How Saying “No” Helps Me Be the Mom I Want to Be

Many say that motherhood is hard, but no one said that it can be a complete 180 degree turn. I gave birth at 33 and at the height of the pandemic no less. Most of my energy is now spent on caring for a little person whose adorable smile and cute antics can instantly melt my heart. Was it easy to transition into this new life? No. Was it inevitable? Yes.

At the beginning, I felt very guilty about saying no to opportunities, to new hobbies, and to my own personal milestones apart from what comes with Motherhood. I considered everything as a gift and told myself, “How lucky am I to get to stretch myself, earn extra money from my multiple part-time work, and still get to juggle so many things while easing into Mom life.” I continued working even after my full-time job shift, took breaks for breastfeeding, then would pack what’s left of my day with other to-dos. I believed I was fulfilling so many expectations by saying yes to everything, by doing it all.

But then it was only a matter of time until I found myself in a rut. I was too tired, too deflated, and had zero motivation to do anything. My thought process was: Be everything, for everyone, without losing who you were before. The way this line of thinking backfired made me reflect and realize what this whole motherhood season truly is all about for me. It’s about relishing, about taking time to discover, and just being present in the moment. It’s about pulling back instead of charging forward. It’s about giving myself time and allowing myself to say no to things without the guilt. Can you relate, mom? Here are some of the things I decided to say no to in order to finally be the type of mom I’ve always wanted to be! Read on.

No to overtimes
Before you judge me for being mediocre, this doesn’t mean I don’t go over and above my job description. I do! But what I started to do differently was to work smarter and prioritized where I allotted my energy and attention to. I had to cut off my part-time job because that required me to work extra hours. I’d choose to spend time with my daughter rather than continue working because that’s something money can’t buy.

No to second guessing
At the beginning, I had a lot of questions and doubts about my life decisions and direction. I wasn’t sure if saying goodbye to projects and responsibilities was the correct thing to do. I was so used to anchoring my worth in the amount of work I could churn out that I second guessed myself when I felt a tugging feeling that led me to a different direction. Was I doing enough? Am I proud about my decisions? I questioned myself most of the time but when I started to own my new role as a mom, everything cleared up. Right now, my highest priority is being a present mom. While other people may argue that it shouldn’t be the case because I’ll lose myself in the process, I’m giving myself the chance to soak completely in this season because why not? I know in my gut that what I’m doing is correct and I won’t allow anyone to tell me otherwise.

No to saying Yes!
I have been a yes person ever since. Want a new project? Yes! Want to go on an adventure? Yes! Want to try this and that? Yes! But now that my days are filled with looking after my child, I have learned to fall in love with saying “no”. The feeling is liberating! And know that you, too, can say no, mama! If you’re tired and over stretched, you can take a rest. If you need to recharge and take a moment, say no to any plans. You are not missing out on anything because you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.

Motherhood doesn’t necessarily rob us off of our old lives either. In fact, I think it helps us evolve into a different version of ourselves and that’s something to celebrate! So, let’s make the most out of our new selves and discover all of the wonderful treasures that go with it.

Allow me to leave you with one last piece of encouragement:

Saying "No" means I'm giving myself time and grace to wrap my head around my new season as a mother. I'm choosing to be present and available because saying "No" now makes me say "Yes" to my own best version of motherhood.

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