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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Saying No to Opportunity

In the past few months I've been invited to be on the Board of Directors of two midwifery groups. One for a grassroots organization in Florida another for a birth center in New Mexico. I got another invitation to be on some International Lactation BOD(required an annual trip to Eastern Europe), I once was on the Board of Directors for the Birth Center that used to be in Stuart.

I appreciate the invites. I can endorse your groups, but, I am so not the Board of Directors type. Fund raising, politics, policy making. Yuck. Not me. I can't make the commitment to travel ( I barely make it to Orlando these days) or participate in conference calls.

There was a time that I didn't work for 1 1/2 years. I did look for this type of volunteer thing to try to expand my horizons and networks. I couldn't seem to connect, then. Now that I am busy, busy, busy, opportunities abound. You should of got me when I wanted it and didn't have the outlet I have now. Can you imagine me explaining to my husband why I am traveling to Europe and won't be around at home or in the office? NO, I couldn't even think of a way to tell him I got this invite. Could I be as good as I am at the daily things I do, if I split my time more ways? No, not if I am not available.

It seems these days, I am asked to do all sorts of interesting things. It's funny how people want me to give talks to their group now that I have a book. I've committed to one that should be informal and fun (and I'm open to see if I have a change-of-heart and love it), but have you ever heard me speak to a large group? Any group? Why ask ME? If you know me, you know I don't like it. Just because I wrote a book doesn't mean I give talks. It's funny how people think because you can write (and solve breastfeeding problems), you can talk to a large group.

I like taking photos. I don't really like being asked to reprint my photos. I did at first... kind of when I was 1 1/2 years no work (and looking for networks), but I quickly found out that agreeing to reprint photos somehow led to a lot more work and e-mail back and forth. The wear and tear on my time quickly wore the novelty off of having my photos reprinted. I do like reprinting my photos, but I am selfish and I mostly want to share my photos when I want to share my photos (with the subjects, for mostly local causes, or organizations I am involved, or to accompany my articles) and not be asked out of the blue. Likewise I like taking photos, but only when I ask. I have to "see" a photo to be able to take it.

I get asked to eat out all the time to discuss business. The restaurant invites gets an automatic "No."

Would I love to have the time to be on your BOD, do your talk, submit to your publications, and work on the skills I need to do them well. Sure I would (maybe not the talks). My three kids are at prime ages and so is the practice. I am following a major restrictive diet (if I go out to eat, it will be with my family). I am not at a phase in my life to take on these extra-curricular volunteer responsibilities I get invited to do. It's ironic how many new organizations ask me for help, because I AM the one who needs help. Don't get me wrong, I am involved with groups. I am happily involved in the groups I am a part of... I am just not looking for more, not now. Thanks for asking. I would love to have volunteered the year I didn't work and was bored out of my mind.


Allana Martian said...

Note to self: Do not invite Denise out for lunch, ask her to head up a homeschool co-op, request a copy of that beautiful photo hanging in her office or beg her to grow tomatoes for me. Did I get it all? lol You are so open and honest! Sometimes I think opportunities come at the wrong time to test us. Will we put our family first, or chase a dream? You are making the right choice for you and your family. Not many people would be able to say no. Kuddos to you!

crispy said...

Sometimes saying No to the good means we can say YES to the best.

Discernment. Our world needs more of it.

Permission to Mother said...


Yes, you got it right!

No one would want my pathetic tomatoes (but I will keep trying, like you suggested!). Being a published photographer has not been worth the distraction (except locally it is for fun).

"No way" to head-up the homeschool co-op. I didn't even make it out to one single homeschool meeting this academic year!

An alternative to lunch (many lunches I am asked to are more for business) that includes the kids is taking all our kids to the park, pool or visiting. Our kids and pets can interact and be included rather than left behind, the adults can interact, the parents can be happy to see the kids socially and creatively stimulated.

I am a Monkey's Mama said...

While I know how much of an asset you would be to the Florida midwifery group you mentioned, I absolutely appreciate your honesty. Sometimes we have to remember that all the "things" we do are really just choices that we make in how we will spend our time, and those choices can and will take away from other important things in our life while still enriching other parts. It is such a fine line to walk!

That being said, please know that these invites are nothing but flattery...most women could only *dream* of having a doctor like you in her backyard, I know this because I've considered the 2 hour drive for Orlando to utilize your practice, especially after hearing such wonderful things from a friend of mine who just started seeing you (and ANY recommendation for a doc she gives I take very seriously knowing her the way I do).

Permission to Mother said...

I appreciate your comments about the midwifery group, Monkey's mama. I am definately not BOD material. My short time with a BOD was my least favorite activity in the birth world. I didn't even know that the "group" per say knew who I am. There are probably other ways that would be of mutual benefit wihtout much more effort on either part, but asking me to be on the BOD was like getting off on the wrong bus stop.

I read your post on Rixa's blog about how your ICAN group positively reinforces health professional's behaviour who support VBAC. I like that letter writing campaign approach--without any anger. We had ICAN meetings locally for awhile. I do miss them. I really like helping woman achieve that empowering birth.

I am a Monkey's Mama said...

I've heard some rumblings that there is a new ICAN group in the works for your area. I'll be sure to keep you posted if it comes to fruition.

As for the midwifery group...I think that the best thing you could do for the group is NOT be on the BOD, but instead simply have brochures for the group in your office or patient packets. The group would likely reach *way* more people that way because so many of your clients (I'm assuming here, of course) utilize midwifery services and/or are open to less "mainstream" ideas about what.

Permission to Mother said...

I would love to have the brochures to pass out. I have flyers for LLL, ICAN, doulas, 10 steps, cloth, slings, etc... Midwifery flyers would fit in.

Maybe the group would like to do a mutual business card/flyer exchange.

Will you e-mail me for mailing details.

Permission to Mother said...

Since LLL released its Registration Brochure, I've posted to the top of the blog, the one big outside commitment I made.

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