The Year of the “No”

Education is a top priority in our home, as it is for many. My husband and I are both educators. We are the type of parents that attend EVERY school event that our children are involved in. That’s why it was so shocking when I said no to attending the back-to-school open house. 

Typically, I would never miss an event like this. I understand the importance and the commitment that goes into the planning. BUT…there were several obstacles that were making this particular time difficult. My husband was going to be out of town. I’d have to find a sitter because kids are not allowed to this event. I’d have to drop both girls off at home and leave again to go back to school. I wouldn’t get home until after 8 which would mean a late dinner and bedtime for the girls.

And honestly, I’m simply just exhausted.

A Year of Saying No

The more I thought about it the more I realized that I had the mom- AND teacher-guilt brewing on my conscience. Finally I said to myself…ENOUGH! 

Why do we put so much blame on ourselves? We shouldn’t feel guilty for saying no.

Heck, if my toddler can use that word on constant repeat then I think I can use it from time to time. 

My brother once told me to stop making excuses and to just say no to things that I didn’t want to do or attend. To stop feeling like I needed to give a reason. To feel comfortable and confident in saying no because that’s my choice. No more guilt, no more reasons, just…no. Perhaps to others it’s being lazy, but to me it’s freeing.

So let’s stop feeling guilty and stop trying to impress others. Parenting is hard enough as it is.

Cheers to a year of letting go of worries and saying “no” more.


Mary, a native of Rockford, Illinois, attended DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where she received her BA in Secondary Art Education. In 2007, she moved to Cedar Rapids, Iowa after accepting a position as a high school visual arts teacher with the Cedar Rapids Community School District. She and her husband, Collin, who is a teacher in the Iowa City Community School District, reside in Cedar Rapids with their daughters, Zoey and Munroe. Zoey is five and Munroe will be turning one in October 2016. In addition to being a full time mommy, full time teacher, and writer for the mom’s blog, she is also a professional artist who has shown and published works both nationally and internationally. Mary enjoys traveling, painting, and most of all, spending time with her family.


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