Soul-Fed Mama: How To Say No
Often in my life I have fallen into the habit of saying “yes” when I really want to say “no.” I’ve done it out of a sense of obligation, or wanting to please others, or because I felt like other things in my life were not worthy of setting aside time for. Most of the time, I regret my answer and resent the time and energy I spend on the obligation.It is something I see lots of moms doing. We don’t want to let anyone down, we feel like we need to be able to do everything, and we put ourselves and our needs last. It is a habit built in the first year of our first child’s life, when they really do need so much from us, but it doesn’t need to become ingrained.If you want a life with room in it for peace, balance, and time for activities that fill you up, you will have to learn how to say no sometimes. Here are some suggestions to make that easier:Be BriefDon’t apologize before you refuse, or follow your answer up with a list of excuses. You are allowed to just say no and you don’t need to justify it. The more you add, the less sure you sound, and the more likely you are to give in and do it anyway (or let someone else talk you in to doing it anyway). You can simply say, “Thanks for asking me, but I don’t have room in my life for that right now.”Never Answer ImmediatelyIf someone asks you to do something and you aren’t sure you want to commit, or if you are sure you don’t want to, but can’t summon your brief answer in that moment, let the person know you’ll get back to them. Give it 24 hours at least. It is easy to agree to something in the moment that you may regret later. Take your time to think it over, consider the time and energy impact on your life and your family, and decide how well it aligns with your priorities and availability. If your answer is yes, you will feel good about it. If it is no, you will feel clear and it will be easy to be brief.Suggest An AlternativeSometimes you really do want to be involved in something, but the thing you are being asked to do is not a good fit for your skills, your time, or your personality. After you have taken time to think it over, let them know you can’t do what was requested, but you’d like to volunteer in a different way. Perhaps your child’s school needs a few volunteer hours from parents, which most parents put into the classroom. If your school day hours are otherwise committed (and that commitment can be to yourself!), maybe you can instead help the school by taking photos at an evening event or helping to get out a seasonal newsletter. Just make sure that the commitment you offer is something you really want and will enjoy doing. [Tweet "When you learn how to say no, you will free up time and energy to do more of what makes you happy."]Where in your life do you struggle to set boundaries or say "no"?