Help keep your time commitments in check with these catchall phrases.
"It's just not possible for me at this time." Constantly asked to make commitments to things you just don't have time for? This is a great phrase for almost any situation. Tip: Try not to elaborate on details too much. You are not obligated to fill people in on why something is not possible for you.
"With my (fill in the blank), I'm trying to keep my schedule open and flexible." Are you feeling that other parents are taking advantage of your willingness to drive the carpool or play hostess to play dates? Use this phrase and fill in the blank for whatever works for you (my elderly mother, my work, my new puppy). This is a gentle way of saying "Right now, my family is my top priority."
"I'd love to be the worker bee this time around." Want to be involved but not be in charge? This phrase implies that you can still volunteer time, just not make a huge commitment to run the school fair or be troop leader.
"I'm scaling back my commitments over the next year." Feeling pressured to join an organization, or are you looking for a way out? This phrase is generic enough that no organization can take it personally. It also frames the situation so that people know you'll be available at some point, just not right now.