I’m sure this isn’t news to you, but sometimes we moms have a difficult time saying no. You would think that with all that practice during the Terrible Two’s, we would have that word down pat. “No” is arguably the most powerful word in the dictionary. But we can’t seem to utter it when we need it most.  

My take—the biggest reason for this is guilt. We put such high expectations on ourselves to be everything for our families and others, and we don’t want to let anyone down. We’re people pleasers by nature. So we say "yes" every time we’re asked to bake cupcakes or go on a field trip or teach Sunday school at the last minute. We also say "yes" when someone asks us to give away our products and services for free.

You know the routine. You reluctantly agree to coordinate the talent show at the elementary school. And because you are an amazing woman, you put on the most organized and entertaining show ever. Then what happens? You are nominated to do it again the following year. And the year after that. And the year after that. This would not be a problem if you actually enjoyed it. But over time, your enthusiasm for the project diminishes and you’re left feeling obligated and resentful.

We bring this kind of torture on ourselves, you know. Nobody can force us to say "yes" in the first place. By saying yes and doing a great job, we establish a reputation as dependable and hard working. And this has the unwelcome side effect of attracting more “opportunities” to shine in the same way.

When we take on too many things, we don’t leave any space for ourselves. We don’t have any time to fulfill our life purpose. We don’t leave room to grow, to breathe and simply… to be. Imagine how it would feel to eliminate that one thing that is zapping all your personal energy right now! To freely and completely do what God is calling you to do without getting distracted by everyone else’s requests and expectations.

So, in the spirit of creating space in your life for growth and happiness, I hereby give you permission to say "no" to anything that no longer serves you and your family. Anything that is not truly in alignment with your values and goals. And the best part is that you can say "no" without guilt, because the Christian Mompreneurs are behind you, sister!

This means you are free to say “No” to:

1. Volunteer work that doesn’t clearly support your values and goals;

2. Email forwards that annoy you or distract you;

3. Social invitations that are not in alignment with your values -- or that distract you from achieving goals that are in alignment with your values;

4. Clients or customers who don’t leave you feeling great about who you are and how you serve the world;

5. Toxic relationships including friends and family who are negative, emotionally draining or abusive;

6. Conversations that leave you feeling badly about yourself;

7. The idea that someone else is better at what you do;

8. Any community service project that you don’t embrace with a happy heart;

9. Pro bono work or bartering that does not fill your emotional piggy bank;

10. The attachment to other people’s opinions of your choices;

11. Annoying Facebook posts or games;

12. Answering your cell phone;

13. Returning phone calls and emails immediately;

14. Birthday parties, after school activities, sports or events that you deem unnecessary or are simply too much to handle logistically;

15 Sending birthday cards to everyone you’ve ever met;

16. Contributing to every charity that you’ve ever been asked to support;

17. Watching TV;

18. Reading an entire book when you’ve already decided you don’t like it on Chapter 3;

19. Anything that makes you roll your eyes or get that anxious pit in your stomach;

20. The misguided belief that you have to say "yes" to everyone—all the time.

So what are you going to say no to this week? Let me know so I can cheer you on!

Theresa Ceniccola is The Christian Mompreneur—a Mentor to Moms Who are Running a Business that Supports Faith and Family. She empowers entrepreneurial moms to build profitable businesses with wisdom and grace through the Christian Mompreneur Mastermind program and her professional Marketing services, which include copywriting, marketing and strategy consulting and private coaching.