NopeDoes this sound familiar?

Mrs. “Your name” can you bring juice boxes for the class party? Mrs. “Your name” can you chaperone the 4th grade field trip? MOM, can you take me to Target so I can spend my allowance? Wife (my husband actually calls me “wife”), can you go pick up my checkbook I left at the rental car place?

You know as well as I do that I could go on and on with this list until all of us got tired of reading it. What is it about being a mom, that people (all people) believe that you have an infinite amount of time to accommodate every ones requests?

The fact of the matter is, you have the same 24 hours in the day that everyone else has. The question is what are you going to spend those hours doing? Catering to everyone else’s needs ALL. THE. TIME. Or prioritizing your needs and wants in there too?

The word NO is often seen as being so negative. But I think its empowering, especially for women, who are in a constant state of nurturing.

“NO” allows us to set clear boundaries.

“NO” allows us to express ourselves with authority.

And “NO” usually gets other people’s attention so they know you mean business.

When we don’t use this word enough, we end up taking on way more than we can handle. Of course when we do that we end up stressed out, burned out and resentful towards the very people that we love most.

Here are 3 ways to use the word NO to keep you sane.

Say no to the joy snatchers.

There are things in our lives that are mandatory (so to speak). We have to earn an income so we go to work, whether we love our jobs or not. We want to sit on clean toilets so we clean the bathroom, whether we like it or not.

But I can bet that there are some activities in your life that you really don’t have to do that suck the joy right out of you. For instance, I use sit in my mother in laws basement for hours watching basketball. Do I like basketball? Actually I DON’T. But that’s how my husband and his family bond and I was part of the family now so I followed suit. When in Rome act like a Roman- right? WRONG!

Saying “NO Thank You” in this one small area of my life, has made visiting my in laws a much more pleasurable experience. Instead of sitting down there in front of the TV for hours on end, I watch (maybe) one quarter of the game, and then go hang out with my kids, or read a book, or take a walk, or whatever else I love to do!

Say NO to the moochers. Some of them might be your kids!

Everyone that asks you to do something is NOT a moocher but if you pay attention you’ll surely pick up patterns in the people who ask you for favors on a regular basis. For instance, is your co-worker always in such a rush that he can NEVER make his own copies? Or does he think you are his personal secretary?

Does your 7 year old really need you to get him some juice at the exact moment you sit down for your own dinner, or can he get up and get it himself?

I get that there is a fine moocher line when we are talking about our children. After all for the first several years of their lives they really do need us to do almost everything for them. But take note, of what your children can actually do for themselves and LET THEM DO IT.

 Say NO to the volunteers.

Again I’ll offer a disclaimer. There is nothing wrong with volunteering for a non-profit or your kid’s school or whatever your heart desires. I think this is an admirable thing to do. I volunteer for various things often and I encourage other people to do so.

But for God’s sake you are NOT a professional volunteer! (Actually, can there even be such a thing since professionals get PAID for their work?)

Sometimes saying yes to one volunteer opportunity leads to a landslide of requests for your precious time.

So, check your calendar. Make a note of the extra time you have available after all of your other obligations and priorities have been taken care of. And if you still have time in your schedule for something else, then by all means say yes to being team mom or cheerleading coach or PTA president.

Here’s the thing. We all do the best we can with the time we have available each day. But making the most of your time doesn’t mean filling every nook and cranny of your schedule with things you think you “should” do.

Sometimes making the best use of your time means saying NO to the things that bring you the least joy so that you can say YES to more of the things you love!
What can you say NO to right now that would make your life easier?