More Tips for Military Families – #35

Say No! – Tip #35

I would love to be able to tell you that I am utterly comfortable with saying “no” to my children, co-workers, superiors, friends, family or husband – I am not (except maybe my husband!).  Seriously though, it is hard.  Over the last few weeks we have been really busy with work, my husband has been away on exercises, my husband was home this weekend and feeling guilty about being away so much and our kids have seen this as an opportunity – to push the limits!   It has been easier to say ‘yes’ to the extra treats, extra TV time and electronic games.  Now things are slowing down a little, I realize that we have created our own mess.  Which is what inspired these additional tips on saying ‘no’ and sticking to it!

Making “no” easier -

* Before your spouse, partner or loved one goes away go over the basic rules of the house and explain how they won’t change when he/she is away

“Just because I will be absent doesn’t mean you will be able to ___________________.  The answer will still be no”

* Let neighbours and colleagues know that a family member is absent or deployed and that you may not be able to do some of the extras you do or add to your work load.  Letting people know in advance reduces the possibilities of you even having to say no!

* Remember that you aren’t saying ‘no’ to people forever, just at this moment in time

* Let people know about the responsibilities you have and the new ones you are  taking on – they may even offer to help out rather than asking more of you!

* Put your needs first at least a few times a day and say no to things that will add to your stress, decrease the amount of downtime you have for yourself or wear you out even more

* If you know that someone is going to ask you to do something you don’t want to, ask around with friends, co-workers or family and see if there is anyone else that would be willing to step in.  It is easier to say no and provide a solution all at the same time

* Value your time and know your priorities – it makes saying ‘no’ a lot easier

* Avoid apologizing for saying ‘no’ or giving a pile of reasons – keep it simple and polite but don’t apologize for being wise enough to know your limits

* If you are the type of person that has a hard time saying ‘no’ immediately, let the person know that you will get back to them.  Take time to be comfortable and confident when you do say ‘no’.  Don’t avoid responding – that infuriates people further and that is not an additional stress you want!

* When they are teenagers they often rely on you to say ‘no’ and will use you as an excuse to get out of doing something that they felt uncomfortable with in the first place.

I know people are often saying that ‘it will get easier in time’ but this is one of those things that does get easier.  With my students and children at home I often just have to give them ‘the look’ or we have a little exchange:  I say,  “What do you think I am going to say?”  They say, “Fine, I know”.  Then I say, “Let’s move on”.  I never even had to use the word!

For more information about our tips, books or resources, go to: http://www.whileyouwereaway.org

To submit a tip of your own, write to: Megan@whileyouwereaway.org

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