No Means No

I didn’t think I would get to blog today because of all the everything else. I hit my goal of at least 500 words on the outline front, so here I am.

I’ve been really good about simplifying and selectively cutting back on outside commitments so I can really focus on my family and writing, especially now that Mike is going to start traveling. I need to be around for the boys. I want to be around for the boys.

Mike and I purposely don’t overwhelm our kids with extra curricular activities because we feel the boys should have down time with us. They get one sport and one instrument. For Alex, he’s going to play basketball later this year, takes piano lessons and altar serves. I know. That’s three, but I don’t really count altar serving as an extra curricular activity. Gabriel just decided he would try Cub Scouts and hasn’t come to a decision on anything else yet. For us, that’s totally ok.

That’s not what every family chooses to do and I get that. Do what works for you, I always say.

I am finding that saying ‘no’ to people gets some interesting responses. The most shocking to me is “Why not?” Usually, I respond quickly explaining myself, but why should I have to? I’m an adult and I said no. That’s really all there should be to it. I’m not rude about it either. I always say, “I’m sorry, I really can’t commit to that this year.” That should be the end of it, right? Wrong.

No Means No by @fillpraycloset #responsibility #accountability

I’ve been questioned about whether I was sure I was making the right decision to said requests. I was asked repeatedly over a few days, by different people whether I had changed my mind or for clarification. (I know, right?!)

There’s nothing wrong with cutting back. In fact, isn’t that the best thing to do? Cut back, make more time for family, prayer and yourself? Mike calls it taking a step back and taking a personal inventory. We joke about it when he says that because it seems hokey, but for real, isn’t that what we all need to do at one time or other in our lives? That’s just trying to make the right decision so you avoid burnout, or maybe it’s just coming to a realization about who you are and what you can handle.

If I don’t participate in certain activities, does that make me a less faithful Catholic? Hmmm, that’s an interesting theory. Is that how I am perceived? As not “on fire for my faith”. It’s a shame that that’s the first conclusion some people have come to. Granted, I’ve had some prayer life problems of the dry variety, but that doesn’t meant that I’m considering a lukewarm path to my faith! Come on, people!

It’s almost as if the thought is, by all means, cut back, but not on what I’m asking of you because what I need is SO important. These reactions make me feel as if I’m only as good as the last thing I volunteered for. (Yep, I said it.) The assumption is that I will always say yes, and that’s not really fair. I can’t and won’t always say yes. I don’t think anyone should feel pressured to say yes. Moreover, people shouldn’t try to get my husband to get me to say yes. (What? Yes! That happened too.)

As a full time working mother and wife, my plate is pretty full. I can’t give what I don’t have. What I can give I will, and right now, my boys (Mike and God included) get all I have. Sorry, there’ll be no blood from this stone.

I still attend mass, pray daily, and focus on the few things I have consciously, thoughtfully and prayerfully chosen to keep working toward. I ticked all the boxes in a meaningful way and it’s unfortunate that others don’t get that it’s really not about them or their important thing that they desperately need me for. I’m not even that important guys. All this means, is that other people are now given the opportunity to step up, try something new, or find a new way of completing a task that maybe shouldn’t be on auto pilot.

How about you? What happens when you say no?

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22 thoughts on “No Means No

  1. The reactions you get just show that people aren’t used to hearing “no” from you, which probably means you say yes too often. I’ve been guilty of this, too. It can be hard to do.

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  2. Great post! As a mother of eight – and home schooling – I understand the guilt of not being able to do other things besides. But there is a season under Heaven – the kids will only be children once.

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  3. I applaud your decision! I said “no” to singing in the church choir during my daughter’s senior year of high school so that our family had more time together (I continued to cantor at Mass and at funerals). The reaction was, as expected, a bit negative but most people understood. Now that my daughter has flown from the nest I will return to choir but not every Sunday. You see, I still have a daughter in the nest and I so enjoy family time on Sundays. My life will be very different when they’ve both gone. I want to enjoy them while I have them!! Bravo, my dearest friend!! xoxo, S

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    1. It’s tempting believe me. I had a long talk with myself (ok so I was yelling) and whenever something pops up that I would usually say yes to, I match it to what my goals are. If the new shiny thing doesn’t further those goals, then they get the big ‘ol NO!

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  4. People are seriously giving you a hard time for saying no to something?

    How dare you.

    How dare you push them into an uncomfortable place in their mind where they say, ‘Wait, maybe I should do that,’ but instead of re-evaluating their own lives, they’ll just keep pressing forward, convinced that staying too busy and not thinking is the best idea.

    I can say that, because I am that person. I’m proud of you. I admire you. Somehow I admire you more everyday, and I have no idea how, because each time I’m convinced that I couldn’t adore you more.

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    1. People are srsly responding that way. And it’s slightly shocking to me every time I get those kinds of responses. You have no idea how you are helping my writing, lady. No idea.

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  5. I’m a recovering people-pleaser, and I know how hard it is to say no. I get especially weird looks when I tell someone I can’t go because I’m ‘writing,’ but I am starting to learn how to put my foot down.

    What we have to realize is that if we burn ourselves out trying to help everyone, we end up being of no use to anyone. And that’s especially harmful to family life. Set your priority time for those who are closest to you, and more importantly, yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you don’t have anything left to give. If you don’t set aside time to do things you enjoy, then life feels unfulfilling and too much like work. Eventually, you get grouchy and exhausted that’s no good for anybody.

    So don’t feel bad about saying no. People will get over it!

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    1. I don’t feel bad so much as get this quizzical look on my face when they respond the way they do.

      Granted, all this time I’ve freed up means I gotta make good with the goods and that, SCARY!

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      1. I know. Sometimes when I make a big deal about having time to myself I can’t write afterward. I’m afraid it won’t be good enough to justify my demands.

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  6. People are cray cray. I’ve never had this problem because I always say no. I’m actually on the flip side of this and starting to say yes. I’m trying to branch out and step up more. I’m so proud of you for knowing where your true priorities are 🙂

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  7. It took me alot of practice to say no, and no without an explanation too! Truth is you don’t owe anyone an explanation (I have a friend who sees the explanation as debatable points) so no explanation. Pretty shocked though that more than one person is pushing! I only had trouble with the one person. Practice does make it easier though, encouraging you in saying no, eventually it’s quite liberating

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    1. Thank you, Erin! I was shocked at the more than one person thing too! I felt like they were ganging up on me! Sniff, so I made sure to have extra ice cream to reward myself for being so serious about my NO!

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