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Say What You Mean

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It’s a Wednesday evening. My husband comes home from work around 7:00 pm and I greet him at the door with shoes on and purse in hand. I’ve had a long day. I drove twice to school as the result of a forgotten lunch, volunteered at the preschool instead of going to the gym, managed to get all three boys in the shower or bath, and struggled to get the kids to finish their homework before grilling dinner in 95 degree heat. I needed a break.

“Dinner is on the table. Mind if I run out for a bit?” I ask with a quick kiss on the cheek. “I guess not.” He grumbles back. Today, he had back-to-back meetings, worked through lunch, and spent the day resolving a problem with one of his company’s biggest clients. But I don’t know how rough his day was. I am already out the door.

In the next room, the kids are wrestling and teasing the youngest one. They are making up a new game that consists of jumping off of every piece of furniture that we own. My husband glances at his plate of food, still steaming from the grill. He sighs loudly as he loosens his tie and walks past his dinner into the other room. Where the chaos has ended for me, it has just begun for my husband. Of course, I am surprised and hurt when he is angry once I arrive home.

“Why did you tell me it was okay to go if it really wasn’t? You said you didn’t mind,” I question. “Well, that is not what I meant.” He replied. Well, that is what you SAID.

How many times have you committed to doing things that you really haven’t wanted to because it was hard to say no?

My first son was born less than a week before Easter. My mother-in–law wanted to celebrate Easter and have brunch at our house. I was surprised, considering I had only arrived home from the hospital days prior. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’ll do all the cooking.” Sorry, can you repeat that? I fell asleep in the middle of your sentence. I had a baby only days ago and just arrived home from the hospital. My new son keeps me up all night and is non-stop breastfeeding. I am exhausted. I cannot have the family over for Easter at my house.

This was what I felt but could not express. I could not seem to say no. My husband was having an equally hard time. Thankfully, my sister-in-law came to my rescue and offered to host Easter at her house. That day, I took my newborn over for about two hours and went home for a nap. Bless you.

Whether it is family, friends, teachers or co-workers, you will always be placed in uncomfortable situations where it is hard to say what you mean and difficult to say no. But your time and feelings are worth exercising this practice because if you spread yourself too thin, you will regret it.

It is okay to put yourself first sometimes. You are worth it.

Edited by Jody Smith

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