A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

A Mother’s Superpower: Knowing How to Say “No”.

Busyness, the New Social Competition

After a conversation the other day, with my dear sister-in-Christ, Jeanne, I began thinking about the busyness of not just motherhood, but of the busyness of childhood.

Admittedly this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this topic, or written about it on this blog.

In fact, this post on, “saying ‘no'” was written in 2015.

Although many things in my life (and in my writing) have changed since that post, much still remains the same.

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Just typing that was exhausting. It makes my brain hurt.

But What About Socialization?

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

If you’re reading this you’re likely a homeschool mother, or at the very least are familiar with the homeschool community. The constant question from the general population is always, “what about socialization”?

Having had to answer this a time or twenty, I understand the frustration.

Sadly though, I’ve discovered the continual barrage of this question on homeschool mothers has led many to over-socialize their children (and themselves).

We spend so much time as a society trying to improve our busyness, one-upping our friends on how busy we are, and sharing the constant activities, places, and events we’re either participating in, preparing to participate in, or have just participated in.

Mothers are humans too (although they’re often more superhuman than mere human), and they want to fit in with others just like their children do. This leads to worry about their children missing out on all the ‘things’.

Things = extracurricular activities: drama, music, dance, cooking class, various sports, etc.

There are quite literally more options for activities for our children than I can even wrap my head around. There could be several posts spent discussing these possible options.

Some of them are even good.

However, do our children really need to be overwhelmed by a smorgasbord of ‘good’ activities if it doesn’t leave them (or their mother) time for things that would prove to be more than just ‘good’?

Yes, I’m “That” Parent

I’m an introvert by nature, and a homebody on top of that. My family is convinced that I’m one step away from becoming a hermit. Especially since I can now have pretty much everything I need delivered to my doorstep.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Being a mother of highly social and obviously extroverted children, I’m not likely to see hermit-hood anytime in the next eighteen years or so.

So instead, I know that I need to maintain my sanity, while still providing for the interactive needs of my children.

This means making sure my children have outlets and activities to participate in.

Activities in and of themselves aren’t ‘bad’.

Over-scheduling ourselves and our families is.

I’ll be honest, there are tons of things my children want to get involved in.

There are even quite a few I’ve considered for my children.

However, after prayerfully considering these activities, and my own sanity–as well as God’s call for me to raise my children for His glory, I always come to the realization that these extra activities are just ‘good’.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

Does this mean I say ‘no’ to a lot of opportunities for my children?

Yes.

Is my twelve-year old daughter bummed about missing out on a social group or activity her friends are participating in?

Also, Yes.

As Mothers We Need to Know When to Say “No”.

My children are already busier than I would ideally like. However, the activities they’re in were prayerfully considered.

Whenever possible they’re in activities at the same place and time.

Since my husband works nights and is often gone for long hours of over-time and commuting; I treasure the time he is home, and try to make sure the kids are home to get every extra moment they can with him.

If I’m going to give up family time for individual activities, they have to be more than just ‘good’. They have to be great.

There are times when this actually causes us to skip a particular activity for the week, simply because, to me, family togetherness far outweighs social activities.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Our Activities:

  • As a family we attend church together on Sundays.
  • Tuesdays my husband takes the three older kiddos to the gym where they participate in homeschool PE (and I stay home for much needed snuggles with the youngest).
  • Wednesdays the kiddos and I participate in Awana at our church. Two Wednesdays a month my eldest works with the tech team for the middle school worship team during our Awana time.
  • Thursdays we have our homeschool Co-Op

The days we don’t have scheduled activities we have game time, and just take it easy.

Children need time to “be bored”, and if every moment of their days are scheduled with activities they never have the opportunity to discover ways to entertain themselves.

There are weeks when my eldest is invited to a birthday party, or to spend a few hours at a friend’s house.

Most of the time she’ll be allowed to go, and always enjoys her time.

Other times, I’ll use my motherhood superpower and say, “no”.

A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

Not because I have anything against her having friends, or experiencing life; but because sometimes there are things more important than those moments of excitement and fun.

Sometimes, there is a voice whispering in my heart “no, not this time”.

I’ve learned to listen to that voice.

Give Yourself Grace

One of the hardest parts about being a mother, is remembering to give ourselves grace. We often forget that God shows us all grace everyday, but we find it nearly impossible to show that same grace to ourselves.

Saying no isn’t always easy. Sometimes you’ll second guess your decisions. That’s normal.

I’ve learned in the last four years so many amazing things about myself, and my children. Had I said yes to every activity that sounded good, I don’t think there would have been time or closeness for these discoveries.

Saving my ‘yes’ for only the best things, has made a huge impact on my family’s lives.

We may not be doing ‘all the things’, but we are getting to know each other; to learn together, and to live our lives together.

Not just living from one activity to another, but actually living in the moment.

Something to Consider:

Start small. Try setting one day a week aside where you don’t participate in any activities outside the house. Use this time to connect on a more relaxed level with your children.

Something to Pray:

Heavenly Father,

May we strive to prayerfully know what the best use of our ‘yes’ is. We ask for guidance in saying ‘no’ when everyone else is saying ‘yes’. Help us to make intentional use of our time with our families that we may raise our children for Your glory.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Until next time,

wellofaith
A Mother's Superpower: Knowing How to Say No--wellofaith.com

If you’re looking for a good book on this topic, I recommend this book by Lysa Terkeurst.

Advertisements

3 comments

Add Yours
  1. Temi Michael-O

    Great post! I just said no to more work hours so I can spend more time with my son. It feels so good now and I feel less overwhelmed. We should not let society teach us what to do with our family. I like that you mentioned prayerfully choosing what you say yes to. I need to practice that more often.

  2. Lisa R. Howeler

    As a homeschooling mom I can relate to this: “I’m an introvert by nature, and a homebody on top of that. My family is convinced that I’m one step away from becoming a hermit. Especially since I can now have pretty much everything I need delivered to my doorstep.” This is me! But what isn’t exactly our family is we aren’t involved as much as we should be with our local homeschooling group. They don’t have a co-op and only offer a couple events a month. I wish it was a little more, to be honest. We enjoy our time at home, though. My worry is that my 13-year old son is becoming a hermit! This is our second year homeschooling and now I’ve added my 5-year old daughter and she’s getting almost no interaction at all because of my introvert behavior but also because there aren’t a lot of homeschooling activities here for her age. Anyhow, glad to have found your blog and a fellow homeschooler!

    • Well O' Faith

      It is really hard to find the right activities if the area you live in doesn’t have a lot of options. Praying you’re able to find what’s right for you and your family.

      It’s lovely to connect with you!

Leave a Reply