I have a tendency--like most women I know--to want to help out when someone asks me to help out. Whenever possible, I like to say 'yes' to people because making people happy makes me happy.
This quality, however, has also gotten me into heaps of trouble. Oftentimes, it means that I am over-committing to do all sorts of things: volunteering, driving, donating, making, baking, calling, picking up, dropping off...you get the picture. Well, this stuff was all fine and dandy when I worked my weekend-only gig, leaving me plenty of free time during the weekdays to do my civic duty and be a helpful person.
Now that I'm working more hours, though, I'm finding requests for my time and energy a bit annoying. I really want to be able to say, "Sure, I'll bake a dozen cookies for your bake sale!" but then I can't actually think of a time when I could actually bake them and then I have to say 'no' which makes me feel incredibly guilty. I just feel like the most ungenerous and horrible person for not eagerly participating in the bake sale for a worthy cause.
(To make matters worse, I realize that in the time I am writing this blog post whining about my lack of time to bake cookies, I could probably have baked a dozen cookies! But who wants to be baking cookies at 11 pm at night? I mean: don't I have the right to use the precious, short amount of free time I have after the kids go to bed to just relax and whine on my blog and not to have to bake any cookies? I don't know...you tell me...)
Anyway, the first phase I went through was feeling guilty because I don't have much time or energy (or enthusiasm) for this community cookie-baking project. But then, I slowly started feeling indignant. (I know it's absolutely wrong to feel indignant, but I am just really tired today from having worked this past weekend and not having gotten much sleep, so just hear me out for a second...). So then I started feeling indignant that only women were asked to bake cookies, and no men were asked to bake cookies. Those lucky ducks! Why do they get to get off scot-free and not have to be put in the uncomfortable position of having to decline baking cookies? I know it wasn't an intentional exclusion and not meant to be personal. I'm sure they were just thinking that mostly women take an interest in baking cookies. Which begs me to wonder, "How can I let the world know that I am like a typical man in that I have not taken a shine to baking cookies?" Perhaps finding a way to communicate this will prevent further pleas to bake cookies...?
After I finally got over being indignant about how unfair it was that men don't have to bake cookies, I realized that all of this turmoil I was having was entirely SELF-INFLICTED! Probably no one actually cares that I'm not baking any cookies! (I am a horrible baker and they probably wouldn't want my cookies anyway.) Maybe I was just included on the list because they didn't want to exclude me. That is really nice, actually. Even if people know you are probably too busy to bake cookies, it's certainly nice to be asked and be included, isn't it?
So, in summary: people ask me for help and I hate saying 'no' and it causes all kinds of inner turmoil and it makes me feel like I'm a failure and not a nice person. Obviously, the cookie committee didn't intend to give me feelings of inadequacy...I did that all to myself! Pretty ridiculous, I know. (I get a little nutty when I haven't slept enough.)
Anyway, you'll be happy to hear that I did finally put on my big girl knickers and just said 'no' to the bake sale. Now I can move on to more pressing demands...like finally getting some sleep!