Saying no to volunteering is hard especially when we are doing it for our kids, but sometimes saying no is the best option! Here is why it’s okay to say no!
Why It’s Okay To Say No
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There was a time in my life when the words “No” Never came out of my mouth. For several years I was PTA president, involved in the School Education Foundation, on the Little League Baseball Board, volunteered at church as well as in my kid’s classrooms, and running numerous fundraisers! Oh, and Don’t forget being Team Mom for every sports team my kids played on! I was so busy. Many afternoon conversations would go similar to this:
“Mom, can you help me with my homework?”
“I can’t I am on my way out the door to the PTA meeting sweetie. I can help you as soon as I get home!”
Or like this:
“Mom, are you going to walk around with me at the Harvest Festival Fundraiser this year?”
“I would love too, but Grandma and Grandpa are because I am in charge. But I promise I will come find you and we will play a game together, okay?”
You might wonder why I was so involved. Well, I was doing all this for them! I was making their school better. Their teams were running more smoothly because of me. I was raising money for better things for them in all the activities they were involved in!
Then one day Ty came home from work and told me that we were getting transferred for work… We were moving to Texas.
I was sick because I was so happy with what I was doing! All these things kept me busy and I was doing them to make my kids’ lives better! What was I going to do with my time?
When the move was official, I started resigning from my various positions and boards that I served on. Every time I did I had tears in my eyes wondering what I would do to fill my time once we had moved.
I began getting ready for the move with my time that I now had, cleaning, getting rid of things we didn’t need and packing.
Soon, it was time to move. As we arrived in Texas, so did our stuff. Unpacking was a daunting task as well as setting up our home, but it was fun.
Through this process, I was home with the kids all the time. They would come home from school and I would have freshly baked cookies for them! The boys would share with me about their days. Then they would start on homework. I was more present in their lives than I had been for years! And guess what? They were happier!
Then it hit me!
For all these years I had been saying yes to all these things to make them happy. To make things better for them. But it was actually doing the opposite of what I thought… They wanted me home spending time with them, not out making everything perfect! At that moment I knew that it was okay to say no to opportunities that I used to always say yes to!
Now I am not saying we should always say no because there are some great opportunities out there! But we should think about what we are saying yes to and how it will affect our family!
Here are some things to consider when we are Deciding to Get Involved with Something Outside our Home!
Things You Want to Consider When it Comes to Saying No
Cost Vs. Reward
When it comes to choosing to get involved or not we need to think about the cost vs the reward. Everything has a price. Remember the saying, “There is no such thing as a free lunch?” Yep, everything has a price! Anything you do with take your time, your talents, and your energy. So you have to ask yourself. Is this something that I want to spend my time, talents and energy doing?
Identify Your Priorities
Figure out what your priorities are! You are the only one that can do this! There are so many good things to do! So, you need to determine what is good, better and best. And once you do, do the best things first and go from there.
You Don’t Owe Anyone an Explanation
When deciding whether to say no to something you don’t owe anyone an explanation. It’s okay to just say no. There were so many times where I would feel guilty saying no so I would say yes. You don’t need to explain to the PTA President why you aren’t able to contribute to the bake sale, or to the Cub Scout Master why you can’t volunteer at day camp. A simple, “No, I’m sorry,” is sufficient and then move on. You are still a great mom even if you don’t volunteer for every activity your child is involved in!
Take Care of Yourself
When on an airplane with children the flight attendant reminds us that in an emergency to put our own oxygen mask on first. After that, we help those around us. We need to fill our cups before we fill everyone else’s. We as moms need to take care of ourselves.
When I was volunteering all the time for everything that came my way I forgot to take care of myself. From the moment I woke up in the morning I went to sleep I was helping others. I would wake up and start making lunches for the kids. Then I would get them ready and head to the school with them. While I was there I would volunteer in various classrooms (even ones my kids weren’t even in), and work on PTA stuff. The kids would get out of school and we would go home together. I would bring papers to help grade after the kids were in bed and I would grade them and return them the next day.
I didn’t take the time for me. Running became an option only if I had time. Reading was non-existent and taking care of myself was the last option if I didn’t have anything else, which never happened.
Choose things that make you happy. We need to have balance in all things so we need to factor in some me time in the equation. Take small breaks throughout the day, even if it means hiding in the pantry to eat some chocolate!
Forget About Other People’s Opinion
For so long I said yes because I worried what other people would think of me if I said no. But honestly I now realize, why does their opinion of me matter? I can’t control what other people think so I really should not stress about it. It is not worth saying yes and sacrificing everything just because you worry about what others think about you! Those same people probably will judge even if you do say yes! And besides your time is much too valuable worrying what other people think!
It’s Okay to Be Selfish with Your Time
For so long I gave all my time away, leaving hardly any for my family! I did it in the name of “I’m doing all this volunteering for them!” But guess what? Saying no is not selfish at all! In fact, saying no sometimes is being the least selfish! Your family needs you! Choosing to spend quality time with one of your children who needs some one on one time is way more important than almost anything else.
Life is full of choices, especially as a mom! We have to make hard choices especially deciding to volunteer for something or to say no. And we have to remember that it’s okay to say no because sometimes that’s the best option for our family and us!
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Michele is a Family Life Educator with her degree in marriage and family studies. She is a mom to 5 kids and loves helping others strengthen their families! When she is not blogging she is spending time with her family and running around drinking Diet Coke trying to get everything done!