“Just Say No” has recently become my mom mantra. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about drugs or even kids ironically. I’m talking about moms learning to accept the fact that there are good reasons to say no to things they feel obligated to do or attend and to stop feeling guilty about not doing it all. As a person who is naturally a people pleaser, I’ve often said yes out of pure guilt or to avoid someone not liking me as much. Now I’m a mom, my priorities are so much bigger, my calendar is much busier, and my life needs to be simplified. This means learning to just “Say No”.

It’s All About Priorities

Birthday Parties, Weddings, Fundraisers, School Parties, Business Functions… The Facebook invites and the list of things we feel obligated to attend are never-ending. I recently had a week where I had to “Say No” to multiple events, both business and personal. Reasons included needing child care or needing more time in the day. Or, quite frankly, I needed a better reason to attend an event other than I was invited. Now don’t get me wrong, there are things that we should attend because it’s the right thing to do – even when you don’t feel like doing it. That’s not what I’m talking about here.

I’m not encouraging a selfish, self-serving approach to all of your decision making. What I am encouraging is for moms to weigh their priorities, their time, and then just ” Say No” to the invites that don’t make the cut, without feeling guilty about it. Like a wedding for a second cousin, you haven’t seen or spoken to in 10 years. Or a business event where you might get a free drink and make a good impression but it’s really not helping you, your family, or your career. I really value my family’s time together. My kids are only little and in my home for a short time. I don’t want to sacrifice that time just to appease the part of me that feels guilty for saying no or wants to appease a person or a company that isn’t as high on my priority list.

Why Is It So Hard

I’m the type of person who finds it naturally hard to say no to people. The fact that I was invited has often been pressure enough to make me attend, especially if it’s family or business. If it’s family I feel like you always go the extra mile (even if you’re not that close). If it’s business you never want to miss out on something because you didn’t attend. I also think that a lot of women struggle with trying to do it all and please everyone. You don’t want to be that one mom who doesn’t go above and beyond at the school fundraiser, or the only person at your work who didn’t go to the “optional” after-work party. We’ve got to get past this!

Just Remember: Be Nice About It

Each day allows every person the same 24 hours. Yes, we have work and responsibilities, but we can still choose how and with whom we spend our time. I’m slowly starting to feel the freedom of “saying no” to things that aren’t of meaningful value to me and my family. It’s not about being unloving or rude. Respond to events and commitments in a timely manner after honestly weighing your priorities. Then remind yourself of your “why” when you start to feel guilty. Be nice about it and respectfully decline and thank them for thinking of you. Then live your life and don’t apologize for your priorities.