Learning how to say “NO” in order to say “YES”

I said “NO” to working yet another evening, and “YES” to taking my kid for a night on the town.

It’s been awhile since I last posted. I went from posting nearly every day, to twice a week, then once a week, and now, well……………. Radio silence……. Flatline…………

Not the best way to keep a healthy relationship going with my readers, I realize.

Making time for this special person…

I promise I haven’t intentionally ignored this blog, it’s just been a little busy around here. The homeschool year started up, I’ve been working on a new book (Advice to My Thirteen-Year-Old Self), and I’ve been (thankfully) flooded with freelance gigs. I’ve pretty much hit the wall of how much I’m able to do.

Recently I wrote about how I’ve been putting in about 17.5 hours a day of work (read here to see an approximate break-down of one day). Strangely, the busier I get, the more I get asked to do, both from employers and friends. My modus operandi has always been to take on more than I can chew. A few weeks ago, however, I realized that I was completely exhausted and I felt more than a little miserable. I begrudgingly said yes to all sorts of things, and slept when I was able. Finally, a bell went off and I decided to start doing things differently…

I started saying NO.

  • No to the babysitting.
  • No to the housesitting.
  • No to the tutoring.
  • No to making plans I didn’t really feel like making (or was too tired to make).

I even said no to writing posts on this blog. Literally, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve concentrated my energy on figuring out my daughter’s homeschool schedule (she’s taking a whopping NINE classes this term- eight of which I need to make sure she gets into the city to meet her teacher- and choir once two twice a week), getting my freelance assignments in on time, working on my book, and dreaming up some new travel plans. Essentially, I’ve been working to get back on the fast track to my dreams.


I’ve said yes, however, to a few things I previously said I didn’t have time for:

  • I slept in one morning, and, when finally awake, didn’t open my computer right away to check my email, but threw on some clothes and walked down to the coffee shop. Why? Why not. Yes to a walk, yes to a hot cup of coffee, and yes to walking around my ‘hood in my pajamas!
  • One day, I decided one day not to open my computer- not even once- but I said yes to watching Doctor Who episodes all afternoon and eating Indian take-out with my kid. Yep, that was our entire day. It was… glorious.
  • I finally made a doctor’s appointment. I’ve been having a couple aches and pains that just won’t go away, so I decided to finally do something about it. Yes!
  • Speaking of aches and pains… I went out and got a wee bit intoxicated with one of my best friends. The next day was a wash, but you know what? It felt great to spend time with him and ignore the rest of the world (although note to self… keep as far away from vodka in the future as possible). Yes!

Call me selfish for actually taking time for myself, but you know what? The more I take care of myself (even if I on rare occasion have a few drinks!), the better I feel. I give my kid this advice all the time: treat yourself right… But I wasn’t listening to my own advice!

Taking the time to have a hot chocolate with my girl

I’m not sure my single friends get it (many of my coupled friends also don’t), that I really don’t have as much time to relax as most of them do. I simply can’t get to the gym (hahahaha… when the heck would that happen?!), can’t fit in Muay Thai classes (also can’t afford them right now with all of my kid’s classes!), and don’t have the luxury of having many evenings off. I think, perhaps, that some of my friends who have helped out with my kid in the past wonder why I haven’t been as present now that they have their own kids. I suppose it’s for two reasons: 1) I’m still a single mom short on time; 2) I’ve divvied out my attentions due to how needed I’ve been (assisting desperate single working moms over coupled parents, or coupled parents in a bind, etc.).

You know, though, it’s only in affording myself a little down time that I realize not only how busy I am, but how much more I enjoy spending my time off in stress-free situations. So I’m going to fight for a little more time. I’m going to force myself to take at least one day off a week. This might mean I’m not as available to assist others, tutor, take on unpaid projects, etc…

See, I’m going to try to carve out a little more time for myself in the evenings. Hopefully, this means I’ll see more of you more often, and not only at educational events, co-op schools or the like. I’m going to make time for ALL the people I want to see, not only the ones who need me. Friendships take time- they need to be constantly cultivated- and I’ve let some go without attention for too long simply because they didn’t “need me.”

I suppose, friends, what I’m saying is that I’m baaaaaack… but on my own terms. 

Thanks, people, for hanging in there with me. I appreciate you, your schedules, your time and simply the fact that you all- like me- make it work. We’re all pretty amazing, aren’t we? I think it’s time we sat back a bit and smelled the flowers.


This entry was posted in Great General Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Learning how to say “NO” in order to say “YES”

  1. I finished this post with a smile on my face, I really enjoyed this one. Keep up those guilt free trips to the coffee shop and Doctor Who sessions!

  2. I’m homeschooling my teen daughter and we’re usually crazy-busy. This year, though, I’m trying to scale back, to put the “big rocks” in first, and I’ve add an elective called: Studies in Cozy and Comfort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>