I am always talking about saying yes to yourself, your goals, your dreams - just ALL of it. But, you can’t always start by saying yes, sometimes you need to say NO. Part of our exhaustion as mamas comes from saying yes to everyone else for everything. We try not to say no - mainly because we assume that those who are asking for something need it more than we need to take a break. This goes for family, friends, business, everyone but you.
Saying yes all the time sounds great in theory (happy family, happy friends, socialization, etc), but what we’re not realizing at the moment is that it’s leaving us overwhelmed and feeling burnt out. And step #1 of defeating mom burnout is saying NO even when you feel like you have to say YES. After learning to say NO, I was able to refocus my energy where I really needed it, becoming a better mom for my kids and myself. Here’s what I’ve learned:
Saying No to Your Family
This is one of the most high-stress situations - in the beginning. How you handle this is based on your relationship with your family. Your family should want the best for you, both mentally and physically, and this means saying no to family functions when you can handle them or skipping that family dinner night. Before stressing, be open with your family about why and express your hope that they’ll understand - and that it doesn’t mean that you “don’t like them” or “don’t want to spend time with them” and if it’s an event, offer to reschedule a smaller meet-up that you do feel you can handle.
After the first few “no” situations, your family will typically begin to understand where you’re coming from and why you had to do this (most likely because you’ll be in a better mood/mental space next time you meet).
Saying No to Friends
This was especially difficult as a new mom. When you have your first baby, you never know how it’ll affect you beforehand. You have moments when you’re happy, but also those where you’re overwhelmed and anxious and everywhere in between. Staying social and meeting up with friends can be burdensome in the beginning, but pressures to maintain the friendship often lead to saying yes before you’re ready. Ideally, you’ll be able to communicate these needs to your friends and they’ll understand - maybe they’ll even offer up an alternative solution, like coming over with food rather than meeting at a restaurant.
Saying No to Kids and Husband
I’m not referring to when you’re kids are running rampant and you’re telling them to calm down or saying no to another snack - this is more situational. It’s also more about putting a little “you-time” first rather than denying what they need. For example, your eldest wants to go somewhere, but you’re not ready or you’ve been on your feet all day. You can say “I’ll take you, but I need *insert time frame* to myself to just take a moment” - it’s not always possible, but when saying no to your close family communication can go a long way. It’s hard to remember that our thoughts and feelings are not shared, they won’t always know how overwhelmed or stressed we’re feeling if we don’t express it.