The One Thing That Saved My Mental Health


I realized I had a problem when I was in high school. Think back to your high school job. If it was like mine, you’d often get last minute phone calls asking to pick up shifts when someone called in. I’d answer the phone, my manager would be on the other end, asking if I could work from 6-9 that night. Most times I said yes, even though I wanted to say no. Sometimes, I had something going on and really couldn’t go in. Other times, I cancelled plans of things I actually wanted to do, so I could make my boss happy. And yet other times, I had no reason, I just didn’t want to. Those two seconds after he would ask me to come in, my brain would go into OVERDRIVE. Omg, I don’t want to work, but what could I say? What excuse could I come up with? 

When I would see my work calling, I’d always run to my mom. Mom, the salon is calling! They’re gonna to ask me to work. What can I say? She would always say, just say no. I’d walk away, rolling my eyes, mumbling “thanks for the help” under my breath. But, turns out, she was right. That’s it. No. That’s all I needed to say. I didn’t need an explanation behind it. But, most of my responses ended up sounding something like, “oh gosh, I would love to but I have to go to my grandma’s for dinner/babysit from 5-10/insert another excuse here”. Reality is… no is enough. But, the funny thing is, as I got older, it didn’t get any easier.

As I became a mom to twins, and eventually one more, life got hectic. But I still couldn’t say no to anyone. Oh, you want me to babysit your three kids, on top of my own? Sure. You want me to write your resume for you? Sure. You want me to wake up my kids from their nap to meet you at the most inconvenient time? Of course!

It didn’t come until recently, where I somehow found this magical power of saying no. It’s still a work in progress. But to be able to simply say, “Oh, I can’t tomorrow. Have fun though!” … well, it has honestly been life changing. Because it comes with the realization that my time is valuable and my happiness is just as important as anyone else’s. Let me repeat that: Your time is valuable and your happiness is just as important as anyone else’s.

As moms, we are so busy. Our plates are overflowing. But, still, we are constantly adding to them. We may not even have time to shower, but everyone else is always taken care of. You might have wanted to the gym, or maybe you needed to go shopping… when was the last time you sat with a glass of wine and painted your nails? Never. But, your friend got her date night thanks to you, and you showed face at that family event you didn’t want to go to, and you got yet ANOTHER Thirty-One bag from that party you didn’t want to go to. But, what about YOU, mama?! You need to say YES to you, too!

“By saying yes when you need to say no, you cripple the most important relationship in your life: the relationship between you and you.” -Nea Joy.

If there’s one thing I learned in my twenties, it was this. “No” is a complete sentence. It does not require justification or explanation. I simply urge you to try it. Give yourself permission to say no to anything that makes you unhappy or drains your energy. Say no to the next thing you don’t want to do. Then grab a cup of coffee, sit down, and enjoy that brief feeling of pure relief… before someone needs a snack, or has to go potty, or the phone rings. 😉





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