dear mama, sometimes you have to say "yes"
Do you ever surprise yourself? I am not only referring to what you can accomplish but also, in how you treat yourself. Have you ever been presented with an opportunity that sounds wonderful, but instead of thinking of ways to make it happen, you start thinking of how you’re going to say no?
Yea, me too.
Beyond what we normally think of as self-care, I am talking about opportunities that don’t come along every day and require a little extra effort to make happen. The email from an old friend to get coffee, but your kids aren’t in school that day. The happy hour after work that keeps you out an hour later, making you miss dinner. The chance to volunteer your time and talents doing something you love, but you already are stretched too thin.
I realized recently that saying “No, but thank you” had become a habitual default; that fact is not only unfair to me, it is also unfair to my people. My family deserves me at my best. When I allow myself to stay stuck in a self-imposed pattern of monotony, I adopt the mentality of a resentful martyr. “I would, but I can’t because of #kids.” “I want to, but who will cook dinner? “I have to do bedtime, and it’ll be so late by the time I get there.”
If we never say yes to what we really want, we allow our everyday lives to become tainted by obligation. I remember my first job at a hardware store; I was a cashier, and I was 15 when I started. Summertime rolled around, and I was feeling guilty asking for time off for a vacation with my family.
I kept pestering my boss, asking “I mean, are you sure? Are you really sure you don’t need me?” I must have asked enough times because my boss finally looked up from his paperwork and said: “Yep, I think we can manage without you.” It was sobering and liberating at the same time.
And in that vein, today, if you take a few minutes/hours to yourself...whatever you can swing: they will manage without you.
I challenge you to welcome an opportunity to click “accept” when you might typically default to “decline”. We expend so much sweat equity building up our homes and families so that they can survive without us. Why not test it out?
The walls won’t crumble. Everyone will eat; it may not be what you’d feed them, but they will eat. They will get dressed; it may not be what you’d pick, but change is good! Hair will be fixed, fun will be had, naps will be resisted.
So mama, in preparing to grant yourself a “yes,” remember this:
Because you work so hard and love so fully, the world you know will survive without you for a bit.
You’ve laid the foundation. Your people need you to say yes sometimes. You need to say yes sometimes.
Your busy, full, giving mama’s heart deserves a moment to breathe.
This post originally appeared on mywesternnest.com, used with permission and modifications.