Chicago mom learns it’s okay to say “no”

In a Pinterest driven, social media filled world, it’s easy to feel like you have to “DO ALL THE THINGS,” and that saying “no” to opportunities, commitments, or really anything that is asked of you, is a bad thing.

Yep, I’m one of those women.

I’m full of ideas, desires and dreams. I genuinely want to help and volunteer and “DO ALL THE THINGS.” But I also like to sleep and shower occasionally. My family would really like me to do laundry and I’m pretty sure that if I have any friends left they would love to hang out. There are just not enough hours in the day.

I said “no” once. The world didn’t stop spinning, I wasn’t struck by lightening, and I lived to see another day. I had a near anxiety attack, but I did it. Sometime between then and now I have stopped saying no. Or if I say “no,” I hem and haw and give an explanation.

“No” is a complete sentence.

I found that on pinterest. Ironic, huh?

I made it the wallpaper on my phone as a reminder. I don’t have to say “yes,” or even “maybe.”

“But if I don’t do it, no one will.”

That’s the thought that is the most guilt inducing and the most damaging little sentence in my head. Of course there is no one else to do it because they know I (or someone like me) will do it. Organizations, members, communities, become complacent because they assume those that always step up, will. Those that always do, become burned out and bitter. In reality, saying “no” is better for all of us. It forces someone else to do it. Or something doesn’t get done and people realize, “Hey, I need to step up next time so xyz gets done.”

October is overbooked.

Like, December overbooked.

I am adjusting (not well) to working from home, having kids in two different schools and a toddler who is not content to sit and watch me work. This particular week finds me with less help and more work and well, it’s starting to feel like a hamster wheel.

So today I said “no.”

I said, “No I will not make dinner when we walk in the door at five from an extra long day at school with a crying toddler and a second grader with a pile of homework. I will go to a drive-thru. I will feed my kids and everyone will be happy.”

It was a little “no,” but it’s a step in the right direction.

I pray you can say “no” to something today too. Big or small, we all need to learn that it’s okay to not be perfect all the time.

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