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Why I'm learning to say no

how i'm learning to say no

I am a "yes" girl. I have spent a whole 35 years perfecting this art.

In the last couple of years, whilst launching a business, being a wife, and a mum to 2 small children, I am realising that saying "yes" is not good for my health. Why is it that offering up my services, time and energy, to anyone who asks for it is my gut reaction? Yet, inwardly I am screaming "No! I'm too busy already. I'm tired and I need some time for myself. That's what I'm thinking, yet I always say yes! How much of the pressure upon us as working mums is self inflicted? I guess the "this is what mums should do" way of thinking is manifested from the guilt of not being there all the time. So when will we learn that actually, no one is judging us but ourselves?

I know this is true, my rational self can explain this, but yet I still can't seem to shake it off. Surely there are busier Mum's than me, that still manage to get everything done, take their children to clubs, work, have a clean house, remember everything they need for school and cook a homemade nutritious meal every night? Hmm, maybe not, maybe we're all struggling, but trying to make everyone else think that all is just rosy, and wonderful. It's OK to say that it's tough, but don't wallow in it either. I blame social media. I use it of course, although part of the time, I curse myself and walk away feeling slightly deflated that that other perfect mum has just done something awesome with her kids, and I haven't seen mine for 2 days. And when I did, I screamed at one of them for not brushing their teeth after asking them 10 times to do it, and then resorted to bribery.

So, what is normal? It's not what you see on Instagram or Facebook, that's for sure. They are just people's best bits, and that's what I keep telling myself. I am learning to accept my life with all its ups and downs. I'm learning to say "no" and realise just how lucky I am to be running my own business, have my health, and my family. If I'm 5 lb's heavier, so what? If I only read a story to my kids four out of seven nights, does that make me a bad mum? If I can't help out at the PTA cake sale, or see my friends every week, should I automatically go to hell? And who's actually judging me, apart from me? Time is precious, and it's mine. Events of late have also opened my eyes to how quickly things can change, and something unexpected could turn life upside down. Enjoying my family time, my fun time right now is the most important thing. Not tomorrow, or the next week, but now! Your time is your own, saying no to all the extra things that you don't really want to do, but feel obligated is going to get you nowhere but miserable, and stretched even thinner.

If you're like me, running round not knowing if you're Arthur or Martha most days, and trying not to beat yourself up about your untidy house, or the fact the kids didn't have an organic, home cooked meal last night, stop. Don't put anything else on your plate that you don't need to do. In fact, take some stuff off, that's liberating too. Most importantly, remember that you're not alone, you're doing really well, and actually... life is good.

Harriet

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