Saying yes to no

Saying yes to no - Ever-changing Life of a MumNo. It’s such a simple word. A word parents so often tell their children with ease, however when it comes to others it’s somehow not so simple to utter.

But it’s time. It’s time for me to start saying yes to no.

For the sake of myself and my family, saying no has become an important tool of self-care and protection from overwhelm lately.

My head has been spinning from the number of appointments I have had to juggle – doctors, paediatricians, orthodontists, schools and teachers – on top of a seemingly endless ‘to do’ list.

My calendar is certainly not reflecting the simple, less stressful, less scheduled lifestyle I am hoping to create for  family.

Now the self-doubt has set in and I’ve started to wonder where I have gone wrong. I’ve sat in amazement on many occasions over the past few weeks at how I once ever pulled off working full time while juggling family life.

Lately I have felt like I was drowning in commitment and sometimes I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to come up for air.

It’s also been a time full of emotions as I have started looking for high schools with my eldest daughter, Miss 7 has had partial braces and an expander fitted to correct her front teeth and I’ve also been supporting her through some ongoing emotional issues that have been simmering (more like boiling) away … all the while an ever curious and cheeky toddler has been dragged along on this crazy ride.

The tipping point came one afternoon in the midst of total after school chaos. Miss 11 handed me a notice from school about an upcoming after hours school event. That one small slip of paper was all it took.

Straight away, without a flicker of doubt, I said, “We’re not going to this.” …. “What? Why not?” came the reply, as expected.

My mindset changed and I knew it was time. Time to say no. Time to say ‘no more’, ‘enough is enough’, ‘I can’t’, ‘I do enough’.

Instead of sending the form back indicating our attendance, like I usually would have, I put myself first, I put my family first, and I said no. I held firm to my decision knowing there would be plenty of opportunities to help out at the school in the future. When I can give it 100% of my attention, instead being there in body, but not spirit.

Saying no isn’t easy. It’s an idea I have raised before on the blog when discussing ways I am trying to simplify life for me and my family. But even with that knowledge, it’s so easy to get trapped in the chaos of life and feel like you have to do everything and say yes to everything for fear of guilt or worrying that you may let others down.

In the end, saying no is about questioning the value of you and letting go of that guilt and the notions stuck in your head that you’re being selfish or that others will think you’re being rude or unhelpful.

Saying no has become a necessity for me lately and something I hope will have a calming effect in the coming weeks. It’s definitely not selfish. Because at the end of the day, what matters most to me is my family and the time I spend with them and anyone who truly cares or has my best interests at heart will understand where I’m coming from on this one.

How do you protect yourself from overwhelm? Do you say yes to no?

16 thoughts on “Saying yes to no

  1. Oh this is such an important post for many to read. I hear you on so much here. It is so hard to be spreading YOURSELF thin too. I am glad you said NO but I can also sense that you’d like a little bit of time back and try to get the family needs under some semblance of control. Sigh. If only it worked like that most time! You are doing so well… and the age differences make it even more of a challenge I know!! Denyse #teamIBOT

  2. Ahh lovely. I feel for you. I meant to check in on you about the braces, but I forgot. I hope she’s doing okay xx. It is so easy to over commit and feel overwhelmed. I find it hard to say no also, but am getting better at it. I should be at a P&F meeting tonight, but said no because I have paid work to do. I always feel guilty, but I need to remember to be mindful of my own health. Good luck, lovely x

    • All going well with the braces and expander. The trickiest part was finding foods she could eat at first, but she’s slowly she’s starting to return eating some foods that don’t consist of a liquid diet! I hear you about feeling guilty when saying no, but I’m starting to get better at prioritising what’s most important to me x

  3. Good on you for saying no! There has to be a point where, for your own sanity, you have to refuse. And I think people understand as well. It’s not the massive affront that you think it will be. xx

  4. It’s so funny, I was just listening to the Minimalists podcast and they were talking about the whole yes/no thing. It’s so important, because when you learn to say no to things, you have more time for the things that you want to say yes too, the things that add meaning and value to your life and not things that clutter up your life, or take up your time. That’s not to say that the other things aren’t valid too, but it’s important to remember that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything. Yay for you, for putting the your needs and wellbeing and those of your family first. Who wouldn’t want to say yes to that?!

  5. I think it’s important to say no if you aren’t coping but I also am a firm believer in sqeezing the marrow out of life. I have severe FOMO and hate to think of all the wonderful things I’ll miss because life is just too short. So while I can think of 10 million things I’d rather do that sit in the playground for a school disco, I tend to do it. However when it comes to being with friends, I rarely say no….I have had times when I’ve had to say “I’ve hit the wall, I just can’t come” – most people understand that. I’m a yes person, but that’s because I decided we, as adults, tend to automatically say no as a reflex, rather than trying fun stuff that’s pushing us….

  6. This is a lesson I learnt about 13 years ago, when my last child was in preschool. I found myself spread so thin, doing things that were all good and worthwhile, that I decided I would never put myself in that position again. I learnt to spend the summer reevaluating my priorities and not-negotiable so that I would know what the season ahead required of me. Knowing the priorities I needed to have for my family and my work and doing things that feed my soul has been so important to know what things to say no to.

    This is such an important thing to get comfortable with so that we don’t feel pressured into things that don’t fit our season in life. Also for us, it was about feeling comfortable with not having our children in every other activity under the sun. We have lived a very quiet, unhurried life because we chose not to be on that roller coaster. We have been criticised for it, but we have been happy with the decision and our children have turned out just fine.

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