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I am chronic people-pleaser. I prefer to say yes to people who ask me for favors, volunteering help, or jobs such as team mom. I also often enjoy taking charge, planning and organizing, and helping out. I love speaking at churches and events, and I enjoy writing and using my journalism degree. I really don’t want to say no to anyone or to anything. But sometimes my primary vocation as a wife and mother demands that I do.
Earlier this school year when the older girls just started going to “real” school after our eight-year homeschooling adventure, I found myself frequently volunteering at the school. But one day when I left my littles with a babysitter yet again, I had an epiphany. I was saying “yes” to people who really did need help, but I was saying no to my children. One of the big reasons I decided to send the older children to school this year was because I wanted more time to just hang with my littles – to bake together, to read storybooks, to start teaching my 5-year-old to read, to be lazy in our pajamas before the afternoon schlepping started. Yet, here I was jetting off to school for a few hours every week, missing out on soaking up their sweetness. I realized that I needed to start saying no more. I also reminded myself that behind every no was a yes to my children and my family.
I’ve had to say no to other opportunities, too. Recently, someone approached me about doing a weekly radio segment. I would not only be the host but also the producer and would be responsible for finding story ideas as well as guests to have on the show. It sounded like tons of fun. I love my monthly spot on the Morning Air Show. I’d love to do more media appearances and speaking when my family life allows it, but a weekly show just isn’t feasible for me right now. It would require too much work and too many nos to my family.
I’ll never like to say no to people or to new opportunities, but I always remind myself that with the size of my family, it’s a full-time job just to keep on top of all of the laundry and logistics of getting child A to point B when child B is needs to be at point A. One tip I have if you’re trying to discern whether you should volunteer or take on something new outside of the home is to tell the person asking that you need to discuss it with your husband. Then talk to him. I’ve found my husband is much better at knowing my limitations than I am, and it also makes me feel less guilty if I can explain that this was a family decision and isn’t just about me saying no to someone or something.
Bottom line: When I say no, I am often saying yes to the ones who need my time and talents the most right now – my family.