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Learning To Say No

Last weekend while I was in the middle of ‘Getting Gorgeous’ madness I was telling a friend that I had to run home to a cocktail party happening that Saturday night. I was completely stressing over the fact that I had a personal function despite being utterly exhausted from the week.

She told me… “Why not just say no?”

And I said… “Because you can’t say no.”

Naturally – Barbara corrected me and reminded me that I can absolutely bow out of things and it’s not my obligation to get to everyone. I dismissed her and continued on with my day. All the while I kept thinking about what she said and questioning whether or not I was doing the right thing by trying to do the EXACT opposite of what my body so desperately needed.

The night of the party I decided to not attend. I was BEYOND tired and sent my husband who absolutely needed a drink. At about 11PM I decided to pop over for an hour just to say hello. I’m glad I did because I love the couple who was hosting, but I was also really glad I didn’t spend the entire night making small talk with strangers.

Since then I’ve said no to a few other things. I was asked to be a Daisy troop leader for my daughter and actually accepted the position knowing that I would have to come up with activities once every 2 weeks and how I would probably get a migraine like 100 times a month because of it. After some thought (and repeating what Barbara told me) I emailed the Girl Scouts back and respectfully declined.

There was also a beach day with friends that someone is putting together for next week. I thought about it and while I love those girls, I need some time to recoup from the event and the funeral. It’s been a rough two weeks and I really don’t want to commit to anything. Three weeks ago I would have been putting on my bathing suit and packing a beach bag despite my exhaustion.

Even work related projects that I would have LOVED to do I’m turning down. My cousin is walking in a fashion show with Kelly Ripa because I just don’t want to commit to anything. I’ve met her already so I figured to pass the experience along to someone who hasn’t.

These are all things I would be doing had Barbara not had that conversation with me.

Am I missing out on life with this new found set of rules? I’m not sure yet, but in the interim I’m resting and spending more one-on-one time with my kids – which is always the goal.

Where do you find yourself? Do you always say yes to everything? How do you feel about that? What would happen if you stopped?

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. You have a wise friend :). Honestly I am in the same boat. My husband and I “live” in our business which is open from 8 am- 1 am (our house is attached) so we don’t get to “go home” or shut everything off. With the website, the kids and homeschooling starting in a few weeks, there is literally no time for anything. I have been saying no to quite a few things lately and you know what? I feel good about it.

    These moments with our girls are so precious and are FLYING by so fast that it’s scary. I don’t want to look back at my life of “busyness” and regret those priceless moments with my kids that I missed out on. Setting our priorities is something we’ve had to do. Sure I miss out on some things, but the extra time spent with our kids means more to me.

    Now, that I’ve babbled on forever..don’t know if that helps at all? Just know you are not alone! 😉

  2. I’m always afraid that people will be mad at me if I say no. I hate that. That said, I say no to almost EVERYTHING now. My health isn’t good, and part of that is from never knowing when to stop. Lesson learned.

  3. just simply do what your heart and head tell’s you ! It’s not complicated ,if you don’t want to go ,just don’t. It’s absolutly acceptable to say no ..if you would say yes to all the events that you are invited to you’d probably end up in a mad house 😉 be happy girl.

  4. You know, your friend Barbara isn’t the first person to tell me to say no. After many years, I finally got to a point to saying no to things. What I learned is that if you say yes so often, people would take you for granted and expect that you will always say yes. I am at the point where I’m physically & mentally exhausted, and beginning to be bitter about the commitments… so I understand.

    That said, I always have this strange fear that if I say no, and people would stop asking me to go out or go to the party or whatever… I just need to make peace w/ that. Great post!

  5. My friend can’t say no. She’s afraid of what people might think of her if she cancels. She could have a fever, just be exhausted, have an important meeting the next day, she won’t cancel. Also because she thinks she needs a valid excuse. Which you really don’t need, all you need to do is say no. I told her she could say no to me, because I won’t think of her as boring or mean. She’s learning 🙂

    Vera, you won’t miss out on life if you say no every once in a while. You’ll just have more energy and time to enjoy the yesses (if that’s a word)

  6. Oh I love this post. It has inspired me to cancel a weekend trip (4.5 hours away in a month where I am already booked every other weekend and not at home) that I have been dreading because I said yes out of guilt and it’s been stressing me out ever since. I feel bad now because I should have just stuck to my guns and said no in the first place but these friends of ours suggests alternates until they wear you down and you just say yes. It’s really sneaky and not a “friendly” thing to do. Why should I feel guilty about that and force myself to go only to be unhappy? It’s not fair to them either if I end up miserable and tired the whole weekend. I am pregnant and shouldn’t be spreading myself too thin anyway – I should be taking it easier than I have been. Starting now I am going to really think before I say yes. Thanks for the reminder!

  7. I say no to pretty much everything lol people are surprised if I actually do anything !

  8. Hey Vera. I wanted to stop by and visit your blog because I didn’t have a chance meet you in NYC during BlogHer weekend while I was hanging out with Amy from MomAdvice.com (I was on the party lite plan.) Any way…I think I could have written this post! It’s really tough for me to say no. I’ve learned to stop volunteering for everything I’m asked to do, ESPECIALLY now that my girls are both in grade school. Trust me, you will be glad you’ve started doing this now. Sometimes you just need a mental and physical break, especially when you’re a busy mom!

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