Yes, of course I’m speaking to and on behalf of mamas, but I think this goes for most busy people I encounter: we need to be better, in general, of protecting our energy and taking care of ourselves.
The last few weeks have been filled with exceedingly long lists of to-do’s, which have left me feeling run down. But, like the perfectionist I am, I have had things to finish; running all over town, cleaning like a banshee, and finishing all sorts of projects, not to mention work, work, and more work.
So, when I got a request to do something that I knew I didn’t have the steam for…
I said no.
Now, this is a fairly new word for me to use in my vocabulary. I’m a people-pleaser by nature but as I grapple with my energy levels, I’m also learning some new limits; physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Too much too fast, over-committing myself, or giving too much of myself will leave me feeling worn, used, and in the dumps the next day. Sometimes rendering me somewhat useless to my family, especially those that need me most.
Working out too hard, adding meaningless tasks to my to-do list, perfecting every last detail of every task I perform has quite literally drained the tank too many times to count.
I can't afford that. I can't be useless to my people; my husband, son, growing baby and my dog.
So, I’m practicing some new self-care techniques; I’m being more honest and showing up more sincerely, I’m prioritizing my to-dos by what are important for ME and my family and not worrying about satisfying the needs of others so quickly, I’m trying to ask for more help and trying to tell people exactly what I need and how I feel.
To be quite honest, it’s been a challenge. Not everyone is OK with this new communication especially when they are on the receiving end of a “no”. And, they especially don’t care for it, when it doesn’t fit into their preconceived notion of how things were supposed to go.
A few months back, I spent a few hours listening to January Harshe speak about self-love, body positivity, postpartum care and general self-care and I walked away with one big glaring piece of advice:
We don’t own anyone anything.
Explanations. Our time. Our energy.
Of course I’m not saying don’t help people out because helping people well that’s just part of being a good human. But, you have to make sure you’re taken care of before you drain the tank on someone else’s behalf.
So don’t be afraid to say no.
If you’re having a hard time in life, parenthood, or professionally: no.
If you’re sick and need a break: no.
If you simply can’t add one more thing to your to do list: no.
If you just want to be with your family and don’t feel like doing something: no.
Say it with confidence. Make your decision and stick to you guns. And, if you don’t feel like offering an explanation, don’t because you don’t owe them that. The only person you owe anything to is you.
And mama, you deserve to feel good, feel happy, and use your time how it suits you (and your family) best.
Until next time,