It’s begun. The festivities, the shopping, the madness! It is, most likely, your busiest time of the year, preparing for all the upcoming holidays. But here’s where it gets sticky…

Others see mamas as Wonder Women, getting all the things done. I mean, face it, we are rock stars in our own right! We’re taking care of other little humans, and there is nothing more rock star than that. So, others see all the awesomeness and think, “She could do {insert given task, event planning, craft, etc.} too!” Here’s where I am going to write my first “no”.  NO, you don’t have to do it; no you don’t have to feel bad.  If you are anything like me, that mom guilt will instinctively kick in. So, I’ve compiled fail-safe list of things to say “no” to. You have my permission. You’re welcome.

1. Volunteering

You’re a stay-at-home mom? Great. You are a working mom? Also great. BOTH positions are chosen, and decisions have been made for your family and your time to be well spent. If you want to volunteer your time, go for it. I volunteer too, but on my own terms. Don’t feel obligated to squeeze in as much volunteering as you can, because you won’t enjoy it and you will feel under-appreciated. Don’t even get me started on volunteering after school when your reason for having time after school is to see your kids at home… Set your boundaries, regardless of what your “work hours” look like. And don’t feel guilty about it.

2. Family visits

Of course you must see your family! Family is everything; we love our family! But you have every right to limit when and how you see your family. You know when your kids will need a nap, have a meltdown or be hungry for more than aunt Edna’s rice pudding and cause a scene. It is way better to set a time that works for your family unit, than have high-stress, low-enjoyment when you are together with your extended family members.

3. Brain picking

“Can I pick your brain?” or worse – being asked out for a coffee without stating what that coffee is really all about. I am more than willing to help pretty much anyone. I love sharing my expertise, and any knowledge that I have picked up along the way, with others. Heck, that’s why I have a blog! But again, you need to set limits on when to do that, and for how long.

4. Too many family activities

Does your child love hockey, soccer, gymnastics, art, music and swimming? Fantastic. You are raising a well-rounded, creative little person who will surely become a stellar part of society. Now, if your child does not register in a professional team or league for each of these activities, that is really OK. As a rule of thumb, we let our children decide on two activities per season. That means they have two to three days of extra activities outside of school. That is all. That doesn’t mean they can’t play music or paint a masterpiece at home. It just means we aren’t paying (in time and money) for more than that each season. Feel comfortable saying no to your kids.

5. Overeating

Wwhen it comes to get-togethers, inevitably, there is some form of eating involved. I love food. But lately, I have been shying away from some meats and I can get downright nauseous if I eat certain spices. But if you don’t have serious dietary constrains it’s hard to say no, right? Wrong. Say no. Say it proudly. Get used to saying it, especially around food. Yeah, you might cause a fuss with some people, but if they are your friends, they won’t be watching your every spoonful anyway, and they’ll simply be happy to have your company.

6. Clutter

The holidays bring gifts, and treats and decorations abound. Don’t drown in other peoples’ things that they think you will like. Say thank you. Be grateful. But use your inside voice to shout “No!” to cluttering up your home. I have been working darn hard to get stuff out of my drawers and closets that were filled with things we don’t wear, use or need. I’m not planning on filling it back up again anytime soon. Keep things that mean something to you, that make you feel good, that honour people you love, and that you can have fun with. And if your friends hit the nail on the head with gifts, lucky you! But try the one-in-one-out rule to keep your clutter at bay.

I hope this list will help you say no with ease. Because let’s face it, saying “yes” doesn’t always mean you’re helping anyone or yourself if it’s done with guilt. Saying yes to saying no can be the best thing you do for everyone involved!

Julia a.k.a. Mama MOE was a freelance fashion writer before she had three wonderful children (one plus twins).  Her blog, Ask Mama MOE, is all about living a family-friendly life and ranges in topics. Always in a positive tone, Ask Mama MOE is a great place for some parenting humour, DIY crafts, recipes and some deep thoughts. Reviews and giveaways are also done on products Mama MOE herself would be proud to use in her home. Be sure to check out Mama MOE’s charity, Shopping From The Heart.