Motherhood + Saying No // Guest Post by Amanda Shamblin

"as a woman, motherhood has been part of a self-evolution. i wasn't one who dreamed of having kids or ever thought about being a stay-at-home mom. i figured kids would happen one day...when i was ready. but life can be funny. motherhood came as a complete shock to me at the young age of 17. i was just starting my senior year of high school & i truly wasn't ready for it. i'm still not sure if we ever truly are. it wasn't until recently that i began to comprehend how much i wanted this. that motherhood wasn't something that just happened to me, but something i want for me. to be a mom. to share my life with these little souls. motherhood was something i grew into. that grew on me. 

simplification, as a mother, became a must. simplifying the way i dressed. simplifying my makeup routine. simplifying my hair upkeep. even simplifying my home & our belongings. all of which were adjustments made in hopes of making life a little easier, simpler. and if we were lucky, maybe it'd help us actually get out of the house on time. (HA.) but, for hubs & i, simplification became bigger than just those things. what about the simplification of our schedules? 

over the last 13 years, we've since added 3 more babes to our tribe. during those years, i graduated high school, started college, hubs started college, we both worked side jobs, we both graduated college, we both got full-time jobs, hubs started grad school, our babe started kindergarten, hubs finished grad school, we changed jobs & moved houses...we were busy, you get the picture. wanting to be the best parents we could be, we tried to give our oldest all the experiences life had to offer. we signed her up for everything: cheerleading, basketball, soccer, ballet, softball, talent shows, pretty baby contests, pageants, camps, 4-H...i could go on. as we added children, inevitably more activities filled our calendars. as hubs & i excelled at work, we were given more responsibilities, more conferences to attend, more professional development. as we became more rooted in our community, we joined clubs, we signed up for committees, we sat on boards. we were doing a whole lotta good, y'all.

and there's the rub. 

all those "good" things didn't mean things were "good." 

with all the activities & added responsibilities came a lot of stress, anxiety, guilt & even resentment between hubs & i. we were so busy with work, events & activities, we barely had time for each other. we had to divide & conquer to get everyone where they needed to be. we were rarely able to do things together, as a family.

so we began to ask ourselves: how much are we valuing OUR time?

simplifying motherhood meant more than just simplifying my beauty regimen. it meant simplifying every aspect of our lives. for us, simplifying motherhood meant saying no. i started by saying no to my job. we took a leap of faith & i'm so glad we did. we, as a family, started saying no to extracurriculars. saying no to invitations. saying no to obligations. and we, as a family, had to learn to be okay with that. to be okay with maybe "missing out" on events. okay with maybe upsetting people. hoping that our friends, family & even co-workers would understand & respect our decision to respectfully decline. and let me tell ya, what a powerfully freeing feeling it was to start saying no. 

saying no, gave me the courage to start asking why

why the constant pressure to be BUSY? why do we feel like we have to do this or have to SIGN UP for that? why are we afraid of MISSING OUT? honestly, it's RARELY the kids who are wanting to do all these activities. what they crave is time WITH US. they want to feel accepted. they want to feel loved. they want to be seen & heard. they don't want the pressure of always having to perform or achieve something that if we're honest, is often for our own validation.  

let me say this: sports, clubs, social committees, etc. aren't bad. our oldest is in middle school & plays sports. our son played preschool tball. our daughter has done the soccer thing. the point is, we, as a family, discuss before committing to anything & constantly reevaluate what is working for us during that season of our life. it's about being intentional with our time. if something isn't working for YOUR family, change it.  if you wish you had more time at home, find it. if life feels like it's out of control, take control.

so i say to you, stressed-out-carpool-bleacher-mom-of-the-year, have courage. be confident in who you are & what you want for your family. be brave in making those hard & often times not-so-popular decisions. be kind with yourself. and the next time you feel the undeniable pressure to sign your kid up for little league soccer, feel free to say no. they'll be just fine without it.

word to yo mama."

LOVE these motivating words by our dear friend Amanda. We have seriously met the best people on the internet!!! Amanda is a stay-at-home mama to her four babes and lives in Ohio with her husband. She writes the cutest little blog and has a killer Instagram (@hellolittlenest). Go check her out! She is a hoot to follow. Thanks for sharing, Amanda!