I can’t say no. I am fairly new to the community and wanted to make friends as quickly as possible. So, I volunteered to support several non-profits and joined two community boards. I have been embraced and accepted by all the very friendly people in this small town. I know I am making an impact helping all the different non-profit groups. They are always telling me how much they appreciate my support. There is always a fundraising event or an ongoing project to help the community. My problem is I can’t say no. My schedule is overbooked because I agree to everything. I am married and have two children who are (or should be) my priority. BUT it seems now I have scheduled myself into a corner. I don’t want to let down my family and continue to make them second. I feel guilty and sad. I have missed school events my children have participated in. I have missed family dinners when we used to talk about our day. At the same time, I also do not want to disappoint all of people I promised to support. I try to spend time with my family but now my outside obligations are starting to conflict with family priorities. My partner tries to support the best they can and has expressed they miss our family time. My schedule is out of control and I have been stretched to my limit. I do not want to break any promises and disappoint the non-profits and community boards. At the same time I also miss family. Where and how do I find balance?
Dear Stretched Thin,
I would first like to thank you for your service as a volunteer. I know your community does appreciate all of your support. BUT at what sacrifice? It is easy for a caring person like you to want to help everyone. You mentioned family should be your priority. I agree.
So, where do you start to reorganize your time and your life? As much as volunteers are needed, it is up to you who you volunteer for and how much time you choose to dedicate. I recommend you sit down with your family and create a weekly or monthly schedule. Within that schedule, you can identify all of your family priorities. Is it possible to include your family in some of the non-profit events? You will also see how and where you can fit your volunteer time into the family schedule. Your family will see you have their best interests first. I know non-profits are very grateful for any volunteer who chooses to help. I am sure they will also understand your family needs are your priority. Once again I want to thank you for being you. The best Parent, Spouse and Volunteer.
Bounce back to your priorities,