If I could read your mind would I find you feeling worn out, overextended and maybe even a little resentful?
Are you a mom who just cannot say “No”?
There was a time when I said yes to just about every request…
Can you coordinate the class Valentine’s Day party? Will you chair the Book Fair? Could you make calls for the Phone a thon? Will you stay late tonight to help with the project?
I was pulled in too many different directions. I wasn’t able to share my best self with my family, my friends or my co- workers. I wasn’t enjoying anything I said yes to.
I was exhausted.
It was time for a reset. So, I drew a line in the sand and decided to just say no. It was really hard. It’s just so darn easy to say yes and so hard to say no. Saying yes makes everyone happy and saying no makes everyone…well, not so happy.
And I didn’t say no very well. In my desire to be nice and not hurt anyone’s feelings I’d leave the door just a tad ajar which led to…
“Well, if you’re busy on Monday nights we can move the meetings to another night. You just say when!”
“No babysitter is no problem. We have free childcare!”
“That’s okay! You can just pay me for the tickets later- it’s no hurry!”
My reset wasn’t going very well. My no’s were more like maybes! I was feeling even more resentful because, “Didn’t I say no?”
Time for me to be a grown-up and learn to say no gracefully and really mean it. My family deserved better than a tired mom who only made frozen tortellini for dinner.
After years of saying yes too often and years of saying no in the wrong way, I have finally got the secret sauce on how to say no gracefully (and really mean it).
1- Be your own best friend! Only you know what is truly most important to you. Maybe it’s important to you to spend quality time each night with your son? To start your own small business? To take control of your health? To strengthen your relationship with your husband? To achieve your annual sales goal? Get clear on what YOU want in your life.
The only way to know what is truly important to you is to take some time to reflect on these three areas of your life: Family, Personal, and Professional/Volunteer. Grab a pen and paper and make a written Priorities List (click here to download a free worksheet to help you with this). Your written Priorities List is your “go-to” guide to consider before accepting a new project or commitment. Ask yourself, “Will this use of my time help me meet my priorities or distract me from them?” Your Priorities List will keep you on course. Through the years your priorities will shift, so revisit your list yearly and edit it as needed. Today my Priorities List as a wife, mother to older teens and business owner is much different than it was years ago as a stay at home mom with three toddlers!
2-Be honest, polite and firm when declining. “Thank you for inviting me to the banquet. You’re so good to think of me. I just can’t take on any new commitments this month.” Notice, I didn’t say, “I really wish I could” or “I’m so sorry” or “It’s not in my budget right now.” Leave no wiggle room. Keep it short and sweet. And smile while you say no- that’s important. 🙂
3-Have an accountability buddy. For me this is my sister- she knows what’s important to me and she can be an impartial adviser. When you’re torn about whether to take on a new commitment, run it by your accountability buddy. Sometimes we are so close to our own situation we can’t see the forest through the trees.
4-Remind yourself that a “no” now doesn’t have to be a “no” forever. Just because you can’t take on a new project or role now doesn’t mean you’re closing that door forever. We can do it all moms, but not all at the same time!
I believe moms are hard-wired to be helpful. Being generous with your time is a wonderful thing. But remember, time is a limited commodity. When you decide to spend your time in one area you are deducting it from another. Choose wisely!
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