For a woman one of the hardest things in the world is to just say no. We tend to want to please. We fear rejection from our peers, family and community. We want to be on top and have the need to feel needed. Some of us even think that the whole world would crumble if it wasn’t for our dedication and attention to detail. Well, if I don’t step up and do it who will? But when is it too much? When do you say no?
It’s been a difficult journey for me to let go and say no sometimes. I’m not perfect by any means. I swore this year that I would not be room parent for my boys classes, but when push came to shove I ened up being room parent for both classes and it was just miserable. I knew it was going to be, but I felt guilty. Who was going to do it if I didn’t? I also felt honored that they wanted me so badly. It’s twisted isn’t it? As I looked around it was always the same parents volunteering, driving from here to there, coaching, attending meetings and eating their meals in the car because there was no time to stop. You are important if every single minute of your life is full. We do it for the kids. That’s what we tell ourselves, even when our child is so exhausted that they fall asleep in the car before practice and we have to wake them up because they NEED to keep going. After eating my first meal in the car, I said NO. My family and I are more important than this madness that has become the norm.
I still struggle with saying no. I feel left out of certain events because I haven’t been on the field or at every meeting. People have become close and I sometimes sit on the sidelines like stranger in my own town. There are many reasons for that, but I know that saying no is one of them. I came to the realization that I needed to care for myself and my family when my husband was injured a few years ago. He couldn’t drive for a few months and everything fell on me. People tend to forget about the caregiver in a situation such as this and sympathy was not something anyone offered me. I learned to ask for help, but saying no saved my soul. People will still respect you and think you’re pretty great even if you don’t show up at every event or make award winning pies for the church. The ones that don’t, well they’re the ones that aren’t going to be around when you have nothing left give.
If you find it hard to say no just remember these few things:
1. If it doesn’t feel good at the time you say yes, it certainly isn’t going to feel good when you actually do it.
2. Does this benefit me or my family in any way shape or form?
3. Am I physically and mentally able to handle the task? (More on this later!)
Be kind to yourself and be kind to the folks that someday say no to you. They might be feeling just as overwhelmed.