The Reality of Saying No

The time on my computer says 7:10am. I click off my computer with a heavy heart.  My cheeks are burning with shame and part exhaustion. I just read an email from a client about all the mistakes I made on the last batch of work. I crumble with the humiliation of my unprofessionalism for mistakes I should have known better. My weariness weighs heavy on my shoulders.  I deprecate myself as to why I said I could have done the job when I should have said no.

My plate is full  with taking care of my kids, along with my sister who is healing from two surgeries, is more than enough for two people. I look around the kitchen from my seat at the table. My computer is closed in front of me.  The dishes from last night’s snack still visible in the sink. The glass in the kitchen window betrays its neglect. I spy my preschooler’s snack bag on the counter and jump realizing I had forgotten to fill it. My kids will be up soon.  I pass by the calendar and see that once again the day is full for us.

After the school scramble is complete and I have my youngest nestled in her car seat, we are on our way to pick up a few groceries to take over to my sister’s. At a stoplight, my mind’s eye reminds myself of my poor work. The tears try to break through the fake front I show the world. It was not worth it saying yes. I was kidding myself to think that I could do it all. In the process, I have no time for me. I am not a happy mama, or wife, or sister.

I pass through the day like a zombie. I shake my head to myself thinking of the irony if my child tried to do it all, I would tell her to say no.  It is so hard to say no. It cost me my over-spent energy to be wasted when I could be freer to live lighter.  In retrospect, I would have said no. It cost me a scar on my reputation and being grumpy for my time with my youngest.

After delivering the treats to my sister, we are once again on our way to pick up my preschooler.  I feel a bit lighter already. I make amends to my client via email with honesty on what went wrong.  I get a kind email back. While I may not get more work from there, I feel better that I at least connected again since my failure. Lessoned learned, I tell myself. Saying no can be the smartest thing I can ever do for my sanity and family.

2 thoughts on “The Reality of Saying No

  1. Thank you for being so transparent in your parenting journey. I think all of us moms have trouble saying no. Whether it be to new toys, skipping naps, working, or volunteering at school.

    I agree that saying no is sometimes the best decision for our families. That is why we choose our lifestyles, no?

    Remember though that this experience is not a failure. You made amends in honesty, you learned and therefore you’ve succeeded in setting an excellent example for your girls.


  2. As someone who regularly stays up past 1am just to get stuff done, I totally know how hard it is to say “No”. Sometimes it’s easier to say “Yes” and then regret it. Learning my limits, and how to stand by them, is something I’m learning as well.


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