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The Power of Saying No

I don’t make New Years resolutions, or anything like that, but I do like to set goals for myself that I do my best to follow.

This year, my focus was on learning to say “no” to things.

There is so much in my life I can’t control right now.

I can’t control that my husband is gone so much, that he is almost missed one-third of our son’s life.

I can’t control that I am stuck acting as the mother, father, butcher, baker, and candle stick maker.  Inside and outside of the house has to be entirely in my control.  I work 45 hours a week, commute almost 90 minutes a day, come home, make dinner, clean everything up, and then my ass has to still mow the lawn, weed, etc.

I can’t control that I have no control over Troy’s dream career being as elusive to obtain as “Unicorn Rancher”.

I can’t control I’m stuck in my house seven nights a week.  That I can’t join any church groups, book clubs, or anything.  I can’t control that despite having fantastic friends around the country, in my heart of hearts, I’m incredibly lonely for actual human interaction that doesn’t take place via the internet, email, or texting.

And so?

So, I’ve spent 2013 focusing on what I can control.

My church started a community garden, and wanted volunteers to help staff it.  I said no.

For a new pastor “meet and greet”, they asked me to make a platter of sandwiches.  I said no.  In all honesty, I probably would have said yes, had Jack not been recovering from his tonsil surgery.

I had the opportunity to take a fantastic environmental class this quarter at a community college.  I would have LOVED to take this class, and the tuition would have been mostly covered by my employer.  I know I would have done well and learned so much.  I said no.

My sewing machine has mostly sat idle since Christmas except for a quilt I’m making for a friend, a door stop, and a Jedi robe.

My seedlings for this summer’s garden are a hot mess.  Nothing is in the ground that I didn’t plant last year, or was a volunteer (who knew peas would reproduce if accidentally not torn out in fall!).

I’m not sure if it was the Roku we got for Christmas, or my determination to say no this year, but my couch and my ass have had a long lost rekindled romance in the last few months.

The inner Sarah calls myself a lazy bitch, but the “just say no” Sarah checks “ignore mean Sarah” off the to-do list, and goes back to watching The Americans on Hulu.  Shame on you if you aren’t watching this show.

Am I accomplishing less?  Yup.  Am I compromising how I care for my family?  Nope, not really.  Our food is still almost entirely homemade, because I still enjoy cooking, and I can only watch The Americans via my laptop (seriously, this show needs to be in your life), so that keeps me in the kitchen.  My house may not be dusted regularly, and I may not have vacuumed for three weeks knowing I would have to deep clean for Jack’s birthday party.  I have had to get past that.

Mental clarity, sleep, and emotional health have now taken priority over clean windows, and an organized freezer.

I can’t do it all.  I don’t have to.  I don’t need to.

I am doing my best to treat myself with the respect that I finally have to acknowledge that I deserve.

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31 comments on “The Power of Saying No”

  1. I have learnt so much from reading your blog, the best of which was your comment about being a semi trailer and not wasting a trip to any room… until now. I needed to hear your say NO! today, so this is now my favourite post ever! Look after you and enjoy this time!

    Cheering you on from Australia!

  2. I have just come across your blog whilst looking for articles on the OCM and I have to say, it is one of the best blogs I have seen! You are an inspiration and I’ve signed up to receiving your blog in my inbox. I hope you’ll follow me to:
    Way to go on saying no, you deserve to be looked after too.
    Power to you Mama

  3. In my eyes you are Super Woman! I can’t believe you will be taking on chickens next! I work (3) 12 hour shifts a week and I am exhausted those 3 days and mostly the 4th day to recover. You accomplish more than I ever could in a week. Maybe I should start saying “NO” more often. I don’t watch much TV because my schedule changes so frequently I don’t have time to get into a series. If and when I do, the shows sit in the DVR for months waiting to be watched. So sad. I barely know what’s going on in the real world. LOL!

  4. <3 strength to you.