Add this one word to your vocabulary more often and watch your productivity improve drastically.
“No”. It’s a complete sentence.
Saying “no” may make you feel like a bad person, especially if you are a people pleaser, but the thing is…
Keeping up with everyone else’s expectations of how you should spend your most valuable asset, your time, can be stressful and detrimental to your self-care.
Here is what you need to know.
1. YOUR TIME IS LIMITED
Saying “no” is a realization and appreciation for the value of your time. This isn’t bad it just means you understand that your time matters.
Often, we try to make time for all our pre-baby relationships, our family members, our friends, our jobs, and our baby. But mama, if you are like me, then you’ll quickly learn that there are only 24 hours in a day and 70% are probably already claimed by a need for sleep and your child.
It may feel overwhelming at first but when you learn to say “no” you’ll feel freer to enjoy the time you have remaining to do whatever you’d like to do and not what other people want you to do.
2. NOT EVERYTHING IS A PRIORITY
Saying “no” will confirm your new priorities for yourself and other people too. Before giving birth, lots of things that we thought were priorities kinda slip down the list of things that really matter.
Children can provide a new lens on life and our priorities change. Unfortunately, not everyone in your life will understand your new list of priorities and that will leave you needing to say “no” more often.
- No…you can’t stay late.
- No…you can’t pick up (____).
- No…you can’t attend that social event.
Those things are no longer your priority and the people who love you the most will understand.
However, there will be other people who don’t understand and will miss you making them and their goals your priority; those people will think you have changed in a way that doesn’t benefit them. That may be 100% true and OK to acknowledge.
Some people in our life are seasonal and your season just changed mama.
3. NOT EVERY PROBLEM YOU HEAR ABOUT IS YOUR OWN
Saying “no” can release you from feeling that every problem you know about is your own.
Now that you have the huge responsibility of raising a little human, you don’t need any outside problems.
You may find yourself distancing yourself from the problem makers in your life that you were previously content to let hang around. This means you may end up saying declining events and occasions to hang out with certain people. You may even find yourself questioning your employment and professional goals.
It’s probably not because you don’t care, it may be that your resources are limited and you may be more inclined to just listen or offer advice without jumping to solve the problem yourself with your own resources.
4. SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH
Saying “no” can be self-care and self-care is not selfish. If you are going to serve the people you love adequately, you need fuel in your engine and that fuel is self-care.
Making time for self-care, as a woman and as a mom, limits your ability to do everything for everyone. Self-care may look different from person-to-person, but you know what you need to have the energy and nourishment you need to care for your family every day.
Not taking care of those needs can leave the people you love without the fulfilled mom, wife, etc. they need and want.
5. RELATIONSHIPS DON’T HAVE TO BE ALL OR NOTHING
You may find yourself saying “no” to the all or nothing mentality. Prior to becoming a mom, you may have been completely available for most of your friends and relationships. It gets considerably more difficult to maintain each of those relationships but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on them.
- Your seven phone calls a week may drop down to two and depending on the relationship, that can be OK.
- Those weekly phone calls may drop down to monthly phones, which can be OK too.
Some relationships don’t require that you talk to each other every day. Some friends can go months without speaking and pick right back up with no problem. Those are the amazing bonds you don’t want to lose. So, plan to connect with those friends when time permits. Something can be better than nothing.
6. IT’S NOT A BAD WORD
“No”, or other variations of saying “no” politely are not bad words. Children become a great reason to say ‘no’ and reclaim your time and spend it how you need, to be happy and sane.
The word should be able to be spoken without feeling dirty or like you’ve offended anyone. I was often told that it’s not always what you say, it’s how you say it. This means you don’t need to say your ‘no’ harshly. In fact, I recommend saying it pleasantly and going about your business. Most times, you probably don’t even need an explanation.
PRACTICE MAKES BETTER
It’s easy to feel guilty when you first start saying ‘no’ but it gets easier with practice. It may never get completely comfortable for you saying the two-letter word but it can change your life.
If you know you are doing it for the well-being of your family and yourself, no guilt should be involved.
As you begin to say ‘no’, something magical begins to happen. Some people change their expectations of you.
- People don’t expect you to be at the office for the after-hours work party.
- People don’t’ expect you to be the carpool maven anymore.
Basically, most people will begin to value the time you give them and not expect you when you haven’t made any commitments.
Saying ‘no’ doesn’t make you a bad person, it can make you a responsible person for knowing your limitations and availability and not making more commitments than you can handle. It’s a great trait to pass on to our children – when they get older of course. 😉
What do you think? Do you already find yourself using the word “no” more often?
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