Monday, October 12, 2015

31 Days - Saying No

It seems like such an easy thing, saying no.  However, I think that saying no is probably one of the hardest things to say today.

There is always someone that needs help, help baking for an activity at your child’s school, a party to go to, a committee that needs more members; but when you are saying yes to these activities, you have to say no to something.

What is that something?

I think that often we can get caught up in the trap of saying yes to everything but ourselves. 

For me, and I think this is true for a lot of moms, we put ourselves last.  We want to make sure that our children have a parent that is reliable for all those extra activities, but it can sometimes come at the expense of our own personal self-care.

Don’t misunderstand me; I am not saying that you should always say no.  Instead I want you to evaluate what you are really saying no to.

Do you ever feel like if you don’t step in and volunteer, it will all fall apart?

I realized at a young age that it is better to “just do it myself” rather than let someone else take control.  There is less disappointment that way, at least in my experience.  A group project that always seemed to fall completely on my shoulders, or something set up in not the way I would want it done – it was easier to do it myself.

However, when we take all that responsibility, our self-care and overall health can suffer.

At some point you have to say no to something, and do you want it to be your health, or to another fundraiser at work or school? 

I want to reiterate, I am not saying “say no to everything,” but perhaps it would be good to write down everything that you are involved in, and see which are your passions and which you feel are obligations.

I would challenge you to really think about the obligations.  Are there some things that perhaps someone else could do? 

I think a lot of us feel like if we say no, we are letting someone down, or they will never be able to find someone else to do whatever it is that needs to be done.  But, in my experience, saying no is quite freeing.  It allows you to then be more passionate about the things you are saying yes to.

What if we stripped all of the stuff that isn’t necessary from our lives?  How freeing would that be?  Would you have more time for self-care, more time for family?  Would this allow you to say yes to something that you have really wanted to do, but couldn’t manage to “find the time?”

Saying no is hard.

You don’t want to let people down; I don’t want to let people down.  But, sometimes, when we say yes because we don’t want to offend or make someone else’s life a little more complicated, we end up negatively affecting our own life. 

I would suggest making a list of all your commitments.  Obviously there are some that are non-negotiable (you are still going to bring your kids to school, you are still going to work, and you are still going to do the dishes), but perhaps there are some commitments that you really could remove. 

Are you passionate about healthy food in your child’s classroom?  Then don’t give up making healthy snacks to bring in!  But, if you don’t have a lot of time, perhaps try buying something healthy instead of making it from scratch.  What about baking for a bake sale?  Do you love baking, and does it bring you joy?  Great, do it.  If you really do not like baking and it stresses you out, pass on that task and someone else will do it.

I think that we often feel if we say no, no one else will do it.  But, that isn’t true at all.  We need to start speaking up and saying no to what does not energize us, and letting someone else handle some of that.

Trust me, it is hard to say no, but it is also incredibly freeing.

If you can let go of some of that self-made guilt for saying no, you will be happier.  It will be hard at first, but taking that first step to saying no is going to help your self-care so much more than a massage!

Is there one activity that you could say no to today?  What is stopping you?


  1. Saying no is something I struggle with but I'm getting better! Imagine that, it only took 40 years! That being said, sometimes I say yes instead and am happy I did. I think it's all about balance and doing what ultimately is most important. I may not always want to volunteer on a weekly basis but seeing my daughter's smile and knowing I'm contributing? That makes it all worth it. If it means I read one less book or go to bed a little earlier instead of watching a tv show? I guess that's okay too! Baby steps for me but thank you for getting this conversation going!

  2. This has been a problem for me in the past. I'm one that is "paying for it now" :) So I implore each of your readers. Decided what is most important to you and set up some guidelines and then follow them!

  3. Saying no is hard sometimes and I STINK at it. I really need to get better because I get myself into more than I can handle sometimes.

  4. I have a really difficult time saying "no" I'm such a people pleaser, that it just comes as second nature.

  5. Excellent thoughts about being assertive. You want to be strong and make smart choices. Sometimes saying no is appropriate. Thanks for the reminder!
    Karen |

  6. I really need to get better at this. Working full time AND part time jobs, being a mom and a wife, and volunteering with cub scouts has me burned out!

  7. I definitely struggle with never saying no. It is something I need to work on because it has definitely caused a lot of unnecessary stress. I think every mom deserves a break on a regular basis!

  8. Learning to say no is SO important! I didn't realize it at the time, but for a very long while, I was a YES woman. I said yes, because I never wanted to disappoint anyone, or upset anyone. It burnt me out and I was left feeling stretched too thin.

  9. I've recently learned how to say no and it's been the best thing ever. When I would hesitate before I would get overwhelmed and so stressed out. Now I can relax knowing that I'm doing the right thing by saying no at times.

  10. I used to feel bad about saying no, until I realized it wasn't serving me. Even though I sometimes feel guilty, I still think it is important to say no.

  11. I used to feel bad for saying no but then I realized I was putting everyone else first and myself last. I was overwhelmed and drained. So I have started saying no and got my life back!

  12. Saying no is hard! I am working on saying no to good things but maybe not the right things. Thanks for sharing.

  13. This is something so many of us needs to work on. I know I did till I made it a point of putting myself first. Then my guilt melted away and I we able to say no when I wanted or needed too.

  14. I definitely need to do better at this. I read a book from Lysa Teirkurst about this that was amazing!

  15. This is good advise for everyone, not just moms. As Ive gotten older I am much better at saying no. It makes life so much easier than regretting committing to things that I dread and worry about.

  16. I've been working on saying 'no' to people the last couple of years and making sure I'm taking care of myself first. After awhile, it gets a lot easier! In fact, people stop expecting me to do random things for them that I actually don't have time for.

  17. You are so right, we do tend to say yes to everything but ourselves. The thing to remember is that we are not helping our loved ones at all if we are not caring for ourselves first.

  18. Saying no to people and things can be really I hard I totally agree! I think that its super important to take time for yourself though.


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