One huge factor is time. Time to enjoy, get things done, make good meals, sit at the table and eat together, craft... everything we do in our lives and homes takes time. Without enough of it we are soon in chaos, mess and there is no peace or enjoyment. Life in a hurry is just stressful. It wears out down. We cannot think straight! These things are a terrible stress on anyone and especially little children.
The photos in this post are from Chloe!
After the last post she sent me pictures and said Mum, I have been putting words that inspire me where I can see them everyday!
She printed all of these for free or a couple of dollars and got frames from the bargain store.
So we were thinking the same thing, how to make the home an encouraging place!
We all want to be polite, helpful to others, a good listener, generous. We don't want to offend...
This all can lead us to saying yes to so many things that we back ourselves into a really hideous corner and we don't know quite how it happened but we know it is awful and the house and family are suffering because we are truly hopeless at saying no.
There have been times I remember regretting saying yes before I even finished saying it. Other times where I have thought up wild and elaborate scenarios that could possibly get me out of something I really, really don't want to do but of course this is all imaginary and overly hopeful and I just did them anyway.
A while back I wrote a post on when the girls were little and how I really had to learn to say no and how realising what my mission was really helped me to do that. That post is here... Your time.
Laine also wrote a new year letter on the subject which I love and you can find that here.. She puts it that the Proverbs woman considered a field. In a similar way we are considering a field of time!
Over the years I have found I struck gold when I stopped replying to any request or invitation. This is the key! My standard response is to say thank you so much! Thank you for thinking of me! I will think this over and talk to Andy about it. Or "I will check my diary and get back to you".
This is perfectly reasonable and polite.
It gives you time to actually think! Now I can consider how the request is going to impact the household. This has saved me from so many disasters!
If you turn to jelly under pressure practice what to say! At one stage I have my reply printed and posted near the phone... this was how bad I was at saying no! I would look at my sign and repeat the script "thank you for asking, I will have to look at my diary and I will get back to you as soon as I can..."
My improvement these days comes from not feeling I need to explain myself . If I have decided I need to decline something I used to feel it necessary to come up with a long and interesting story about why I had to say no.
Now I don't think this is the way to go and I am more likely to say I am unable to attend or that I just do not have the time to do something. Sometimes I might offer an alternative for example.. if I want to contribute to something then I will come up with something that I can do to help that is manageable instead.
In the evenings Andy and I will talk about some of these things and usually he is on the same page. Sometimes we have had a laugh at how badly we both DON'T want to do the same thing. Many times this will involve a party. Andy would rather dental surgery than go to a party.
Should we ever actually go to a party it is not without an escape plan.
In general the peace in our home is mainly ruined by me taking on too much. It is a hard balance to get right but without fail if I am out too much things go down hill and fast. So I need to be careful and some of the times I need to say no are to myself. Often when planning my week I can see I have planned too much and that I need to reduce my list. So this is a" no" to some of my own plans.
While we are thinking of things that are going to interrupt the peace at home there are many times we need to say no to requests that are going to ruin the budget. Being able to say no here is equally important. Most people are not going to care less if their request is something you can afford or if it will mean you have no time to sit down to dinner with your family, read a story to your child or get the lunches made and packed. It is our job to protect the things that are important and know our priorities. Then it is a little easier to say no.
This is a big subject! "She looks well to the ways of her household" includes so many things! Caring for your family and household are huge responsibilities! Learning to prioritise and being able to say no when needed is really important.
I had a request the other day. In my mind I was thinking "THERE IS JUST NO WAY..." and I said "thank you for asking! I am going to get back to you on this after I tell Andy about it" and I made my escape!
Now there are times of crisis that are exceptions and we have to say yes in order to help, save the day and rescue someone. We are not talking about those. In general it is just up to us to be guardians of the household, the budget and our own time. It is ok to say no.
Now and then you get someone who won't take no for an answer! They want to argue with you! Or they don't seem to comprehend! I think what part of no is hard to understand!? haha! They might even tell you that you can't say no, there is bullying and persuasion! This has happened to us all. I have a little alarm system that goes off then! My "no" goes up a notch to the red light no!
You are doing an important job. Week by week we are building up our homes and feathering our nests.
Do you have trouble with saying no?
Do you feel there is too much on your plate to have a peaceful home?
Next week we are looking at when too much stuff takes over and makes us feel overwhelmed, messy or anxious!
I hope your week is going well!
See you on Friday! xxx