Saying No To 100 Things

We all want to be the best mom, wife, employee, PERSON, we can be.

We all struggle with who creates that criterion.  As we walk through this month together trying to find balance as busy moms, I wonder if we can talk about why we’re so busy.  Who or what dictates what makes us best?

Am I the best mom if I attend PTA meetings?  What if I am room mom?  Does homeschooling give me extra points?  How about team mom?  What if I keep score at the baseball games?  How about leading AWANA?  Driving carpool both ways every week gets me something, right?

Do the best wives make dinner every night?  Do they keep the house clean?   Are they always at home?  Do they listen well?  Does attending couples Bible study count?  How about reading Power of a Praying Wife and then actually praying?

Being on time and having a good attitude puts me in the running for employee of the year, doesn’t it?  What if I bring snacks once a week for everyone?  Oh, twice a week?  I bet remembering all coworker’s birthdays will make everyone like me, right?  And what about volunteering for the projects no one else wants to work on?

I know many of these questions go through my head and they just make me tired.

focusNot only do NONE of those things make us the best mom/wife/employee, etc, but focusing on so many things makes us tired.  And spread thin.

Are we allowing God to tell us what makes us best or are we letting our society dictate what’s expected?

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8

Steve Jobs gave a talk when he came back to Apple and turned their prospects around.  What he said can apply just as much to mothers as entrepreneurs:

People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.

Our first order of business:  what is our focus?  Please hear me:  not every woman will have the same focus.

Some mothers have small babies, some have older children and need to think about schooling them at home or sending them to school.  Some families have all of their needs me by one income, but some women need to work – outside the home or from home.  Some children have special needs, bringing up a whole new focus for Mom.  Some families value athletics while some value academics.  The list is long and varied, so please understand that

your focus might not be the same as someone else’s, and that’s okay.

Here are some ideas for focuses:

  • God
  • family
  • work
  • home
  • church
  • children’s sports and activities
  • involvement at school
  • sleep
  • health
  • fitness
  • outdoor family time
  • indoor family time

Once we choose the focuses that matter to us, we start saying “no” to the things that get in our way.  Just because something sounds good, doesn’t mean it will help us attain what we’re focusing on.

Tell me, what things are getting in the way of your focus?  What should you start saying “no” to?

Ultimately, what makes me the best mom/wife/employee I can be is Jesus.  His guidance, His love, and His acceptance.

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts!

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

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  1. Tricia Goyer says

    Christy, this is SO good. I completely agree. In fact after I started reading it I had to go and check who the author was … because I thought I might have wrote it! You think the same as me! I just back away from FIVE commitments this week–little things each of them, but I felt God telling me to focus!

  2. Stefanie says

    Amen, well said. I have 3 small children under the age of 4 (my 3rd was born 2 months prematurely and has been more needy as an infant). I often feel like I need/want to be doing more, helping more, ministering more, but I have found that there isn’t much more that I can handle at this time beyond focusing on mothering my 3 little ones and being a good wife to my husband! I also feel that it has been a sweet time of growing in my relationship with God, spending time in His Word and praying (because Lord knows I can’t do this mommy thing–or anything for that matter–without Him!!). Whenever my focus starts to drift, it’s almost as if God takes my face in his hands and moves it so that my attention is on Him and not on all the other things that tend to distract me. He is so kind to remind me, “Focus on ME, and I’ll take care of the rest!”

    • says

      Stefanie, it’s so good that you recognize what you can handle. This time will pass and before you know it, you’ll be able to do more – but you’ll never get these early days back. Good job keeping focused.

  3. Tiffany says

    This was really timely! As I read through your list of things to focus on, I was prioritizing them in my head. It was easy to choose the three that matter most but then, I found every thing after that seemed so important! I think I have too much on my plate! It’s really easy to say yes to too many “good” things. Thank you for posting it!

    • says

      Tiffany, I think most of us struggle with saying yes to the good things – it can be sooo hard to keep our focus on the things that matter most.

  4. MotheringFromScratch says

    {Kathy} Gosh, that quote from Steve Jobs is amazing. Saying no the the 100 other things around me is difficult…Like now while I’m trying to comment on your post!…Great inspiration!

  5. Andrea Worley says

    love your point about how every Mom has a different focus, that is so true and so key to keep to what fits for you instead of comparing yourself to others.

  6. Satin P says

    love love love this & needed the words you spoke! traveling a season of God-Ordered rest, yet struggling to figure out exactly what it means or looks like. this post definitely helped put things into perspective for me! thank you so much! ♥

  7. Sharon says

    This is fantastic. My husband and I make it a point to not overbook ourselves, but still, I feel overwhelmed on a somewhat regular basis, feeling like I can’t get everything done that I want to! Recently, I was asked (for the second time) to be on leadership with a group that I am a part of and love, love, love. It was very hard to make a decision, but health problems have pulled me away from my family off and on for this past year, so I was leary of taking on something that would mean more time away from them. I heard a wonderful speaker a month ago and she said, our priorities should be 1) God 2) Family 3) Church. I was like, “Okay, God. I got it. Family is coming first, (well, second, since God is first) so forget the Church leadership role for now.”

    • Erica says

      God knew I needed to hear your words today, and the words of this post. I have also been trying to decide whether or not I should take on a leadership role at church. To be honest, I was not feeling excited about it, but I felt I might be good at it. Having a one-year old and a full-time job, and a husband who works many evenings and most Saturdays, I was feeling like I should be spending as much time with my family as possible right now, but at the same time was feeling that I “should be” serving my church community more. I believe God has shown me just now where my focus really ought to be.

  8. Beth says

    Good point – Stephen Covey has been saying this for so many years! However, I’d like to see a move away from trying to be “the best” – that in and of itself is an exhausting idea. That’s why I like the idea of the “better” mom.

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