Choosing my yeses

Last year I started working outside the home. I desperately needed to remember who I am outside of my role as mom and homeschooler. Parenting a child with attachment disorder rocked my world in a way I wasn’t prepared for; motherhood had always felt like my “thing” — what I’m good at, what I feel most fulfilled by, felt called to — but I started to feel like a failure at life because parenting was suddenly so much harder. I’ve even imagined alternative lives I could’ve chosen. Like maybe in a monastery on a farm where I could be in charge of baby goats. Is that a thing? Once upon a time I had two adorable little goats that looked just like this guy and they were SO FUN. Actually, if goat-raising nuns really are a thing, please don’t tell me because I’ll be better off living in ignorance.

choosing yes or no
So cute: I want it!

Working in a field I’ve become passionate about allowed me an escape from being Mom all the time. Although some may not think of personal training or instructing fitness classes as earth-shatteringly life-changing work, I see it as encouraging and equipping others to live their fullest lives. It has given me purpose — and I’m good at it, which is a something I needed to feel again in these tough parenting years.

As a huge bonus, I’ve made friends and connected more deeply in the community. As an introvert, that doesn’t come easily in a new town.

But lately I’ve [re]realized that every yes is also a no.

This “every yes is a no” phrase isn’t new to me but it’s in the category of things that I tend to forget. On days when I’d do classes at two different locations, then personal training sessions, and didn’t even have time for a quick shower before taking a child to therapy after school, I knew something needed to give. Then this post popped up in my feed and the phrase resonated as a much more concise way of explaining what I’d been feeling.

I asked myself: what do I need (and want) to say yes or no to at this point in life?
I add that emphasis at the end of the sentence because choosing certain yeses or nos right now doesn’t mean I’m ruling them out either way in the future, and that’s an important caveat to remember. I enjoy what I’m doing now but I’ve been saying too many NOs to things like:

  • putting in a tiny vegetable garden
  • finally making my flower beds look pretty
  • hours out on the water in my kayak
  • nature studies with my youngest
  • art/creating time with my teen
  • spending time training the dogs so walks are enjoyable
  • play days at the beach and/or park

So once again I’m re-working things. I’ve thought and thought, and talked and talked, and written lists, all in order to decide what is most valuable to me and is the best use of my time at this stage in the life of my family. Many of my current yeses will remain so but some have to go. For instance, I’ll continue to teach my fitness classes but I’ll be backing off personal training.

My thoughts on unschooling haven’t changed (in short: it rocks) but I will be more intentional with what I consider the keys to our homeschool. This is where I need the most room for yeses. It’s just a darn shame our little town doesn’t allow livestock because I could totally say yes to a baby goat.

*adorable goat photo courtesy of