The Art of Saying No

Post to Twitter

saying_no_frenchbydesign_jobs_wmYou learn a lot of things as a new mom. I mean a lot (these I will continue to elaborate on). But when you are a new mom and a working mom, one thing you have to learn quickly is the art of saying no. This is something I have NEVER been good at nor ever thought I would need to be good at saying. I was just always the person who kept all the balls in the air and came through in a pinch. And then, H came along. All of a sudden, I was doing well to just figure out this whole mom thing. Forget trying to manage everything else. I had a tiny newborn who relied on me for literally everything. So over the past almost 10 months, I have learned how to say no gracefully. It’s still a slow work in progress, but here are my few thoughts on maintaining balance with a new baby.

It starts with laser focus. If what you are asking me to do is not related to my family or helping me pursue my dreams, right now I just cannot help out.  Before I came back to work, I spent some time praying and thinking about what I wanted with my life. I also attended a weekend workshop to help refine career goals. I know what I want to do and I know my time with H is precious. So I am very careful about what I commit to, especially if it means any after work or weekend time.

Realize this is a phase. H won’t always need me like he does right now. At some point, I will stop being his primary food source and he will become enamored with all the cool stuff dad lets him do. I am pretty sure he will always be a mama’s boy, but I know there will come a time when an after work meeting won’t be a huge deal. When rushing home at 5:00 won’t be necessary. But right now it is. Right now an after work meeting means less time I have before he goes to bed and missing out on the joys of dinner time and evening laughs.

Life is not about you. This is something I am slowly learning. If I say no, it won’t be the end of the world. The event will still happen, the meeting will go on, someone else will step up. By saying no, I am allowing other people to step in and I am giving myself a chance to step back. Honestly, it’s also a little bit of a relief. Carrying the burdens of keeping things going on your shoulders is a lot. Spread the wealth of things to do and realize if something does slip up, it’s ok.

Relish the moments, not the to-do list. I love to make lists and say “yes” so learning to say no has been a journey. Along the way, I have realized the moments matter. Sure, I can go to one more event or accomplish one more task, but then I risk missing out on H learning to crawl or finally saying “mama” (we are still working on that one!). The more I do, the more I realize it is not about what you do. It is about the relationships and the people you accomplish things with and helping them to succeed.  As I enjoy the moments, I find my yes becoming more about saying yes to coffee or yes to a friend who asks for help and less about yes for the sake of appearing busy.

Saying no is an art and takes practice. If you are anything like me, it won’t come easy and 10 months later, you will find yourself still struggling to say no even when you know you should. In those moments, I stop and breathe and remind myself of H and of the laser focused dream I am pursuing. If the potential yes does not apply to either of those areas, my answer is no.

What do you need to say no to? How have you found it easier to say no? Let me know in the comments!