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31 Days – Saying No

It seems like such an easy thing, saying no.  It is a complete sentence after all.  However, saying no is probably one of the hardest sentences to say today.

There is always someone that needs help, help baking for a fundraiser for your child’s sports team, 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, it is easy to put myself last.  There are so many things constantly vying for my attention, and there are a lot of balls that need to be juggled.  Moms, especially homeschool moms, tend to just keep pushing forward.  We want to make sure that our children have a parent that is reliable for all those extra activities, we want to make sure that the committees have all the people they need, but it can sometimes come at the expense of our own personal self-care. That is when saying no comes into play.

Saying No

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 a way I would not 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 committee or volunteer project that your heart isn’t into?

I want to reiterate, I am not saying “say no to everything,” but instead 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.

What are you saying yes to?

I would challenge you to really think about the obligations.  Are there some things that perhaps someone else could do?  Have you thought about the fact that if you are saying yes to something you aren’t passionate about, you are taking away the opportunity from someone who may actually be well suited for that role?

You feel like if you say no, we are letting someone down, or they will never be able to find someone else to do whatever itis 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 for?

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.

What should you being saying yes and no to?

I would suggest making a list of all your commitments.  Obviously, there are some that are non-negotiable (you are still going to homeschool your kids, you are still going to clean and maintain your home), but perhaps there are some commitments that you really could remove.

Is there an activity that your kids have been involved in for a while, but they don’t enjoy it as much as they used to?  What about a committee at your church that you volunteer for, is that truly your gift in the church to be on that committee?  Or is it something that you felt guilty about saying no to?  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 that thing.  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 who has passion for that task take it on instead.  Does this mean that we only say yes to our passions?  No, it doesn’t.  Sometimes there are things that we don’t enjoy that we still have to do.  Especially if we have already committed to them.  But, it doesn’t mean that you have to continue to do that thing in the future.  Instead, you can choose to say no the next time.

The Bottom Line

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?

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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  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 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!

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

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

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