Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Season of No

A Season of No. Not always what we hear talked about though, right? It's more say yes, expand, try something new. Branch out, be open, go forward. But what about when we need to say no?

Last year I spent a lot of time juggling a lot of things. Running from one meeting to the next, fitting things in between things, and then more things wherever I could. In all honesty I thrive when busy. I like plans and schedules, and I do very well under pressure. I lean towards perfectionism (always trying to fight this), but with that comes a very strong urge to do everything myself, so everything is just how I want it, and giving 110% to anything I sign on for.

However I recognized a need to slow down when I fell in the bathroom a couple months ago and hit my face, ending up in the ER. Do you guys remember that? At that time I was still under one year postpartum, exhausted, stretched way too thin, and had run myself down with work, dealing with my Dad's illness, and everyday life. My body responded to the stress I had created with simply stopping me in my tracks. And I listened.

First, I said no to taking on a new client. This is always hard for me because I really love working. It's funny to say that here- it's another "do you remember" moment- but I can recall really believing when I left teaching I would never go back to work. Never say never has been a huge takeaway through all of this. But anyway, I said no to this client I was set to say yes to, and I remember feeling incredibly relieved after. And I wanted more of that. Next I decided to decline an invitation to be a part of another non-profit board here in town. Another full-body sigh of relief when that wasn't on the horizon. Although I had wanted to do both of these things, I also knew for my own well being I needed to say no. I continued to release myself of any extra things outside of my family, friends, work, and Mothers in Bloom, and it felt good. And so I decided to lean into that.

It's natural to want to say yes to everyone and everything, because yes makes people happy, and making people happy naturally makes us happy. So it was always a yes to a night out with friends, yes to a girls' trip, yes to a new project, a new client or work trip, yes yes yes. But now I ask myself simple questions when making a decision- first and foremost, does this take away time from my family? Is this something that helps me be a better wife or mother? Sometimes the answer to the first question is yes, but the second question is yes too- so I do it. We need time away to recharge and refocus, so even if planning a dinner with girlfriends means I'll miss bedtime, I know I'll come home ready to be a better wife and Mom, with my "friend cup" filled up. This is how I think of working out too- a must for me- and it helps me be a better everything, so it's a major priority I will never skip.

Other questions I ask myself, especially during the work day- is this an income producing activity? Does this further me along with my businesses? Does this reenergize me and inspire me to create? Whatever I'm doing, I want to be there fully. When I'm working, I am working. I do not have a nanny or a babysitter, so it's my responsibility to use every minute I have during naps to maximize my output. With lots of practice I've managed to become very good at time management, but a big piece of that is also saying no to things that will make the rest of my day harder. Yes, going to lunch with a friend on a Monday would be lovely, but if I choose to do that, then I'm going to have to stay up late and complete any projects that need to be finished before the next day.

It's a choice. And we are all in charge of how we spend our time, and the effect our choices have on our lives. I always think about something my Dad would tell me- "you can do it all, but you can't do it all well." Sure I can say yes to everything, but something's got to give. Balance is hard, but it becomes easier when we simplify the things we're trying to maintain.

So yes, I believe you CAN have it all, if you define what your "all" is. You get to decide that, then create it, and have it. It's up to you. I know in my life, my "all" includes deep relationships with my family and friends, enjoying the work I do, taking time out for me, and giving back to my community. It's very simple and I refuse to complicate it.

So maybe you want to join me and say no a little more. Or not...feel free to decline! ;)



  1. Well Said and a good thing to learn early on in life !

  2. Yes! I needed to hear this...I’ve been going back and forth on whether to join the PTO board and I’ve been feeling external pressure from people to do it, but after reading your post I don’t think it’s the best for my mom/wife life even though I want so badly to say yes to make the other moms happy. Saying yes to the board would be a no to something else. Thanks Dani!