The Power to Say No….

It has taken me thirty-five years to understand the “Power of No.” For as far back as I can remember, I have said yes to anything and everything. I have said yes to my parents, teachers, friends, colleagues, husband and kids. It took me this whole time to realize that, when I said yes to everything, I wasn’t giving anything my everything.  It wasn’t until recently, when I said “no” to a kid’s birthday party, that I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

I was trying to figure out how to get my three-year-old son to a bowling party, in between his older brother’s baseball practice, religious school, and fifteen other errands that had to be done. As a working mom, every single moment of the weekend matters. The weekends have to be filled with errands, planning, and all the missed “quality time” of the weekdays.  I was literally sitting with my calendar open in front of me, figuring out the weekend jungle, when I saw the word “no” flash before my eyes.

I knew in that moment that my three-year-old would not be scarred for life if he missed the birthday party.  That he wouldn’t be missing out on one of the most important moments of his existence. That this one less activity would really make our (my) lives easier, and that we would have a more relaxed and laid-back day.

Since that moment, I find it easier to give myself permission to say no more often.  I think really hard before I accept non-work-related lunches, evenings out, and other weekend invitations. Don’t get me wrong, I love having social engagements, but I need to make sure it is not at the cost of my sanity.  I’m definitely not perfect, and I have FOMO often, but in the end, the realization that I can say “no” can sometimes be sweeter than saying “yes.”