Eve’s Lesson

October 5, 2010 by  
Filed under Organising Space

Not say gesture

Eve has it all together. She’s the one everyone can rely on.

At home, Eve’s family wants for nothing. She keeps the house running smoothly. The laundry is up to date, meals are healthy and delicious, visitors are always welcome and bills are paid on time. Even the garden looks amazing.

The children are driven to and from after school activities, and their friends tag along too. A last-minute change of arrangements? No problem.

Her volunteer roles keep her busy. You’ve heard it before – ”If you want something done, ask a busy person”. That’s Eve. Reliable as ever.

At work she’s the go-to-girl. Need something done extra quick? Consider it done. Need an extra pair of hands? Use Eve’s.

Eve’s husband can’t believe how lucky he is. She’s loving and capable. But she doesn’t wear makeup as often as she used to, or smile quite as brightly.

At the end of the day, when she finally crawls into bed, Eve is Tired, with a capital T. In fact, she’s overwhelmed. How did she get here? Shouldn’t she be the happiest woman in the world? Doesn’t everyone admire her?

Eve is Everywoman. Every woman who ever felt tired and overwhelmed. Every woman who ever found no time for herself.

There’s something small that can help Eve, all the Eves of the world, find some time. But it takes a little courage to use it. Courage and practice.

It is the word No.

At first, saying No when a Yes is expected, can surprise, challenge or offend. That’s where the courage comes in. Practice will help.

There are many ways to say No in a respectful way. The key is to be heard and unambiguous in the telling.

At home, Eve might say No to doing all the housework, bill-paying and gardening, and delegate some tasks.

When her children ask Eve to drive them and their friends to the movies, Eve could say, “Sure I’ll take you there if you can arrange a ride home.”

The next time Eve is asked to manage the school Mothers Day stall, she might say, “Sorry but I really can’t devote the time and energy this year.”

When the next rush job comes along, Eve could say No by renegotiating on priorities, making it clear something will have to give.

And Eve’s husband will still marvel at his luck. His wife is loving, capable and he’ll love the sparkle in her eyes again.

When Eve says No to the things which overwhelm her, she says Yes to time for herself.

How do you say No respectfully, unambiguously and so it is heard?


6 Responses to “Eve’s Lesson”
  1. Bo Mackison says:

    I’ve learned it it best to say no while not giving a specific reason. The person who wants you to say yes will always solve your reason for saying no. But once you’ve said no a few times, it does get easier. Not easy, just easier.

  2. great article … I was reading it thinking yep thats me sooo tired ..lol… then got down to the No bit and thought hmm but there isn’t much I can say no to its all just housewife and mother duties its just ME not being able to cope then kept going and thought hmmm I guess I could delegate a bit more.

  3. Ok, Coralie, I’m going to challenge you here. Just because it’s your area of responsibility doesn’t mean you can’t offload some of the duties. D is for Delegate. Ironing is one of the easiest ones to delegate. My ironing lady does a way better job than I can and I’m helping her out by supplementing her pension. It’s a win win. Then again, maybe you could limit the number of things which need ironing by either lowering standards or wearing low-maintenance clothes. Are there things you would feel comfortable delegating?

  4. Marilynn Grimm says:

    Ahhhhh the magic word. NO ! I am 63 and still learning. Here’s how I try to say no.

    No. I’d love to but no. Thank you for asking but no. I’m flattered but no. Yes, I would do a great job but no ! Yes, I do know that nobody does it better, but no ! I’m sorry that you were counting on me to say yes, but no.
    Guilt sometimes begins to seep in. I ask myself “is this the enemy of my soul stabbing at me or is this my God tugging at my heart.” Guilt which makes me feel bad about myself is never of God. I find that if the thing desparately needs doing, it will get done, or it will be there tomorrow when I am able.

  5. Marilyn, I love your attitude and the way you have embraced such a simple little word.