No. 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?