No doubt, this is a strange time for all of us. It requires adjustment, sacrifice and reassessed priorities. This is a season where we are finding value in family, determining what really matters and discovering a new normal; which will likely just become the only normal. As a parent, saying no is something that happens often and out of necessity. As a working professional, saying no is about managing your time and how you want to spend it, as well as what needs to be done and what needs to be done well. It’s about learning to delegate. But during this strange time, I’ve been surprised to find myself in a season of yes.
Throughout these weeks and months, we were blessed to have a nanny who allowed me to work from home with kids under foot. With a first grader who needed help with distance learning, a pre-K preschooler who missed her friends and a toddler who was busy but loved having her sisters at home, our house was incredibly active (and messy). But for about 6 weeks toward the end of the school year, our nanny needed to take leave to be with her father, who was suffering from an auto-immune disorder.
This meant I was parenting three kids while also trying to work full-time. Some days were easier than others and some just plain sucked. This was a period of time when I said yes to things I might not normally say yes too… like screen time. There is a running joke among parents that there is no such thing as screen time limits during COVID-19, but I still didn’t want my girls to spend all day glued to a screen. Ultimately, I had to be flexible and compromise more than I might have liked in order to participate in meetings and get work done. I also tried to be intentional about time outside, mid-day walks around the block and arts and crafts (thanks to my mom and her weekly boxes filled with things from my childhood).
Lately, another area in life where I find myself saying yes more… is to work opportunities. Perhaps I’m alone in these feelings, but with so much unknown about the future right now, nothing seems certain. This pandemic, while temporary, has no end date. So, I find myself saying yes.
- Yes to projects at work because I have a job and I want to contribute.
- Yes to freelance opportunities because I don’t know how long they will last or what might come next.
- Yes to stretching myself thin because I want to do what I can to prepare for an unknown future.
But I’ve also realized, this is a time to say yes to new things and more help. Being a working mom has never been more challenging. While our nanny is back, my kids still see and distract me throughout the day. This often means that I’m catching up on work in the evening. Further, spending so much time at home has made meals feel much more challenging. It’s daunting to plan what to eat each week, and to have enough on hand for kids who love to snack. When I run to the grocery store, it’s like a competition to see how quickly snacks can be consumed. So as time has passed, instead of shouldering it all alone, I’m accepting help with the household chores, meal planning and errands when I need it.
Because as much as I want to believe it, I cannot do it all. This season of yes means I still have to make choices to make room for the things I’m saying yes too. It’s about priorities and managing my time. I’m saying yes, because I need to, but also because I want to. I’m controlling what I can in a world that feels very out of control.
So tell me, what are you saying yes to lately?