Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A Busy Mom's Guide to Saying No

Busyness is everywhere. Kids are busy and moms are struggling to keep up with it all. Calendars are full and there isn't much margin for error anywhere.

Moms that seem to have it together get asked to help a lot. It's kind of assumed, I think, that since they have it together they can handle one more thing. The problem is that since they think we have it all together, we want to keep up the pretense so we don't say no.

Anyone knows that if you have kids extra time is not something that is available. Moms know there isn't really extra time either but still say yes when asked to make a dessert, cook a meal, or help with another event.

Part of self-care is setting boundaries and learning to say no to things that are going to stress you or strain you beyond your capacity.

Saying yes to something, means saying no to something else. 

Here are some guidelines to use when deciding if
you should commit to something:

1. Pause, never say yes immediately
This is number one because it is the most important. This is a perfect time to use the pause strategy. Before you say yes, take a breath and ask for time. If there isn't time to make a decision then it's not for you. Saying yes without thinking often leads to regret. Remember PAUSE. 

2. Consult your calendar
What does your schedule look like? Is there white space? Is there margin? What are you going to have to give up in order to commit to something else?

3. Think Long term 
Stop and think what other long term commitments you have on your calendar. Do you want to add another one? Can you add another one? What does your year look like? What other things do you have coming up on the horizon?

4. Consider the brain power
Is saying yes going to require that you spend extra time planning? Do you have the surplus of brain power to dedicate to this commitment? Do you want to use your brain power on this particular thing?

5. Examine your reason
Why do you want to say yes? Is it fear of missing out (FOMO)? Are you trying to make friends? Do you feel pressured? 

6. Check with your spouse
The only other person that knows the true you is your spouse. He sees you at the end of the day.  You won't be asking for permission just an opinion. Ask him to be honest and then consider his reasons. 

7. Reflect on your goals
What are your personal goals? What are your family goals? What are your spiritual goals? What are your intellectual goals? Does this help you in any of these areas? 

This can be a lot to remember. Here is a little cheat sheet to keep with you by your calendar to help you as you decide if this request is something you want to commit to.

Saying yes is about helping the person or committee that needs help. But saying yes also is about you. Consider these guidelines and then determine if this is the thing you want to give your yes to. Remember, saying yes to one thing means saying no to another. 


Pause phrases:
1. Do you need an answer right now?
If they need an answer right now, then it should be no. Make it a hard rule that you won't say yes to anything on the spot. 

2. Can I get back to you?
If when you go home you continue to mull the idea over then pray about it and use the guidelines to guide you. If you never think about it again, you don't really want to do it so you know the answer.

3. Let me check with my husband?
This isn't permission it's just asking his opinion and honestly your yes will affect him also.

4. Is there more information or details that I need to know?
Sometimes you need to figure it all out before you can say yes. Giving a yes before you know all the details can end in regret.

If you decide that this is not something you want to give your yes to, here are some phrases to say no politely.

Saying no politely:
1. I'd love to but I can't.
2. My schedule is full right now.
3. You're so sweet to think of me, but I can't.
4. I wish I could, but I can't.
5. I've got everything on my calendar that I can handle right now.

Saying no is something that is often a struggle. It's something that not everyone feels comfortable doing. It takes time and practice to say it without being nervous. However once you feel comfortable saying no, you will feel empowered and more self confident. 

Say yes to you 100% of the time and pause for everyone else. This doesn't make you selfish it makes you wise.

I'm praying for you! You're doing a great job mama!

P.S. If you'd like a cheat sheet to keep with you of these guidelines, click here.

P.S.S. Here are some books that helped me
The Best yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands 
Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

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