As I sat stuffing 400 goodie bags for my son’s gymnastics competition, all I could think about were the loads of laundry that needed to be done, the time I could have spent helping my kids with their homework, and the downtime that I desperately needed. In other words, I should have said “no” to offering to help out.

When it comes to parenting, we often hear that it is important to set boundaries and tell our children “no” at times. After all, in life, they will often hear the word no. When it comes to being parents, I wonder sometimes if we should consider the same thing for ourselves when being asked to volunteer, work a job, etc. It is hard, isn’t it? I know that I have always been somewhat of an over-achiever, and when it comes to my kids, I rarely turn away from opportunities that will help them. However, at the end of the day when I am tired, I often think, “I should have said no.”

Here are five reasons it is important to say no:

1. It is good for your health. As parents, we already tend to overexert ourselves, de-emphasize the need for sleep, and run ourselves like crazy.  It is important to remember that we deserve rest time, and often, if we are not taking care of ourselves, our bodies will let us know.

2. Saying yes to too many things causes us to forget the little things that are so important. When we overbook ourselves, we miss out on the simplicity of special moments with our children. It is in the downtime with our children that we can explore the glory of who they are and can learn so much about their views of the world.

3. Our children need us to be present in the moment, and not living life according to a schedule of events. Oh, this is a difficult one, isn’t it? With work, activities, and other duties, life can get really hectic. A schedule free of (or light on) activities and obligations can create spontaneous moments of fun with your children.

4. You are only one person, and your children love who you are. Sometimes, it feels as though we cannot do enough or wish we could do more to be the absolute best parents we can be. This includes over-extending ourselves. The truth is that we do not have super powers. We cannot be everything to everyone. However, to our children, we are everything. Let’s not forget that.

5. Saying NO is empowering. Don’t get me wrong. I do think it is important to do what you can for your children, and to be involved. However, if over-exerting yourself is causing undue stress, then you are not doing a service to yourself or your family. Saying no is one way that you can take control over your schedule and your family’s life.

We all know how tiring it is to parent.  We live in a society that runs a quick pace with very little slowing down, one that is chronically busy. Learning to say no not only frees ourselves from the burden of stress, it can also help us in finding happiness in lives, and at home. After all, a happy home is what we all want.