Here’s Why I Said “No”

Here’s Why I Said “No”

Yesterday, my 5th grader, Yoel, came home with a form in hand from school. His teacher, it turned out, was in search of families able to host groups of 5 boys for a special activity that would take place in different families’ homes on a few mornings next month.

There were two options on the form to choose between.
1. I can host a group
2. I cannot host a group

So I picked up a pen and put it over the checkbox by “I can host a group.” Most mothers in the class work outside the home; I’m home in the mornings. I live relatively close to the school. It’d be sweet for Yoel to have a bunch of his classmates over. This is the kind of thing that a good mother SHOULD do!

But then I hesitated.

This week, Rabbi Nivin mentioned in our class that once he played a trick on a student who was also a mother.

He asked this wonderful mother to write down all the things she wanted to do over the course of a week, and how many hours all these things would take.

The mother wrote up her list, and added up her hours. The total: 258 hours.

“Wonderful,” Rabbi Nivin responded, “the only problem is that there are only 168 hours in week…”

There are so many things I want to do. So many important things.

Yesterday, with my pen hovering over the form, I thought about how lovely it would be for Yoel to be able to host his friends!

But then I also considered how much time it would take me and how much stress would be involved in cleaning my house to a level that would be adequate for the eyes of Yoel’s friends and (Yikes!) his teacher, Rav Udi. And I considered the various things I wouldn’t be able to accomplish that morning since I would be hosting these boys.

And I thought, if there were 258 hours in a week, I would do it. I really would.

But since there are only 168 hours, I won’t.


  1. Thank you for writing this!

    I really needed to read this/be validated on this concept, this week specifically.

    Your article gave me the heart-warming feeling that I get sometimes, when I strongly sense that haShem is right there with me, cheering me on, understanding my situation, and accepting me as I am with love.

    • I love how you described Hashem cheering you on…I would love to access that feeling more often:)

  2. I love hearing women who say no to things. I feel like I’m the only one who thinks and says no all the time. I go to bed on time, I leave messes… I wish more women would learn how to say I can’t and no.

  3. sheva lazaros

    oy, if only someone would have given me permission to clean less, bake less,do less laundry. (you get the idea)
    but wait. sometimes the kids remind me that they had clean clothes, hot suppers, home baked pies or cakes every day.
    then i remember that my bed wetters had fresh clean sheets every night.(you get the idea)
    i also would joke privately to my husband that i was running an efficient bed and breakfast.

  4. thanks jenny you give a good model! its not because we are at home that we have to say yes while the ones outside have a good excuse! better be a happy mother than a poor exhausted thing

  5. From Sara Chana Radcliffs parenting post:
    Too much to do? Kids don’t get it?Take a deep breath and regular breaks. Give up on some things on your “must-do list” but don’t give up on your self-control or patience. Nothing really matters more than your kids and your relationships.

  6. Milka Chaya

    Great post, Chana! Just inspired me to say no to yet another thing I was deliberating upon this week…

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email