5 ways to say ‘No’

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As a mum, working or otherwise, time is precious. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to fit everything in. Yet sometimes we end up making life more difficult for ourselves by over-committing to things: “you want me to join that conference call on my non-working day – sure, I can do that?”; ‘help organise the raffle at Scouts again – no problem!”; “dinner at great-aunty Marjorie’s on Saturday and can I bring dessert – yes, would love to!”.


Its lovely to be involved in stuff and of course there are times that we need to go the extra mile or help someone out. But if you find yourself constantly rushing from one thing to the next – be that at work or at the weekends, maybe you need to get better at saying ‘no’? After all when you say yes to something you don’t enjoy, you say no to things that you love.


Your toddler is probably an expert at using ‘No’. Here are 5 tips to help you say that elusive word too:

  • Buy yourself time. Instead of committing on the spot say ‘I’ll have to check my diary and will get back to you’. It can be easier to say ‘no’ if the other person feels we’ve given it some consideration.
  • Just say ‘no’. You don’t always have to give a reason or excuse as to why you can’t or don’t want to do something. Sometimes we dilute our ‘no’ by waffling on about why we can’t do it. It’s okay – you’re allowed to say ‘no’.
  • If you never say ‘no’ what’s the value of your ‘yes’? Value your own time and others will start to value you more too.
  • Offer an alternative (if you think it’s appropriate). For example ‘no I can’t come to that meeting but I can send you my headline thoughts the day before’).
  • It’s not what you say it’s how you say it. If saying ‘no’ sounds too blunt you can frame it differently – e.g. ‘thanks for asking me, it sounds great – unfortunately I can’t make it this time around’.


Good luck with flexing your ‘no’ muscle. Do get in touch with us at Mumager info@Mumager.ie or follow us on Twitter @MumagerIE for more tips.

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