Diary Adventures of LagosMums: DALM | Embracing No as a Mother
The idea of embracing no as a mother is something that I am just getting acquainted with and wonder why it took so long to get here. It is easy to always want to take on more and to please people. Many women buy into the notion that women are multi-taskers and can wear many hats at the same time.
The Search for Balance as a Mother
It starts with the children’s school where all mums seem to be balancing their roles as career women and mums just fine. Those who are staying at home always seem to look so relaxed and breezily available. So when your child comes home and asks you to follow her on a school trip or to volunteer more in class.; you find it difficult to say No. It is even harder to say no as a mother when he or she looks at you with semi-accusatory eyes and mentions all the other mums who get involved with school activities.
Then what about your place of worship? Every time there is an announcement calling out passive members who just come for service and go; you feel like they are talking to you. So when you are asked to join a planning committee, you feel that as a good church member you should volunteer your time. Add this to your already ballooning list of things to do.
Lagos is a busy town! There is always some brand or PR agency running a campaign who send you a glossy save the date invitation. Weekends and evenings are full of some fancily named soiree. The truth is after working hard all week or spending time dealing with your generator, you don’t mind the opportunity to get dressed up and sip on some mocktails on a Sunday afternoon.
When you see pictures splashed across Instagram, Facebook and twitter it makes it seem as if everyone else seems to make the time! So you RSVP Yes. More activities to balance.
The hustle that goes with earning to keep up the high standard of living in Lagos is on another level. So whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee you probably need some side hustle to pay the bills and to get the deal done.
Work never seems to end thanks to the smart devices, so you no longer have the luxury to “close” from work. It just seems to go on and on, emails are always a click away.
Finally one day I just realised that the one person who was suffering the most was me. My busy schedule and all these things I was doing were leaving me with no time to recharge.
Recently I took a leadership class that made me list out how I spend my time. The next step was to assess what I said was important to me or versus what I truly wanted to spend my time on.
The results showed that I was out of sync. What I wanted to spend time doing and what I was actually doing were miles apart. See I was fond of saying yes and really needed to get acquainted with saying “No” more often. Just a simple no – not with a long explanation of the reasons I was saying no.
So I have had to learn the discipline to really pause and look at the offer before me. Whether it is an invitation to attend an event, or a request to take on another project; I pause before I respond. [Read: Motherhood is equivalent of two and a half full-time jobs]
I take time to decide if I truly need to say yes. I am learning to look at my time more critically. Because doing the right things at the wrong times does not help. This includes checking my twitter handle or blackberry in the middle of the night.
I am learning to get more comfortable with just saying No to things that do not fit into my plan for the day or long term goals. Of course, I am still flexible to deal with major priorities when the need arises. But I am in control of my time now. Every time you say yes..you say no to something else.
Originally published on Jul 02 2015