Thursday, November 11, 2010

Just Say No

I was inspired by Tracy's recent post, How Do You Do It, in which she hands out some very practical advice for working moms. I especially like her suggestion about learning how to say "no."

I'm getting better at being a naysayer. This year, I've agreed to arrange arts assemblies at our Fine School (lower and upper divisions), which is a fairly easy job, all things considered, and now I feel free to say "no" to absolutely everything else that's asked of me.

Write auction copy for the Annual Our Fine School auction? Nope, can't do it. Fill in for the lunchtime reader who's come down with a sudden case of the sniffles? No, no, gosh, sorry, but no. Help out with the Ellis Island recreation for the third grade? No, I don't think so.

(By the way, I have no idea how I made the Ellis Island list, given that I don't have a third grader. It makes me afraid that having volunteered to be the Arts Assembly Lady, I'm now considered an easy mark and have made lists all across the Our Fine School Universe. Well, they'll learn soon enough, won't they? Though the Ellis Island thing does actually sound interesting ...)

Saying "no" is an art. I've learned to say it immediately, the very second my presence is requested. I used to fiddle-faddle around and say I'd get back to you, could I think about that for a day or two and drop you an email? For awhile, during my transition phase from doormat to Ms. Negative, I used the Man as my excuse. "Gosh, I really need to check with my husband about that."

But now I just say "no." To soften the blow, sometimes I'll say, "No, I'm sorry, I just don't have time for that right now." As I've watched the new PTA president visibly age after just a few months of service, I feel my confidence grow. Saying yes will cause you to prematurely wrinkle. Stay away from it.


The baking continues. The big hits so far (other than cookies and pies, of course) are waffles and honeywheat bread. The pretzels and crackers were eaten, but not with any overly-great enthusiasm. Listen, if my kids want to become the sort of people who snack on bread and jam or whole grain waffles popped into the toaster (I've been making big batches and freezing them), who am I to complain? Beats Twinkies.

Okay, well, I'm off to Will's Cub Scout meeting, where they'll be racing rockets tonight. The Man was out until midnight last night helping set up the wires they'll race the rockets on. This is a new thing the Scouts are doing this year. Do I have any reason to believe it will work, that the boys won't end up spending the evening throwing their little brightly painted, balsa wood rockets at each other and then stomping all over them?

No, no I do not.


GretchenJoanna said...

I love: "transition phase from doormat to Mrs. Negative." Go, girl! Godspeed your transformation. Negativism for a good cause....

wayside wanderer said...

Well, your post may explain a few things about my face. Oy.
Your baking sounds delish! Yum!!

victoria said...

Yes, "no" is a very good word to learn. When I realised I could say no to anything related to cooking (for school fairs, suppers, etc) things really looked up for me.

Tracy said...

Lest your transformation go too far...a soft no seems to go over better. Somehow people seem so surprised when you come out with a definitive "no" that communicates "absolutely not". A message for myself, as much as anyone!!!

Yup, homemade baked anything is better than a storebought (un)equivalent. I'm super impressed with your bake-fest!

Susan said...

I too have taken on the battle of saying "no." What I have observed, however, that my female "no" seems to still prompt the asker to ask another time just in case I didn't really mean it; my "no" seems to often be interpreted as a "maybe" and pushing a bit harder might change my response to "yes." My husband, on the other hand, can say "no," and he's not asked again in another way or looked at with a long glance as if asking for an explanation for the response of no.
Think Antioch College in the 80's. "No means, no."

So soldier on in your crusade of "no" but know that this new stance will require you to be prepared to wear armor and engage in battle in some cases. There occasionally will be resistance to your new stance, but in the end it's worth it to only be committed to things that seem worthwhile to you. It's much more fulfilling to be doing a reasonable number of commitments that you feel invested in than spread thin among responsibilities that feel petty or overwhelming.

Pom Pom said...

Yum! All that baking smells lovely!

Gumbo Lily said...

Just say no.....
to crack ( and everything else you don't want to do!

Are you going to share your honey wheat bread recipe? Bread and jam, or bread and honey or bread and butter is my favorite snack. Oh, and so's buttered toast.



Ali said...

So, have I got this straight, I say "No, I'm trying to prevent premature ageing". I think that could work...