There are a lot of things that my kids do better than me. But the one that stands out at this hectic time of year? Saying no.
When my kids don’t want to do something, they say no. When my kids don’t have time to do something, they say no. When my kids are in a bad mood, they say no.
Me? I always seem to say yes. Even if I don’t want to. Even if I don’t have time. And even if it puts me in a bad mood.
I know I’m not alone. In this busy world, we are constantly being asked to do just one more “little” thing.
Parents are asked to do a lot of extras; join the PTA, bake for a class party, volunteer for the next field trip, coach a team…. so much that we often do it at the expense of our children.
Authors are asked to do a lot for free; one more blog post, a quick review of something a friend wrote, a writing workshop, an extra author visit… so much that we don’t have time to actually write.
Even Volunteers are asked to do just a little bit more; lead the next fundraising effort, organize a meeting, write the holiday newsletter… so much that we get burned out.
And I know it’s the same for teachers, librarians, and everyone else…
It’s hard to say no, because all these things are important and someone has to do it. But I’ve started to notice that I’m not doing things as well as I could. I’m not enjoying things as much as I should. And I’m not helping anyone by always saying yes.
As we head into 2014, my goal is to practice saying no. Not because I’m in a bad mood but because I’ve prioritized my time to respect what really matters; my family and my writing.
I hope it doesn’t sound too grinchy, but I’m giving myself the gift of no this season. And I’m extending the present to all of you… parents, teachers, librarians, writers, and readers.
It’s not selfish to say no. It’s important – and it’s something we can learn from our kids.
Yolanda Ridge is the author of Trouble in the Trees (Orca Book Publishers, 2011) and Road Block (Orca Book Publishers, 2012). Ironically, both are about a feisty 12-year-old girl who wouldn’t take no for an answer.
So true! I’ve gotten good at saying no to my kids (and my husband!) when necessary, but it’s hard with everyone else. Trying to fulfill expectations, I guess…
Thank you for this. It’s exactly the reminder I needed. If I get around to some resolutions, I’m making this one of them.
Great post, Yo.