Something’s gotta give

If there is one thing that being a military spouse has taught me, it has been self preservation.  It took almost 17 years.  But now, I know what my limits are. 

We are in the middle of a move.  A move, in which my DH will be leaving sooner than the rest of the family.  This means, packing, single parenting, painting, and trying to sell a home alone.  I am OK with these tasks.  It is part of the "Sisterhood", isn’t it?  However, I have decided to throw in the towel in some of my volunteer efforts. 

This may seem easy, but I can honestly say it hurt my ego a bit to verbalize "I just do not think I have the time, to help".  I typically volunteer about 3 hours on Sunday nights at the children’s AWANA club.  3 hours is a lot of time for me to give.  Especially with the move.   

I seriously had to sit and justify "NO", for weeks.  So last night, I told the head of the AWANA club, that I just do not think I have it in me right now. 

Saying no is hard for some of us, but I promise the old saying "If Momma ain’t happy, no one is happy", rings true in my house.  So I had to say no.  Despite my feelings that it is a selfish proclamation. 

I woke this morning, feeling a little guilty, but relieved that others were so understanding. 

I was wondering how many of us feel guilty saying "no", and how many of us struggle with finding that delicate balance between serving others and ourselves.

About the Author


Rachelle began her Military Spouse career when her future husband proposed to her in a letter during Desert Shield. Mail took over a month to arrive back then, and they only had three phone calls with each other in the ten months they were separated. They were married at a small ceremony a week after he returned home. Rachelle's husband moved her to Ft. Bragg, NC, all of their combined possessions filling her small, two-door car. In 1992, they left active duty and moved back to their home state where she went to nursing school and he joined the Army National Guard as a traditional Soldier as he went to school. In 1999, Rachelle's husband was offered a full-time National Guard position in Arkansas, where they lived for eight years.

In 2002, their son was born (MFO Deployment) and in 2003, their daughter was born (OIF2). In 2008, they moved back to their home state to live close to family. Rachelle has been an active contributor with SpouseBUZZ since 2005. She currently works full-time at a physician’s office, and is active with her church and school's PTO. Her son has recently been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, a subject that she is exhaustingly studying and learning to work with day-by-day. In 2010, Rachelle's mother-in-law moved in with the family, and they added a German shorthaired pointer named "Poncho" to the tribe as well. Rachelle enjoys spending as much "down time" with her family as possible - usually something outdoors or movie nights. Her favorite foods are sushi, steak, chocolate, and coffee. Her special skills include being an awesome cook, identifying odd accents by state or country, having an incredible sense of smell (almost bloodhound-like), and watching people at airports during long, unexpected layovers.

  • This is an ongoing struggle for me, I admit it. However, I also pride myself in getting better at saying ‘no’ as time goes on. It is difficult to do and to find that balance for yourself, but it must be done. For me it must be done for my own sanity! Thanks for the reminder and I hope that all goes well for you and yours.

  • AWTM – I sympathize with your struggle, and applaud you for stepping down. Everyone will be happier, especially you!

  • Andi

    This is the year I’ve learned to say, “no.” I am terrible at it, but I’ve realized that it’s not doing me, or anyone else, any good by trying to take on everything, all the time.
    So far, after getting over the initial fright of actually uttering the words, “no, I’m sorry, I can’t,” it seems to be working out pretty well.
    I’m not so caught up in trying to be Superwoman anymore. Not all it’s cracked up to be….

  • Jewel

    I found it very liberating when I found my voice and was able to say “no”. It’s much nicer to be able to pick and choose what I want to do or volunteer for without feeling guilty. Now the activities I volunteer for have more meaning to me because I choose to do it instead of doing so out of some unrealistic sense of obligation.