Mama, Mountain Mama

Reading material for the post: Gina Barreca’s “Good Girls Say No — Good Women Should, Too”
I’m one of the good women described in Gina Barreca’s column — I can’t seem to say “no” to anyone.
Sure I can tie your shoe while I bandage your brother’s wound.
Sure I’ll do that project and the five others that are sitting on my desk.

Sometimes I do things Barreca wrote about, and go places I’d rather not to pick up friends, because I can’t say “no.”
Being a good woman with a “no” problem also sometimes means you can’t turn on your internal “no” and do things you know are wrong.
Running for 13 miles is now a great thing for me. I feel exhausted, but centered. I accomplish something. I’m ready to take on any challenge.
Doing something foolish in the heat of the moment? That’s something I need to learn to say “no” to.
Saying “no” is a difficult thing to do. In a way, it acknowledges weakness.
I can’t do everything that’s required of me to care for my kids. I’m injured but “tis only a flesh wound;” I don’t need to rest or rehydrate. I need to react now, I’m so angry/mad, etc., that’s the only way to get through to my kids.
My daughter has taken more of an interest in caring for our dogs. We decided to try to walk all three of them, plus the three kids. We’ve done this many times without incident.
Then there was the first and only time we’ve had an incident. And it had to be the day of my daughter’s experiment.
As soon as the dog revolted, I acted on instinct. My kids are going to be crushed if we lose their favorite pet.
I’ve had issues with following my instincts in the past, so I kick started my brain as soon as I saw someone come to help me. She was wearing flip-flops, so I asked her to watch the kids. My sneakers, running partner/beagle and I chased the escapee.
We tracked him down, only to have him run toward home. As I watched him bound up the hill toward our house, I knew everything would be OK.
But still I was uneasy. I thanked the neighbor as we corralled the dogs and kids inside. As we unwound from the speed work, I second-guessed myself. Did I do the right think letting her watch my kids? What should I have done differently?
It takes me a while to process situations to make informed decisions. This parenting thing is like trail running, you need to think fast or your screwed. One wrong step and you’ll twist your ankle or worse, compromise your kids’ safety.
I’ve always felt as if the high-wire act I perform is some sort of duty. I’m supposed to be everything to everyone.
I know what I’m suppose to do. My kids taught me that today.
They sang the chorus of “be yourself and you’ll be cool” as they imitated one of their favorite cartoons, “Wow, Wow Wubbzy.”
Being myself isn’t easy. I’ve lived a long time squirming in my shell, wanting to be myself but afraid of people’s reactions.
Saying “yes,” is easy. Saying “no” and meaning it is hard. When I was a good girl, I was known for doing things the hard way. That path is always more rewarding in the end. It’s time to start walking it again.

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