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Why Moms Cancel

As I've been touring the country promoting my new book, See Mom Run, I've had the opportunity to meet women who took time out of their busy day to laugh. Whether we were letting our hair down at Calista spa, getting our brows done in Boston, sharing hilarious stories at the YWCA in Ridgewood, meeting incredible moms at the JCC in Charlotte, or singing at the Comedy Sportz Theatre in Chicago, I have been thrilled that there are supportive women out there who take time away from errands, their kids schedules and everyday demands to get a dose of the See Mom Run spirit.

Though we've had a nice turnout at our events, what I have increasingly found are the number of women who don't respond to our invites at all. Or better yet, the ones who say they will come and then at the eleventh hour send an email apologizing that they can't make it due to either a work or family conflict. While I've been guilty of that offense myself, I've begun to make a concerted effort to attend the events I've committed to. The reason - if you say you're going to be somewhere, people are counting on you to attend.

These days, it is so easy to cancel via email that we don't even think about how those no shows affect the people, charities or companies hosting the event. While you may think no one will miss you if you flake and don't show up, think again. You are one of many who do the same exact thing on a regular basis. More often than not, people cancel attending events more than the ones who actually go to them.

Now I know as much as anyone else that as moms, we all have a list a mile long of all the things we need to accomplish on a daily basis. Work a full time job. Supermarket shopping, laundry, clean the house, take kids to baseball, football, ice skating, birthday parties and more. What we don't realize is that we get so caught up running on the treadmill of life that we're missing out on experiencing those moments in time where dare I suggest it, we can actually enjoy ourselves and relax.

I recently read "Showing Up for Life" by Bill Gates Sr. where he shared anecdotes about how he always made it a point to attend social events, charity functions, professional gatherings and family get togethers. Every experience led to new opportunities - so much so that connections he and his wife made in their many charitable circles helped jumpstart the career of their son, Bill Jr. If you ask me, being a gazillionaire is not too shabby if all it took was showing up for life (and a brilliant son of course).

Trust me when I give you this important piece of personal and professional advice. You need to show up. Show up for a networking event that could lead to your next job or a consulting gig. Show up for an evening with your girlfriends and not a night in front of the TV playing Farm Animals on Facebook. Show up for a charity event or a book club party. Or a mah jong game. For God sakes, show up for life.

My grandma Dora used to have a saying about people who don't show up for special occasions. "If you don't come, you don't have to go home." With her thick Yiddish accent and a shrug of her shoulders, what grandma meant was that people who don't come to social gatherings inevitably miss out. Sure I love staying home with my family and cuddling up on a crisp December night (and no, I refuse to wear the Snuggie my husband just purchased at True Value Hardware). But I also love the chance to visit new places, meet up with girlfriends, network with like-minded individuals, attend family gatherings or dare I say, go out on a date with my husband.

We are mothers, not martyrs and it's about time we take time for ourselves by saying yes and meaning it. If you agree to attend a social event - whether it be for a friend, a relative, a charity, school or business associate, then do the right thing and show up. If you think you won't be missed, then think again.

As the saying goes, you snooze you lose. So why not say yes and mean it next time? And here's another tip - it's okay to say no too. If you know from the start you can't make an event, you're much better off being upfront and honest than stringing someone along and canceling at the last minute. Of course, you can never predict whether your child is going to come down with swine flu, but for the most part, you should be able to gauge whether you can stay true to your word.

So why not give it a shot? Reunite with old friends or network with the people who may hold the key to your next big break. Show up for life and stop making excuses. And you never know. You may even find yourself having a great time along the way.

Posted in: Blog, PR 101 for Moms, PR 365, Role Mommy Confessions on 12/23/2009


  • I think the hardest part for me is to follow through with things I commit to... especially when the event is hosted by a good friend. It's like I can't say no... and then when it comes down to it, I really don't have the time or money to go. I hate to cancel, but I'm getting better at sticking to the commitments I make because it really bugs my husband. That's my NYR!


  • I used to be a rock solid rsvp. This past fall my record has tarnished. Here's the thing, I want to go to everything I RSVP to, but I have been overcommitting myself. In 2010 I am going to strive to say yes to only the events I really want to attend. I'm going to put a more strict filter on my yes's. Great post Beth.

  • I totally agree. And, as someone who plans events for 35+ moms, it takes a lot of time and effort to organize functions, and you are missed if you RSVP to attend and don't show...especially if you don't take the time to cancel. Life can easily take over if we let it....but I embrace what you wrote...Just Show Up! You owe it to yourself and the others who look forward to spending time with you. Robin, founder, Motherhood Later...Than Sooner (http://www.MotherhoodLater.com)

  • Thank you so much Niri for the link and the comment! I have to say spending quality time with you in Boston and hearing about your incredible life was one of the highlights of the See Mom Run tour! And Julia...I cannot wait to see you again in NYC when I get to visit "Eloise" at the W Hotel...will share many more Grandma Dora-isms with you in 2010.

  • Soo agree! I actually posted it in one of my Friday 5 about party etiquette. Very frustrating and a total lack of respect of the host. I have a 3 strikes and you are out of my list for future invites (unless they just don't show and don't call later - then you are just out).

    On a side note, I have no idea who would miss a fun time at your event. I know I wouldn't

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