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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. Be proud of all you do! I’m sure there are plenty of days you’d much rather be doing something else, but here you are for us. THANK YOU and God bless you! You’re an inspiration and never forget it.

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  3. Can I get an AMEN?!?! (Oh, I think there has been a couple in the comments!) Wise words. You can’t look after them if you don’t look after YOU!

  4. good for you! Saying no has been my priority for the last year and a half. I am the first to admit that my hubs nailed it on the head when he once referred to me as a “Volunteer Slut”…and also as the Ado Annie of Volunteers (I’m just a girl that can’t say no) It has been difficult and I have waffled a few times but in the end I won by saying no.

  5. Sometimes saying “no” is the hardest word in the english launguage to say. But it’s nice to say every once in a while to gain some control over your life. You go girl!!!!!!!

  6. Good for you. Sometimes you just have to say no and just do what is best for you. Kick back with a margarita and some tv and let your brain tune out. I’ve gotten to the point where I know that I can’t do it all anymore, and I just don’t kill myself trying. Too much stuff going on that I don’t want to miss!

  7. good lord, I NEEDED this post. My husband and I had our first baby on March 10th. I’d gotten a Roku from my in-laws as a birthday present the week before he was born and 90% of our nursing time has been TV time, too. If I was trying to do more during the days than meals and laundry, I wouldn’t make it through the nights. Here’s to couch time!

    • I’m pretty sure Roku was created by angels. Just a theory of mine.

      The most comfy place in our apartment for nursing was in Jack’s room. There was no TV, so I was reading like a book a day in those first few months. I feel like all I did was nurse that kid!! Having a Roku would have been amazeballs.

  8. Congrats!! It is something that I try to do but I always loose the willpower. I have recently had a mental pitty party for myself feeling like I am living in Little House on the Prarie where I need to get up and dawn and make everything for the family and spend the day cleaning but who cares if the cabinets aren’t cleaned out, I am sitting down to read a book. I am sure it makes us better mothers and able to deal with our kids issues better because we are more relaxed from a night of watching TV. Good luck 🙂

  9. Thank you for posting this Sarah! Recently divorced, I find myself making choices (like no handmade Christmas cards last year – actually NO Christmas cards! GASP!) even though people perceive that I have “free time” without my kids. That time is spent resetting myself for the next stretch of single parenting and trying to figure out my new “single” life thousands of miles from any family. So HERE HERE! Just say NO!