Hey You, Military Spouse, You CAN (and should!) Say No…

Why yes, I’d love to help.

                   Sure, I’ll bring my chicken dip to the party.

                                    Of course I’ll run the small group for fall.

How many of these statements have you found yourself saying? How many time do you volunteer to help out, cook something, attend an event that maybe you don’t really want to go to just because you think you should? Or worse, how often do you find yourself stretched so thin because you just do not quite know how to say no when someone asks you do pitch in?

If you’re anything like me, your planner is full of meetings, appointments, sports nights, date nights, homework assignments, dinner planning, and errands that need to get done every week. Work life, home life, kid life, social life, they all combine to make life so busy it is hard to take a moment to breathe! I can remember talking to a counselor and as I listed the things I did each week she said something that stuck with me.

“We are human beings. But we have turned into a generation of human doings instead. We try to do everything and forget that taking time to just be is important.”

Society has made us feel like we need to be able to do it all.  This isn’t a question of having it all.  That is an article for another day. But doing it all. Work, faith, family, school. We have to say yes to everything because saying no is selfish.  We have to be willing to lead the small group at church and be room mom in the classroom and have weekly date nights with the husband and attend girls’ night so our friends don’t feel left out. We have to be on the go all the time.

What a crock!

Want to know what happens when you try and keep up with it all? You start running on coffee and your husband tells you to cancel date night and just take a nap. You end up so run down that you don’t want to move off the couch. You start to break down because over scheduling means you’ve forgotten one major thing on the calendar. Self care.

Self-care requires us to say no. It means figuring out what we really want to be a part of and turning down offers that do not benefit our mental health. I’m not saying that our friends and our families drive us to the wine bottle, but sometimes knowing we already have too much on our plate requires us to tell people we love that right now is not a good time to make another commitment.

Self-care also requires us to ask for help. Sometimes the problem isn’t that we are stretched so thin, it is that we are trying to do it all on our own. I know I’m awful about asking for help. It is just in the past year that I have finally started to tell my husband when I need something or am becoming overwhelmed. And since we bought our house I am willing to reach out to friends and ask them for help too. Life is not meant to be lived alone so having these people I can turn to when I am struggling means that I am able to stress the small stuff less and enjoy the commitments I make more.

And if all else fails…you can always use your spouse as the excuse for not going somewhere. Everyone understands, “Well they just got home from a mission/underway/training course and we are going to be spending the weekend naked.”

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