The Subtle Art of ‘No’

I could sense the familiar feeling rise up in me. My heart beating faster. My lungs failing to gasp in the proper amount of air. My hands beginning to slightly tremble. I tried to step away from my current situation. Removing myself from the room seemed like it could be helpful. I needed to regain myself. Yet, I still could not catch my breath. Every time I tried to let air in, it escaped me before I could reach the peak of intake.

I didn’t know exactly why I had this sudden attack but I know that it is always more likely to take residence in my body if I allow myself to get overwhelmed, either with my schedule or with emotional issues. When I take the burden on myself or try to keep up with the constant demands of life, I find myself drowning in busyness. But, when I take a step back and really choose how I want to use my time, I find the beauty in stopping to smell the roses and just enjoying what I have today.

And us moms, we need to stick together. We know how much is asked of each of us throughout a 24-hour day. We know the seven million things that consume our mind every few minutes. We know all four spills that will inevitably occur during meal time. We are mommin’ hardcore. So, in order to gain (or regain) our sanity, we really need to deem what is worth our time in every given day.

The Subtle Art of 'No' | Twin Cities Moms Blog{Photo credit: Slow Road Photography}

Moms are super busy. And I hear it every day:

“I know you are so busy, but…”

“I know your life is jam-packed…”

“I bet you are so busy and don’t have time for…”

Just like anything in life, it’s all about choices. So, yes, my days are full of mommin.’ And I love it. Mommin’ ain’t easy, but it’s also extremely rewarding and joy-filled.

As with all seasons of life, they are filled with transitions and changes, pits and peaks, highs and lows. And I am currently in a season of, wait for it…. NO.

Let’s just call it exactly that: My Season of ‘No.’

Because let’s face it, life is filled with so many amazing opportunities. Work, school, family life, church, community activities, sports, friends, and let’s not forget our very own passions, dreams and aspirations. And if you are a mom that somehow finds a way to squeeze in time for, dare I say it, a HOBBY!

And we want to say YES to everything. A loud resounding YES. Because we want to be able to do it all, make everyone happy and conquer the day. And more often than not, it’s all actually really good stuff. Life-giving stuff that fills your soul and makes an impact on other people and creates for some great experiences and memories. But, as you start passing out too many yes’s, it begins to become a bit life-sucking. Because, before you know it, you have spread yourself too thin and you are unable to find balance in all your roles in life.

Which is why I don’t want to be busy. And I realize I have the tools and capabilities to not be too busy if I am in a time of life where I can’t carry that load. I don’t want someone to start a sentence with “I know you are busy, but…” because, I just want to have the capacity to invest in relationships and emotionally give of myself. I can begin to transition some choices in my life to allow for the space I need and for the air my lungs crave.

I can too easily fall into this trap and that is when I learned to utilize the word NO.

“No, I can’t join this particular ladies’ night.”

“No, I can’t schedule the playdate this week.”

“No, my kids will not be playing on the team this year.”

“No, I can’t help out on this field trip.”

“Heck no, I cannot join your 30-day Facebook Challenge!”

Whatever it is, it’s OKAY to know your threshold for what you can and cannot handle in this season of life. You may enter a time in life where you can say yes more often because time allows or circumstances change. But know that your best YOU will be able to shine when you have the ability to recharge, relax and learn the subtle art of “No.”

The downtime, creative space and ability to just “be” instead of always my gut reaction to “do” has truly been life-changing. I have the capability to give more of myself to the select projects and people I do say “yes” to and THAT is an empowering concept. I am better for it, my family is better for it and those I interact with on a daily basis are better for it. And I also choose not to walk in guilt from the things I have said no to. The confidence in my yes must be stronger and louder than the unnecessary guilt from my no.

So, I challenge you to practice it. Practice saying ‘no,’ and see how this one little word can make an impact on your life.

Meghan Yancy
Meghan's whole life mantra is living for today and finding joy in your extraordinary ordinary life. It's been a fulfilling calling as she navigates life as a wife, mother and writer. She has been married to her hunk of a husband for 9 years and they have 5 beautiful children together (so far.) Meghan homeschools her 5 children at their home in Brooklyn Park and runs her website while writing her first book. She loves crafting, hiking, reading a good book with a hot cup of tea and having a dance party any time of the day. (Although her sweet dance moves seem to digress more each passing year.) You can follow along with the day-to-day over at her website: and her Instagram: @meghanjoytoday.



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