Dear Mamas everywhere,
It’s OKAY to say NO.
I’m in a place right now where I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed with pretty much everything. Commitments are skyrocketing, even as the slower pace of summer creeps in. I’m stretched too thin. I feel I don’t have time for all the important people in my life, including myself.
I’m guessing you’ve probably been there. I think we all have at some point. Speaking strictly off the cuff and not as a person who actually has any science to back this up, but the inability to say no is probably a major contributing factor to anxiety for some of us.
We say yes when asked to do something, thinking the task a small one. No problem. We can totally handle it! But the small tasks add up, and suddenly we’re standing at the foot of a mountain looking toward the top and incapable of seeing the summit.
The trouble is we don’t want to let anyone down. A lot of women, moms especially, are people pleasers. We want to make people happy and keep them that way, so we sacrifice ourselves and our own mental health (and sometimes physical health too) in an effort to do that.
But that’s just not working, is it?
There comes a point where we feel our responsibilities slipping, taking bits of our peace along with them. Getting behind on a task, or worse, forgetting about it completely, just causes a ripple effect throughout the remainder of things we’ve promised leading to feelings of failure and negative self-talk.
It’s okay to make yourself a priority and to cut back on your commitments when you’re feeling lost in an ocean and barely treading water. I need you to hear me when I say that you’re not letting anyone down by refusing to take on more and more and more. (Hi. I’m speaking to myself here, too.)
Saying no is a skill we all need, and we only get better at saying no by practicing it. Reducing the number of commitments we make allows us to focus more intently on those we choose to accept.
Whether it’s refusing to join another committee at school, church, or work, or being honest and saying “no visitors” while in the hospital or after coming home with a new baby, the value in saying no is the same. Saying no is being honest with yourself and others about what you can handle and when.
Give it a shot in the coming weeks. Think about the commitments you’re accepting and remember that it’s okay to say no.
I promise. I’m learning to say no, too.