers by the time I get to the end.)
Here are some of our quandaries:
1.) We know that parents have more say than kids, but we don’t want to be the kind of parents that give their kids no voice.
2.) We see the value in doing things you don’t want to do. (But do those things you don’t want to do have value? Or are we just trying to make a point?)
3.) Life is not all about me (or you) and what makes me (or you) happy. But, at what point do you say, “It’s time to pursue this dream I have, not just do all the things that make other people happy.”
4.) What do you do when one child is particularly gifted at several things her siblings aren’t, and she resents having to do them while her sisters get off scot-free?
5.) What do you do when the thing your kids don’t want to do is actually pretty pointless (in your mind, anyway) and the thing they want to do is to stay at their apartment complex and build relationships with their Muslim African refugee friends?
6.) How can you tell the difference between being selfish and protecting yourself from burnout?
7.) When do you let others’ opinions of you impact what you do, and when do you shrug it off and say, “I’m sorry they’re going to think this about me, but I can’t help that,” and move on?
I guess what I’m asking is this: Do any of you have any tried and true formulas for what you say yes and no to (either as a family unit or as an individual)?
(I know what I should be doing. Praying about this and asking God for his divine, perfect wisdom. And I have been, believe me. But I also wanted to blog about it, because boom! another April blog post in the books.)