The Art of Saying No (to More Than Just My Kids)

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The economy has touched so many people's lives. Many families have been forced to make hard decisions. Many moms have gone back to work to help out. In our school, volunteer positions are not getting filled.

My life is full of many blessings, one of which is working from home. My husband shoulders the responsibility of our financial well being. Although I'm constantly busy, I feel guilty. Guilty that I don't have to juggle a full time job and children.

That guilt propels me to say Yes, to try and make up for all the missing volunteers at school and to ease my own guilt for being luckier than others. I also want my children to get a top notch education, and part of that falls on me.

The other day I complained out loud, "Why can't I ever say No?" My middle daughter overheard me. Not one to hold back her opinion, she said, "Just pretend everyone else is one of your kids. You say No to us all the time."

saying no

"Come on, I don't say No all the time," I said, emphasis on all.

"Yes, you do," she replied. I should have noticed the evil gleam in her eye as she continued,

"Can we stop and have McDonald's after swim practice?"

Little pistol had me over a barrel. She knew I had chili in the crock pot at home, but I wasn't going down without a fight. "Yes," I said. Ha, ha. Take that.

She smiled. After swim, I bought McDonald's for the girls. Even though my daughter was just playing me, she taught me a lesson. My dinner was put off a night, and I spent unnecessary money buying food I didn't need. All because I said yes. I didn't take the time to think about how that yes would affect my evening.

There is a lot of power in two simple words: yes or no. I need to use one of my favorite parenting stall techniques on adults. The next time someone asks me to volunteer or give of myself, I should say, "We'll see." Then go home and weigh my options, see how my answer will truly affect me (and my family).

I wonder if that phrase will upset adults as much as it always does my children!

What are your best techniques for not overcommitting?


Tia Silverthorne Bach

Co-author, Depression Cookies


Yes and No on Blackboard photo via Shutterstock.


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