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How do I say "no"?

Kit is a working mother of four who attributes her sanity to her stay-at-home-husband, her Twitter friends, occasional shots of grain alcohol and her ability to vent completely on her anonymous blog, Blogging Dangerously

Supermom or crappymom?

In this installment of Tough Love, Kit from Blogging Dangerously offers tips on learning to say "no."

tough love

Tough Love with Kit of Blogging Dangerously

The question

I quit! I can't do it all. I'm a working mom and a wife and I'm run down. I apparently can't say "no" to anyone and I'm unable to keep up any longer. How do I balance motherhood with work and still take care of myself?

Kit answers

As a working mother of four children, I can completely understand where you're coming from. After taking care of everyone else I don't feel like I have two minutes to myself, never mind indulging in things like exercise -- or sleep!

It got particularly bad when my son started kindergarten -- the schools have a whole list of committees and groups that need volunteers and I felt bad saying no to anyone. I realized it had gotten out of control when I found myself yelling at my children that I couldn't give them any more kisses because I was going to be late for a PTO meeting.

The meeting was a complete waste of time and I ended up spending the rest of the night feeling terrible that in trying to be "supermom" I had actually been "crappymom."

Priorities

So I made a list to remind myself of my priorities (It sounds silly to remind yourself that your family is a priority, but it really helps):

  • Family
  • Work
  • Writing
  • Cooking
  • Exercise

Now, when I'm asked to do something, I look at the list and if the task doesn't directly support one of those priorities, I politely decline.

For example, if I'm asked to help shelve books in the library, I say, "I can't make it at that time, but I could volunteer in my son's classroom the following day." That way, I'm still helping out at the school -- but in a way that lets me spend time with my son.

If a casual friend invites me to a Tupperware party I tell her that I'd love to see the catalog but that I have plans -- to have dinner with my family.

Maybe Crappy Mom is Supermom

This week I was asked to supply something for the holiday party at my son's school. The list included things like, plates, candy canes, cups, cookies, brownies, etc. My "supermom" persona looked at the list and thought, "Plates and cups stink. I should do the cookies or brownies." My "crappymom" persona spoke right up and asked, "Do you really want to be yelling at the kids to get out of the kitchen because you have to make 50 brownies? Wouldn't it be better to buy the candy canes and spend time with your children?" And "Supermom" answered back, "Yes. Yes it would."


  About Tough Love

Tough Love

We're taking your parenting questions and asking for advice from some of the web's most popular mom bloggers. These thoughtful moms are not afraid to tell you exactly what they think. The result? Tough Love.

Looking for some parenting advice? Click here to send your question to our advice columnists. Remember, this is Tough Love - the advice may not always be diplomatic. But it will always be thoughtful, honest and straight from the hip.

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