Why Can’t I?

Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew…

My eyes are bigger than my stomach…

Basically, sometimes I think I can do things, I can’t.

Like in my head I think I can do a round-off back handspring in my front yard. I’ve watched my daughter do it countless times. It looks easy!

But have you tried a cartwheel lately?

Something happened around 27 years of age that biochemically defies turning upside down without torrential side effects.

I remember one time, I was really excited about something and I did a frontwards flip onto my bed like a little kid. Afterwards I just laid there, flat on my back, watching the room pass by in front of me.

But I have these moments in life too…not over cartwheels and front flips anymore for I respect those boundaries… where I think I can do things I can’t.

Now, it’s over schedules and activities I think I can jam into my week and stay sane. Problem is they have the same result as the front flip on my bed – leave me dazed and confused as to what just happened!

This summer I had the marvel idea to enroll my three children in a beginner swim team. In Tyler. At 8 a.m. Every. Day.

I even thought about it for months before laying down the $$ to register them. My youngest son loves to swim and there aren’t a lot of pools in our area. So I thought this would give him some time in the water and teach good skills all at the same time. What made the deal even sweeter was the team included ages up to 18, so all my kids could participate and we could theme the summer “try a new challenge, together.”


Somehow in my efforts of providing my son an outlet to pursue what he loves, and giving the others an opportunity to try something new, I inadvertently forgot that I’m not a morning person. I mean, not around people. I can wake up early to be by myself, but wake up early to face 8:00 traffic, fix breakfast for kids who aren’t-hungry-but need-to-eat-something and remember to grab the swim bag – not exactly!

I mean I really thought I could do it. I watch other moms do it – so why can’t I?

In my head I imagined waking up a little earlier than the kids, grabbing a quiet bite to eat while gently rousing my crew awake. They would slip on their ready-laid-out swim suits in silence, and then grab a cereal bar to eat in the car. We’d drive peacefully to Tyler, where we’d listen to an audio book without discussing it.

But in reality it went like this:



“I don’t want to listen to that book, can’t we do an Adventures in Odyssey?”

“OOOPS, sorry Mom for knocking your arm and spilling your ice cold water all over you!”

“Hey, where’s the swim bag? Didn’t you grab it? No I thought you did. Nope.”

O dear.

And that was only attending 3 days a week rather than 5. Literally by the time we returned home, I had to lie down in a dark room and start my day completely over. By 3:00 I was ready for breakfast but supposed to be planning dinner!

Needless to say, this new activity has not gone well, despite my best intentions and careful analysis of the situation.

As I lay flat on my back, dazed and confused by too much activity too early in the morning, I’m convinced, the hardest word to say – to my kids, my friends, my SELF is a two letter word spelled N-O. No.

Saying no is hard. I feel like I say it with my eyes closed and my posture poised to take a punch in the gut. I’m afraid I’ll disappoint someone or worse, miss out on something.

And the fact is I may, but I can never, EVER completely satisfy everyone’s wishes. And it’s foolish to try! For when my children leave my house, life is not going to ensure their perfect happiness. They are going to have to figure out how to manage their expectations and deal with the gap of disappointment.

It’s easier to just say yes than really think about the situation and respond with, “No, we cannot do this activity right now because it will put too much stress on our family. My back is extended as far as it will go without popping and I’d like to keep it take way.

So here’s what I’ve decided: No matter what I think I can do, cartwheels are better left to my 11 year old and this mother’s sanity is more important than her kids learning to swim the butterfly!

Maybe one day I will respect my boundaries and realize too much activity throws me off kilter just like turning upside down!


On one hand I wish I had life together and everything figured out. A clean house with a place for everything and everything in its place. But then I think, what fun would that be? It’s in life’s messes I watch my Creator make a masterpiece. He takes my spilled paint, torn fabric and frayed strings of life and weaves in His Redemption and Love and makes it something beautiful. His creativity inspires me to be creative. So watch your step! And thanks for joining me on this messy, creative adventure of life.




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