Last week, I was once again sitting in traffic on my way to drop my daughter off at preschool. My blood was boiling with the insanity that is Nolensville Pike in the mornings. I had been in that van every day for the past few weeks, and it seemed like my rear was doomed to conform to the shape of my Sienna driver’s seat.
When did this happen? When my first daughter was born, I told myself that we would not be like “those moms” who are always frenzied, pushing their kids to get ready because there were places to go, things to do, and errands to run. I told myself I would be the relaxed mom who other women look at and say, “Wow, she’s got it together.”
But then, our second daughter was born and my carefully plotted out schedule got a little more real. Instead of balancing one daughter’s needs? I’m dealing with two.
Then I am constantly reminded of all these things that we NEED to do in order to live:
Kids should have routine, that way they know what to expect each day. Make routine a priority.
In order to make the transition to Kindergarten go more smoothly, you should prepare them to do more things during the week.
Sleep is really important for babies, so make sure your infant sleeps when they need it. Drop everything and make it happen.
You really need some alone time to take care of yourself. Schedule time to do the things you love. Make yourself a priority.
It’s important for there to be order in your home because if it is too disorderly it will affect your children’s sense of security and their development. Make order a priority.
Go out on frequent dates with your husband. Make him a priority.
As a mama, you should make time for other women in your life. You must have community so you don’t feel isolated. Make friendships a priority.
The obesity rate in our country is at an all-time high. Make sure your kids are active. Make their health a priority.
Add in sleep and the occasional shower, and it’s enough to make the most calm person go insane. This mama with the flat school-car-line butt cannot handle more obligations.
As my van was once again inching forward behind another frenzied, Starbucks-drinking mom, I had a revelation. I have a choice. I don’t have to listen to every “should” and “must” and “have to.” No is a powerful word. And I can use it.
“No” can change the course of your life. It can leave room for other things that bring joy and a future without all the obligations attached. You don’t even have to make excuses. When you say “No,” you are drawing a line in the sand. Boundaries, my friends. They are essential for life.
Mamas, you cannot make everything a priority. Otherwise, nothing is a priority. Saying the right “No” gives your “yes” more impact. When I had that revelation, I made some phone calls and cleared some of my schedule for the year. Life was no longer just happening to me. It was no longer dictated by others expectations. That’s the power of that two-letter word.
And isn’t this something we’d like to pass on to our children? That life does happen, but we don’t have to allow it to overtake us? I want my daughters to learn the power of “No” so that they can be genuinely and whole-heartedly engaged when they say “Yes.”