You’re a “yes” person. You love to help and support the people around you. They rely on you. They need you. And it feels like saying “yes” makes you the kind, thoughtful person you are.
You say “yes” to your family, to your friends, and you pretty much always say “yes” to the PTA. Especially when they send the notes about how they are “desperate” for help and “nobody else is available.”
With school starting up again, you are likely already getting bombarded with requests to help out. Maybe you’ve already signed up to help in the classroom every week, or tutor kids struggling in math, or stuff Friday folders, or help with class parties. You may have even signed up for all of the above! If so, this message is for you.
Let me let you in on a dirty little secret. Those moms who are “unavailable”, who can say “no” guilt-free? They have healthy boundaries. They may actually have more time available than you do, but they prioritize their own well-being over burnout.
Listen very carefully: When you say “yes” to others, you are saying “no” to yourself.
When is it time to say yes? Well, how much time do you really have?
Let’s break it down. You have a finite number of waking hours per week. Since you’re a mother, you very likely have very few unscheduled hours available per week. Just for the heck of it, why don’t you add the hours up so you know for sure? Don’t forget to add in all the invisible demands on your time like comforting your child when they are scared or hurt, reading aloud or helping with homework or unexpected science fair projects, making sure clothes are clean and emails are answered, connecting with extended family, helping your elderly neighbor out with their email… You get the picture.
I bet, when you add it all up, you barely have time to breathe, let alone volunteer away all your “free” time.
I’m not suggesting you stop volunteering or helping others, not at all. I am suggesting you mindfully calculate how much unscheduled time you really have and then donate a portion of that time to the school or another organization that relies on your ready “yes.”
What if you donated 10% of your free time to volunteering?
If 10% that means you help out with two parties a year, then that’s what you sign up for and call it good. If that means volunteering in the classroom twice a week and planning the school dance, then go ahead and do it.
The idea is to limit your “giving” so you have time for yourself. While this may seem like a foreign concept, it is crucial to the well-being of your entire family.
You can say “no” and still be a good mom and a good person
There are moms who say “I pick the PTA stuff I can do with relative ease and essentially check off the helped at school box for the year.” That’s a direct quote from a real mom AND she said it guilt free! Wouldn’t that be lovely?
Look at your commitments, your calendar, and your heart. When you get clear about the time and energy you want to give them, you can say “yes” and “no” with a free conscience.
Setting boundaries around your time can push your own limits
You might need help learning how to say “no” so you can have healthy boundaries with others and avoid burnout. This would be a time to consider investing in counseling or coaching. Once you learn how to say “yes” to yourself, you will take back your life and your sanity.
When you get clear about how much time you really have to give, you will find the balance and harmony in your life that has been missing.
If you need support as you learn to say “yes” to you and your family, please contact me today.