Over the years I have served on the boards of a
number of non-profit organizations and churches. These experiences cemented for
me that I never want to serve on another board of any kind at any time. Ever.
So when I was asked to
consider becoming an officer of my daughter's school PTA board I posted a status to Facebook and inquired, only half
joking, “How does one say, 'Hell to the
“No. Not 'No
Thank You.' Not 'Not right now.' Just 'No.'”
to the ah to the no, no, no.”
“'No' is a
“I'm sorry, but
I just can't help you.”
“Ask if it
will be paid monthly or weekly. LOL”
maniacally. Run away. Lather, rinse, repeat.”
sorry, I don't speak English."
“Excuse me ...
I have a root canal that I'm looking forward to.”
“Tell them you
have chronic diarrhea and it is contagious.”
on taking my drinking to a whole new level next year, but if you're OK with
but other commitments make it so I can't devote the attention and care that
would be needed. I'm sure (insert name of someone who has it coming) would be
thrilled to join you!”
aside, I mean no disrespect to the awesome parents who do volunteer to serve on
the the board of the PTA. I know them. I love them. I appreciate them. It’s just not
something I personally want to do. I think the
best response I received on Facebook was this:
your time is like money. Would you hand over a blank check? Not meaning to sound
flippant, but the only one who is going to protect you is you.”
That can be a
hard one for us moms. We tend to give until we have nothing left. We feel
obligated to, if not actually, do it all. At least we try to. And we run ourselves
ragged. We have to
learn to set limits. It’s OK to say, “No.” It doesn’t make you a bad mom. Or
person. Doing so is actually essential to your sanity and well-being. An
important life skill. Start early and practice often.
gracious ways to say, “No.” And you don’t have to apologize for it or even
explain yourself. You have the
right to say no to people visiting you after your baby is born. Also, to ignore
unsolicited parenting advice and to turn down the invite to a mom-and-baby yoga
class. You have the
right to not participate in the preschool fundraising bake sale. To pass on the
neighborhood book club. Or host a playdate at your home.
If you want to
do those things and have time for them, by all means say, "Yes!" But never
do it out of a sense of obligation. Do it because it is what you want to do.
I currently say
yes to being my child’s room parent. I chaperone field trips. I volunteer at
her school’s book fair. I advocate for education change. I enjoy those
experiences. And with the flexibility of working from home, I have time for
But I learned
long ago how to say "No." And it has made all the difference.