5 ways to say no (for foster + adoptive parents)

What would it be like if you could be less stressed and accomplish twice as much? That’s the power of focusing your mental energy and making decisions ahead of time. Your brain is the most powerful tool in the world. I want you to supervise it so it can work for your good, and not against you. 

This means there is a lot of activities that have to get deleted, but this is a gift you give yourself. Parenting is a gift to us because it pushes us to address things we had no problem getting away with before. It makes us better humans if we allow it.  

Deleting is often very painful for us because we have to let people down, so we avoid it. But even when we say yes, we aren’t telling the truth about ourselves or what we want. They are pleased with a fake version of us. We’re not even happy because we resent saying yes when a no is really what we wanted say. 

Perhaps you don’t need to serve on the PTA board or make five pots of chili for the youth group. It may not be the right season to help your sister organize and paint her pantry or watch your friend’s kids while they go to a Marriage Retreat. Your day in day out parenting is heroic and changing a child’s life. It is enough. 

Those are all actual examples from my life of things I’ve said yes to, so you are learning from a professional yes girl. People are largely unaware of what it takes to raise children who have experienced loss or trauma unless they have lived it. They are not looking out for you or protecting your time, you’re the only one who can do that!  

5 Ways to Say No with Grace

1)  Saying no to social invitations:

“That sounds like fun! Unfortunately, my family’s schedule/budget/bandwidth is maxed out right now and the thought of adding something else is overwhelming. Thank you for thinking of me though, maybe next time.”

2) Saying no to volunteer work:

“That is a really wonderful cause. I can’t carve out any time for something like this right now, but I really appreciate what you’re doing.” 

3) Saying no to work requests:

“Thank you for thinking of me. I’m afraid if I take on that project it will keep me from my other responsibilities and doing those well. Best of luck with it.”

4) Saying no to family favors:

“I wish I could help out, but with my schedule I’m really not able to. I hope everything works out though.”

5) Saying no to everything else:

“I’ve heard great things about that. I don’t have any plans that night but I’m trying to keep it that way. I need margin and rest for myself to be the best mom I can be. Thanks for understanding, I hope you have a great time.”

If you’d like to learn more about simplifying your life, overcoming toxic thinking, and thriving as a foster or adoptive parent, you can check out my book, Faith Forward Adoption, available on amazon.

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