Protect Your Plates


protect your plates

Image Courtesy of Rick Baze Photography

The announcement came across on my Facebook feed and email simultaneously. It was so inviting, so warm, I was instantly excited for my son. The prospect of a club suited to his needs with a great group of kids combined with an encouraging message had me searching for the sign-up box and trying to figure out how to get him there after football practice.
There was only one problem. He didn’t want to do it.
“But WHY?” I asked in a tone only slightly akin to a ten-year-old girl who hasn’t gotten her way.
“Mom, because I don’t want to do it. I can’t handle one more thing on my plate right now.”
Now I should tell you that my son is 12 and very wise for his age. He is currently playing middle school football, participating in multiple on and off-campus clubs and youth groups, and taking his school work very seriously, aiming to keep his lifetime straight-A streak alive. So it is safe to say that his plate for a young not-quite teenager is already quite full.
That didn’t stop me, though, from creating a list in my head of all of the reasons why he should join this group. I had it all prepared, a devastatingly sound argument worthy of the high school debate team captain that I never was, with the intent to coerce my son into adding on another club and activity to his already full plate.
Because the club is good. It would be beneficial to him to join. And I was convinced that my grown-up mom brain knew what was best for my son.

And what was best for my son was to join this club.

After a tedious back and forth, with quite a bit of eye-rolling and foot-stomping (on my part), he won out, standing firm and protecting his incredibly strong boundaries. He would not be swayed no matter how sound an argument I presented and held firm to his decision to say no to this club and to overloading his schedule with one more thing he could not handle, just because the club itself is good.
Sisters, my son at twelve years of age has learned something that I still struggle with to this day, as a 42-year-old woman.

He has learned that sometimes you’ve got to protect your plate at all costs.

In my own life, I overfill my plate almost daily. I stack on thing after thing after thing, tipping the scales so at the end of the day I am often left crawling into bed exhausted and defeated. This happens most often when it comes to motherhood for me. I want to be known as the “Mom Who Shows Up” and, in my pursuit of this non-existent moniker, I often overextend myself and micromanage my children’s lives and their schedules. With three kids in three different schools and a plethora of different activities and sports, it’s an easy trap for me to fall into. I assume the role of chief schedule keeper and activity manager and pile tasks my children are absolutely capable of handling themselves upon my own plate. This does neither me nor them any favors, yet I continually do it to control the outcome and to make their lives GOOD.

But in the pursuit of good for them, I am the one left suffering from an overfilled plate ready to tip over.

The same principle applies to this club, I was just too blind to see it. This club is a very good club. It would be incredible for my son. This is an undebatable fact. But sometimes GOOD is not GOOD for us. And my son was wise enough to see this.
Sisters, just because a thing is good, does not mean it would be good for us to add on to our plates. We are no good to our friends, our families or ourselves if we are at a tipping point every single day. And no matter how good might be, if it is the straw that breaks the camel’s back of your sanity, it is not worth it.
It is not easy, I know. But sometimes the best answer is NO, even to good things.


So take this as the permission you need, from a 12-year-old, to protect your plate and say no to even the good things if the good things are too much.


To more love,



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