Today’s topic is one we can all relate to – people who try to saddle us with assignments we are not able to handle, and then get angry when we say no. Let’s see what “Frustrated” has to say on the topic:

I recently had a very disturbing experience.  Within the last eight months we moved from another state and started a business. Two kids left home and we had a boot camp graduation, plus I still have one at home.  I have been as busy as I was with three kids under age 4.  

My visiting teaching companion sent me an email saying she thought I was just being difficult about scheduling to avoid her, when in reality I had gone way out of my way to schedule our visits together.  As soon as #3 is driving, my evening will be open again, but right now evenings are very bad and I am freer during the day, specifically in the morning before 9:30.  For at least an hour I felt hurt and offended, but it wore off fast as I tend not to hold grudges and whatever we do makes sense to us.

The scab was ripped off when I was reading the message from a mom who worked in one of your recent articles. She was hurt when her companion asked for a new companion who could visit during the day.  

Honestly, this is nor personal.  Daytime is 100 times easier for me, and I recently asked if there was someone who could match schedules with my companion better.  If not, we will continue visiting Sunday morning, but matching schedules is never meant to give offense, it is all about doing what works best.  So far one of our sisters has only been able to see us in the morning so I have gone alone.  This was not done to offend my companion; this was done so we could get any visit in at all.

When I discussed this with my daughter, she told me everyone imagines other people have more time and try to impose on them.  Some think mothers at home have more time.  Some think working mothers have more time.  Some think retirees are freer, or women without children who are home, or single students.  The reality is that all of us are busy.  

I guess my question is, why can’t we just take what people say at face value and not read an insult into it?  

When I say I am busy, I mean I am busy and nothing more.  I do quite a bit of my work from home and block out periods of time for it, so if you see me at home, that does not mean I am shirking.  If the woman’s companion asked for a companion who could visit during the day, why take it personally?  Who knows that she did not adore her and feel sad about the change?


As someone who also works at home, Frustrated, I feel your pain. I am often amused or dismayed (depending on how stressed I feel at that particular moment) over what people assume I am able to do, just because I am sitting at a desk at home rather than one in an office building.

Readers, do you say yes to every request that is thrown at you, or have you learned how to say no? How do you tell people no, and how do you react when people get upset at you for being a naysayer? How do you draw the line between “good, better, and not-in-this-lifetime,” especially if somebody else seems to be determined to make the choice for you?

Frustrated – and all the other frustrated readers out there – needs your help. Please send your responses to [email protected]“>[email protected]. DO NOT USE THE FORM ON THIS PAGE, NO MATTER HOW CONVENIENT IT LOOKS, BECAUSE IT IS LIKELY TO GET LOST. Write directly to [email protected]“>[email protected]. Stuff doesn’t get lost there.

Next week we’ll tell Frustrated how she can be less so.

Until next week – Kathy

“Life lived amidst tension and busyness needs leisure – leisure that recreates and renews.

Leisure should be a time to think new thoughts, not ponder old ills.”

C. Neil Strait

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