Saying no to say yes

I lit a Fall candle yesterday evening and the scent of “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin” filled the livingroom.

My 4-year-old said, “It smells like treats in here!” And truly, it was a treat. It prompted me to do a much-needed deep-clean and de-clutter. And by the time my husband came home from work, there was a fresh, clean space—lit by the gentle flicker of a Fall candle.

A few days ago, my daughter’s white dress had a really tough avocado stain on it. I did all the pre-wash, set and scrubbing—and after the wash, it didn’t come out. So I did a bit more mama magic that involved an old toothbrush and some diluted bleach water and soon, it was good as new. You would’ve thought I had just climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I was so proud.

These are the moments of motherhood that have surprised me. The victories and triumphs of home life are so sweet—ones that require just as much work if not more than any business deal, and often, much less recognition. But the rewards, they are oh, so meaningful.

I thought about that today when I received an email from a wise friend.

She was responding to my recent announcement that I’m taking a break as editor of 3 Things for Mom—a website that features notable moms sharing Truths, Tips  & Finds. I shared that though I truly enjoy the project, I am pregnant with #4, am about to move into a new home, am busy in the toddler trenches with 3 little ones—and simply don’t have enough time in the day.

And so, she wrote me this poignant note that spoke to my heart:

How often we mothers are applauded, awarded, put on the cover of Time magazine, for all the things we DO. But I think it should be the reverse way… those who say NO, who choose time with their children and families over everything else, who are brave enough to make choices that mean turning things down, walking away, setting aside—to BE for their families—those are the women who are the ones really rewarded. Of course, not in a grand external way that everyone takes notice of, but in the way that lasts forever and really counts.

I do find that the best rewards—the most meaningful—are the ones that are not known by many, but by few. And by no means does that mean that we shouldn’t do things that put us on the cover of Time magazine if that is our purpose—but that doing our best to focus our time on what matters most is an even bigger accomplishment.

And that being able to say no, when need be, means being able to say yes to something greater.



  1. ashley

    YES to this. It only gets harder to find that balance as our families get bigger and older. So many worth-while activities that pull us in different directions. You have to choose carefully, and I know you are doing what’s best for your family in this season of life. Miss you, friend.

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