Photos c/o Ashley Kelemen
I suffer from a severe case of people pleasing. If I make a choice that hurts myself, I find a way to chalk it up to “life just being tough.” But if I do something that disappoints someone else, though, I tend to think, “Oh my gosh! I’m the worst! Why do you love me at all!”
So my whole life, I’ve been saying yes.
Yes when I don’t want to.
Yes when it makes no sense.
Yes when it makes my schedule miserable and overcrowded, and I start losing sleep and feel stressed out of my mind.
Then I became a mom. And it changed everything in my world.
Now, every yes becomes a no to something else. My capacity to just do it all has diminished to nothing. And quickly I realized that a yes to someone else means no to my family.
No to my daughter.
No to myself.
When Charlotte was born, my newfound need to say no to things felt like a weakness. No to hangouts at nap time. No to photo shoots. No to lunch dates. No to work events at bedtime.
As I’ve been living through these new limitations, I’ve started to realize they are actually freeing. This space to say no has become a true blessing. I never allowed myself time to rest until I needed it so much my life depended on it.
While I still struggle to say no when I’m overcommitted, I am growing. I’m learning. When I must say no I just remind myself that I am saying yes to balance.
Yes to rest.
Yes to my own health.
I may suffer from an acute case of people pleasing forever — prioritizing relationships with others can do that. But now I also realize that I am unable to be a good friend, a good wife, a good mom, if I don’t create boundaries to take care of myself first. Anyone who is in a relationship with me will have to understand that, and I’m finding that the best friends in my life actually encourage me to take care of myself.
At this point I gladly accept all the help I can get.