the paperwork of parenting

February 18, 2014

just say no

It begins small when your kids start preschool. A sheet of paper comes home in their bag asking for snack donations or volunteers for the holiday party. It's sweet, you're green and you gladly play your part.

Fast-forward five years and one or more kids. Your island is the place where paper goes to die. Your inbox is filled with SignUpGenius and YouBringIt sign up sheets, teachers' notes and afterschool activity rundowns. Add sports, musical instruments and camp and you're ready to grab a pickaxe.

just say no

This is when you start flexing your NO muscle. The one that helps you say 'no' so that you can say 'yes' to the things that matter most. Like sanity, sleep and occasional unchoreographed moments.

But that no isn't always easy to get to. There's guilt, good intentions and persistent PTO moms who are vying for your attention.

But according to psychologist Dr. Phil (yes, that Dr. Phil), it all comes down to one thing:'If you love your children - and I know you do - then take care of their mother.' To accomplish this, Dr. Phil says there's one word every mom needs to use: No. By not saying Yes to everyone else first, Dr. Phil explains that moms will have more time for themselves. 'Everything you delegate is time put back in your bank,' he says. 'Your currency is time.'


Dr. Phil even put together this Four-Step Priority Plan for Mothers that we really kind of love. I mean, we know these things, so why does it take hearing it from an expert to sink in? Whatever it takes, give it a read or try Advice for Overscheduled Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms vs. Working Moms (we're not taking sides and kudos to every mom out there who's making it happen).

Whatever's on your plate, we always like to come back to a piece of advice from a wise friend: Every piece of paper that comes home - every request for volunteers, donations and time - does not have your name it. You are not obligated to be the one. And there is no crime in crumpling up that paper and moving on to something that makes your heart sing. What it is that makes your heart sing? That's a subject for another day, my friend.

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