Being the people pleaser that I am, I have spent much of my life giving yes after yes to people who needed something or invited me to something.
If I ever couldn’t attend or engage, I immediately began over-explaining the very valid reasons why I was truly unable to attend.
And still, some people simply didn’t understand how I could give no for an answer.
I have been doing hard work with a therapist for a quite some time and boundaries, especially as a parent of multiple children with disabilities, has been a frequently addressed topic.
It is exhausting to feel like I need to say yes to others when I am depleted, my children are struggling, or for reasons I may not want to explain.
To combat this, my therapist asked me to start using a simple phrase with little to no explanation to follow.
The phrase is: “Thank you, but that won’t work for us.”
This phrase isn’t only reserved for times when we are too ill to leave the house or have a scheduling conflict.
I have the freedom to use this phrase anytime….and so do you.
However, I understand that it can be frustrating for those on the receiving end. It may seem like there is no reason for my turning down of an invitation to connect, socialize, or help-out.
I realize this and I ask for grace. I ask for you to know that I am learning the validity of reasonings I use to ignore.
I am learning to prioritize my family’s wants and needs and there isn’t always a way or desire on my end to explain such things.
When I say, “That doesn’t work for us,” I might really mean:
-My child is in too much pain to leave the house today.
-We haven’t slept in four nights and I am too tired to be around people.
-My child has a compromised immune system currently and we can’t be around foreign germs.
-We have had 16 appointments this week and one more scheduled thing is just too much.
-My child is triggered by you and we don’t know why.
-You say really insensitive things about my child, and I am too weary to stand up to that today.
-We finally have a day without appointments or procedures, and we just want to be home.
-Depression and PTSD are kicking my rear and I can barely make it through the day caring for my children.
-We can’t attend because of the lack of accessible toileting options.
-My child has some really embarrassing behaviors right now.
-I am feeling fragile and it hurts too much to be around people talking and bragging about their developmentally “normal” children.
-I can’t handle all the questions about how we are doing and what we are dealing with today.
-That location is really inaccessible, and my child feels self-conscious about being carried and positioned and fussed over so much.
-My child is healing from a surgery or procedure we aren’t comfortable sharing about.
-My child is waiting on a new wheelchair and doesn’t have a comfortable way to get out of the house.
-Not all my children will be able to participate in that activity or outing and I am not willing to leave some behind.
-We have really bad memories associated with that and need some time and distance to heal.
-I will use every last ounce of my reserve if I try to make that happen for my family.
-While that is an easy outing for your family, it takes immense planning for ours and we are just not up for that.
While this list may seem excessive, I could add dozens more reasons.
So please, be gracious when I turn you down.
Be understanding and maybe ask if there is anything you can do to make it work.
Don’t stop inviting us and just know we will give a yes when it works out the best for us and can be truly enjoyed for all involved.