I used to be a yes-woman. If someone asked me to help with something I had one answer - you know what it was. Maybe you were - or are - the same way. I know many women struggle with this because it seems so-called women's magazines run at least one article annually on how to say "No."
I think there were lots of reasons I was a one-answer woman. I didn't want to disappoint people. I didn't think I deserved to be less busy than another woman. Certainly when I spent three-years at home with the kids I felt it was my duty to pick up slack that working moms could not. But I'm over all that.
I've finally reached a point in life at which I feel (almost) completely comfortable declining opportunities to spend my precious spare time. Oh, I still raise my hand for some things - just judiciously. I very carefully consider my "work-life-volunteering" balance when considering requests to pitch in.
I'm not sure what brings one to this point - if I did I'd bottle it and make millions. Perhaps it's learned through years of volunteering. Maybe the opportunities diminish once children grow old enough to be fully responsible for the demands of their activities. Or it could be that people just stop asking past a certain age. Whatever it is, I don't really care. It feels great to be in command of the ability to accept or decline requests without being driven by a misplaced sense of obligation. It means when I do say "yes" I feel more fully committed because I'm juggling fewer such activities.
As can be said of so many things: if only I'd known this when I was younger.