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Blowing Bubbles

Say No So You Can Say Yes to Something Greater

By Rachel Meeks

I went to a parents’ meeting at school so we could set up a schedule for volunteer help. At one point the discussion turned to who would be the room mother for each class.

“I can’t do it.” said one mom. “I already signed up to be the room mother for fourth grade. With my work schedule, I don’t have time to be the room mother for kindergarten too.”

“Okay, that’s fine.” replied the volunteer coordinator.

“Unless you want me too,” she continued. “I just don’t have the time. But if no one else can do it, then just call me.”

Does that sound familiar?

It’s perfectly fine to say no. We assured her that we didn’t want her to be the room mother for both classes.

“Thanks,” she said as she sat back in her seat and sighed with relief.

For every time that you say yes to one thing, you need to say no to something else.

My kid just started kindergarten this year, and she loves it. I was a little worried that having the new structure for seven hours a day would be hard for her, but she gets excited about it.

“Are you going to sign her up for Book Buddies and Earth Savers after-school clubs?”

“Maybe not this semester, I don’t think we’re going to be joining anything yet.” I don’t want to add another hour to her new school schedule, and our family has never been busier than it has these last few months.

Then there is the choice of ballet, gymnastics, tee-ball, soccer. I bet she would love a ballet class. Maybe we will find her one in a month or two.

But honestly? She’s only five, and she spends seven hours of her day in structure at school before coming home. What she needs is time for free play and time with the family.

When we say no, then we get to say yes to better choices. For her that means more time to play. Dress-up fairy costumes, quilt tents built by her daddy, packing up her backpack for imaginary adventures, and dressing up her little brother who adores her. I love it. We’ll have plenty of time for more plans later.

Have you chosen to say no to anything lately so that you can say yes to something greater?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

About the Author

Rachel Meeks

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to b...

Rachel Meeks is the voice behind the popular blog Small Notebook, a resource for simplifying and organizing your home. (Because it’s so much easier to be a parent when you’re not surrounded by a ton of stuff.)

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Man..I could talk for HOURS about this. I spent the first 14 years as a parent not volunteering for anything due to social anxieties. Then, when my son was a freshman he started being interested in theatre and the department basically demanded parents to volunteer. Next thing I know, 2 years later and I’m President of the Parent Board and I’m Producing the Spring musical! AH! BUT – my daughter started Kindergarten this year. I love volunteering with my oldest because it gives me a chance to be near him when that’s hard to come by with teenagers, so I… Read more »


You are a mom after my own heart. While I am a scout leader for both my daughter and son that is all I do. And, at ages 10 & 12 my children are restricted to two extracurricular activities. I just don’t know how families can handle more than that. They both have homework and want to spend time with friends. More scheduled activities would definitely make those things impossible.


[…] Say No So You Can Say Yes To Something Greater […]

Katie @ Imperfect People

Love this! I am a recovering “yes” aholic. I have found after a little practice, saying no isn’t so hard and so much easier to say YES to the good things because you have the resources to do so!


I currently say no to all volunteering requests because I have one child at school and one at home.  I can not safely have her with me and give my full attention to the task I am volunteering for.

As for extra-curricular activities, don’t rush.  Give her plenty of time to just enjoy school without the extra rush to fit in the extra-curricular activity and all of it’s associated practice / homework.


Thank you Rachel. Thank you.


“It will be a success, or it will be a learning experience.”