10 Things to Say No To
A wise professor once told me that I could do it all, just not at the same time. While my husband can read a book, or even take a nap, my “relaxing Sunday” usually involves cleaning the house and working on one of my nine ongoing projects. (Any other Enneagram Number Threes out there?)
After becoming a mom, I realized how finite my hours were. I was doing things I thought I “should” do and sacrificing my own well-being and family time on things that were draining me.
Even if I’m a work in progress, the more things I say no to, the stronger I feel, the taller I stand, and the more sleep I get. I’m happier, healthier, and living a life filled with things, people, and activities that align with my values. Here are ten things I’m saying no to that are making me a better person and a better mom.
1. Documenting every moment of my child’s life
I’m a photographer and will always value documenting moments, but I want to be IN the moment more than I want a great instagram photo. I’m learning to leave my phone in the car or snap a quick shot and then put my phone/camera away, so we can go down the slide together and I can giggle with my son, face-to-face.
2. Sugar and carbs
I am in a coffee shop drinking a beer right now, so know I take this one in moderation. For health reasons, I was on a ketogenic diet before I got pregnant. I never felt as great as I did when I wasn’t eating carbs. It was hard and extreme, but I miss how much energy I felt, how my clothes fit, and how I never got that post-lunch slump. When you nourish your body, you reap the benefits. I’ve been cutting out carbs in little ways - exchanging a lettuce wrap for a bun or lasagna noodles for sliced zucchini.
3. Feeling guilty or wrong
There are so many things to feel bad about when you become a mom. Whether it's the type of diapers you use or whether you remembered to take a monthly photo of your baby, the standards we have set are unrealistic and just don't work for everyone. The unsolicited advice comes pouring in the second you become pregnant. You do you, mama.
4. Doing things because I feel bad about canceling
I've learned how important it is to let Oliver dictate our plans. When I push him past his nap time or plan too many activities in a day, he gets worn out and grumpy. In turn, it affects the quality of our family time and isn't respectful to him.
5. feeling bad about Leaving
Daycare was excruciating for me as a new mom and feeling so guilty for leaving him completely blindsided me. Even though I miss him, I'm a better mom because I work and am accomplishing my own career goals. To each her own, but I need my own time so that when I'm with Oliver, I'm a happy and fulfilled mom.
6. Comparing my life to others
I will probably never lay this one to rest completely, but I wish I could. Delete your Instagram, log off social media, lock up your phone. Open your eyes and touch, feel, see your own life. Get out a piece of paper and pencil and write (not type) all the beautiful things in your life. I strive to wake up grateful for what I have and who I am every single day. What I see on my newsfeed is just a highlight reel and everyone's life has its own messes and imperfections, not just mine.
7. Focusing on how I look
I was at the zoo with my brother and his family several years ago. They were chasing after their kids as they looked at baby sharks and fed the stingrays. I saw a mom who looked amazing with curled hair, a dress and wedges. I swore to never be like her as I saw her yelling at her kid to not get her dress wet. I like curling my hair and wearing fancy shoes, but I never want how I look and what I'm wearing to take priority.
8. Relationships that aren’t working
As I've now entered my third decade of life, I've come to peace with the fact that there are some friendships for different seasons of your life. Forcing relationships to work or spending time with someone who is draining or makes you feel guilty because your needs are now different as a mom, isn't worth your time. Be thankful for what you had together and move on.
9. Not making my marriage a priority
My husband is my best friend and we are in this journey together. Especially as parents, we have less time just the two of us. We take time to listen, apologize, laugh and continue making memories as a couple. At the end of this journey, it's him I want to be holding my hand.
Life will have bruises, messes, mistakes, crooked lines and torn pages. It is a part of life and fighting it is exhausting.