Things I am saying 'no' to this year
One lesson that motherhood taught me is that I simply cannot do it all myself. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘it takes a village' but I never truly understood until I became a mom.
I’ve learned to really let go of a lot in order to be a mom.
I don’t mean that in a negative way. Honestly, it’s been a wonderful life lesson that has been shaping me as a human, how I run my business and the relationships I have. When you become a mom, everything shifts and you have to learn to care for a tiny being that needs you to survive. It’s an adjustment and it requires you to sometimes change parts of your life.
When I first had Ford, I thought I could still balance everything perfectly…but then with every day that passed, I realized I was dropping balls, making mistakes and in turn, feeling like I was not ‘enough’ because I couldn’t handle some of the things that were once easy to me.
So, I had to learn to say ‘no.’
I started slowly. First saying no to little things, the things that I would normally say ‘yes’ to but didn’t really want to do be doing. The extra things that easily pile up. Like that volunteer commitment that feels more like a chore than a fulfilling experience or the networking event that is always the same people and doesn’t really serve you in any way. Those were easy ‘no’s.’ It took some guts to work through the harder ones, like saying ‘no’ to work projects and to the extra things that I once did to go above & beyond as a wife, friend or business owner. And the even harder no’s? The ones that are a part of my day-to-day routine, like saying ‘no’ to cooking every night or the expectation of keeping my home perfectly tidy. It’s even these things that can make us not feel enough when in the trenches of learning to be the best mom we can be.
But I am learning to enjoy letting go more and more each day. Here are a few things I committed to saying ‘no’ to this year to cherish my first year of motherhood.
Looking perfectly put together each day - It’s honestly a good day if I have time to shower. I’ve learned to let go the expectation that I will look perfectly put together in this season I am in. I’ve learned to embrace my day two & day three hair. I’ve learned to love the feeling of swapping my leggings for jeans and that being enough for me. While I sometimes miss the girl that would curate the perfect look everyday for work, that isn’t a priority for me right now.
Cooking dinner every night - I don’t hold myself to cooking dinner every night. I used to think that would make me a ‘good wife.’ But when I am exhausted from being up at night with the baby and then working a full day or even just at-home being a mom, I don’t want to put that added pressure on myself. I’ve learned to find healthy meal options (cooking at least 3-4x per week) that are often pre-made or an easy skillet situation from Trader Joe’s because I just don’t have the energy to do it all from scratch. And that’s okay. My family is doing just fine by eating that way! I know that as Ford gets older and I find more time, cooking will be something I have more room for, but in this first year, I am giving myself grace in not being a gourmet chef Oh, and I definitely am not opposed to takeout at least 1x per week!
Going to every event I am invited to - This one is hard for me because I usually get a bad case of FOMO, but it’s been so good for my soul to say ‘no’ to extracurricular events and evening commitments. I learned to say ‘no’ at first due to Ford’s nighttime routine and now I just cherish that time at home when my family is together. My rule of thumb is to save my monthly evening commitments and events to anything that is either paid/requirement with a client or business opportunity OR 1-2 fun events per month that are different and feel like a good fit. I’ve learned that I don’t have to be at every event in order to be successful or liked. It’s better to be intentional with your time than to be too stretched.
Doing my laundry or cleaning my house every week - This one was out of necessity. My personal laundry was always last to get done. My house was always tidy, but I never had time to deep clean. So, I did something that I do for my business when I find myself not loving a specific task…I outsourced it! After doing some research, I realized that outsourcing a deep cleaning 2x per month and laundry services on a bi-weekly basis were actually something we could afford. It’s really not that extravagant and is saving me so much time! Time I can pour back into being a mom and business owner. Time to enjoy hanging my freshly pressed clothing back up without having to do the laundry, fold, hang, and repeat. PSA: WishWash Laundry service is what I use and it is absolutely wonderful. I highly recommend looking into them for your laundry needs if you are based in Kansas City. Right now, I am utilizing their services for my personal laundry and for my husband’s work clothing! It’s a game changer only having to focus on Ford’s daily laundry now.
Taking on every business opportunity - The things I am saying ‘no’ to are not just personal. I’ve had to learn to say ‘no’ to areas of my business as well. And that includes not taking on every opportunity that comes my way. Pre-baby, I would work 24/7 and would take on any and every project. Now that my time is more limited, I am much more conscience of the projects I take on. I typically ask myself these questions… Is this a project I am genuinely excited about? How much work will it be? Will the time and hours be worth it? Will I enjoy working with the people involved? I’ve noticed that the projects that are not the right fit are typically the ones that feel forced. If you are already questioning them before they begin, it’s likely not going to get easier. So, I use my gut instinct a lot when it comes to making smart business decisions now.
Getting drunk or staying up too late - This is very random, but has made a huge difference in how I feel as a mom and how I function as a business owner. I have significantly decreased how and when I drink. Not that I ever had a drinking problem, but I did enjoy a glass of wine after work or Happy Hour get-togethers a few times a week. Once I became pregnant, I realized I didn’t need alcohol to be fun and actually that I loved not being hungover. I felt so much more productive and clear headed! Obviously, I don’t have much time to drink and having a hangover when you have a baby is the worst, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good cocktail or glass of rose, but I do it all in MAJOR moderation now. Maybe 1-2 drinks per week total. I also need to get my sleep! I’ve learned to say ‘no’ to late nights and no favor daytime activities and dates more than ever.
Being overly involved in everything - I used to be a serial volunteer. Always saying ‘yes’ to helping out or offering my skills for different non-profit’s and it was honestly so draining and overwhelming at times. When I realized I was pregnant, I decided to stop a few of these commitments in the anticipation that I would get back into the swing of it once Ford was here. Now he is here and I’ve realized that I have even less time than ever. So, I have learned to say ‘no’ to adding anything extra to my plate unless I know I can commit and do a really good job. I’ve learned that it’s better to less really well than to give to more places in small pieces.
Friendships that feel forced - You know the ones…the friendships that feel like more of an obligation than a two-way relationship. Before I had a baby, I didn’t realized how many friends I had that weren’t serving me equally. Once I had Ford, I realized the friends that I had that were truly there for me for the right reasons. I’ve learned to let go of friendships and even though it’s been hard at times, I feel so much lighter and happier not having to give myself to so many people and only pouring into the friendships that are meaningful for both of us.