Motherhood,  Random Shit

Be Careful With Your Donkey

When you open an email from my Dad, you’re never sure what you’re going to get….

A clever joke? A very off-color joke? Photos of baby animals hugging? A cool video of just about anything? Sometimes, I get something seemingly light-hearted and silly…but one that creeps up on you and makes me think….this is one such joke.

Bear with me here…

An old man, a boy and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked.

As they went along, they passed some people who remarked “What a shame, the old man is walking and the boy is riding!”  The man and boy thought that maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people who remarked “What a shame…he makes that little boy walk.” So they then decided they’d both walk.

Soon they passed some more people who remarked “They’re really stupid to walk when they have a decent donkey to ride.”

So they both rode the donkey.

Not long after, they passed some people who shamed them by saying “How awful to put such a load on a poor donkey.”

The boy and the man figured they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story….

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass goodbye!

Cute story, right???

But I’m sure, as you read it, that one or two friends came to mind. One or two people who can NEVER say no. Who hate to disappoint.  Now, honestly, the punchline doesn’t necessarily perfectly fit, because if you want to really take it literally, these people aren’t trying to please everyone, but are simply easily influenced.

Like our children.

But I tend to like the direction that they take it in – the idea of in pleasing everyone, you usually short-change yourself.

I think this can be an easy trap to fall into as a mom.  We spend so much time taking care of everyone else that it is easy to put our own needs on the back burner particularly in December with Christmas approaching: there is cookie baking, holiday parties, gifts to buy, gifts to wrap, and requests hitting you left and right.

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with wanting to help – it is a very admirable trait. But, I do think that some of us get to a point where we need to (but have a difficult time to)  say “enough”.

Try it. Go on.

“No, I’m sorry, I can’t do that”.

Just saying that out loud makes some of us feel very uncomfortable. A bit cringe-y.  If you’re like me, you can’t just stop there…you have to blather on about WHY you can’t do whatever it is you’ve been asked to do.

My husband always grouches with me at this point. “You’re saying too much. Just say no”.
Easy for him to say. He’s the boss at work, and he’s not getting a million seemingly small tasks laid upon him.

It’s a trait I need to work on, the people pleasing, the not saying no. It’s especially hard to do during the holidays, at a time called “the season of giving”.

This season, though, I’m going to try to find more balance.

Give my kids the gift of presence.


And thinking back to my dad’s emailed joke, be careful with my donkey, if you know what I mean.


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