By Natalie Bascur
Mamas, you know all too well the overwhelming feeling of rushing from one thing to another, desperately trying to tick everything off that growing list of to-dos. Things often aren’t much better when the weekend rolls around, with school sports, office work, extended family obligations, coffee catch ups, gym classes and life admin tasks all looming.
While it’s the norm to juggle work and family life, saying yes to every… single… thing… leaves little to no time for you! So if you start to dread things you have agreed to do and feel guilty for wanting to say no, follow these simple steps.
1 // RESIST THE URGE TO SAY YES
When you are already feeling under too much pressure and like there are not enough hours in the day, resist the urge to say yes when someone asks if you can help them out. There are times in our life when we will already be at capacity with what we can handle, saying no to someone lets you look after you and not feel resentful towards them. It could be as simple as your boss asking you to come in on a Saturday when you had a beach day planned with the fam. The key is – if you know deep down you would rather say no, don’t feel guilty or bad for that. Creating balance is all about remembering there is just one of you and that no one really knows how stressed you feel besides you.
2 // DON’T DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE
Maybe you have so much on your plate because you have a serious case of FOMO. That can be a great quality, as it shows you love variety and are constantly learning. The problem comes when your weekend starts to look scarily like a work spreadsheet – yoga classes, music lessons, baby showers and dinner parties. Pick a few things at a time, rather than doing everything and feeling pulled in every direction. Find one exercise class you enjoy that brings you energy or relaxation and commit to only one social obligation of hosting per weekend, max.
3 // EMBRACE SAYING NO
So, you’re ready to break free of the shackles and embrace saying no? Yes mama, that’s half the battle. It won’t be easy, when people expect that you normally say yes to them, suddenly saying no might ruffle some feathers at first. The best way to handle saying no while you’re starting out, is to stall and say, “I’m not sure if I am able to take that on right now. Let me check and let you know by the end of the day.” If you know someone is hard to say no to, this gives you the time to make up a reason, without being rude. When you come back to them, say no and give them a reason – you already have plans with hubby, you have a lot of extra work you need to finish, or you need some quiet time… yes that counts as a reason! Once people get used to hearing you say no in this way, it will start to get easier to turn them down as they won’t automatically assume it will be a yes from you.
4 // LET CALLS GO TO VOICEMAIL
Let’s be honest, the hardest people to say no to are our friends. We inherently want to be liked and not disappoint those close to us and part of being a good friend is to always be there for them, right? Not always. There is nothing rude in seeing a friend call that you know will want a long chat and letting it go to voicemail. It seems harsh, but she would rather have your unfocused attention anyway at a quiet time that suits you later, than when you’re in the mad rush at school pick up.
5 // TAKE A DAY OFF – AND DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT IT
When faced with the guilt of saying no to someone asking you to lock something in on your one day off, imagine yourself on Sunday arvo, having a glass of wine while watching a movie, strolling around the shops, reading Mama Disrupt, or just napping! That should make it easier. As Steve Jobs said, “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”