The Power of Saying, “No!”


As moms, we are naturally wired to serve the members of our village, specifically our babies. While functioning in this capacity and having cultural norms as the driving force for our methods of operation, we unconsciously lose sight of our own needs. I hate to break the news to you but IT IS NEVER OK TO NEGLECT YOURSELF. The reality is, as mothers, we trick ourselves into believing that we are winning as a result of serving everyone else. However, our unspoken truth is often that we are actually overwhelmed, unproductive, and ineffective.

Before Learning to Say, “NO!”

I remember getting caught in a routine of making sure that everyone else was great while my needs went unmet. I would (and still do in this season) work a long day investing in someone else’s dreams, pick up my daughter (only 1 at the time), walk in the house, and immediately start to serve in my other role, Mommy. Sadly, I would not even take a moment to change into something more comfortable. Instead, I would get my daughter settled and begin preparing dinner in my work clothes.

When dinner was ready, I would serve everyone else first then maybe I would eat. Honestly, I was so exhausted some days that I wouldn’t even have the energy to fix my own plate. I wouldn’t focus on myself until my daughter was in bed and at that point, the only thing worth doing most nights was to finally shower or change into pajamas and collapse into bed. Say it with me now, “U-N-H-E-A-L-T-H-Y AND N-E-G-L-E-C-T-F-U-L!”

Common Boundary Issues and Strategies 

As my children have gotten older, I am still discovering new ways in which these children try to sabotage my peace and self-care (haha), but I am not having it. I encourage all moms to take a stand and take back their self-care and wellness. Below are a few very simple, yet necessary, responses to some of our children’s actions that leave us taking away from ourselves.

Meal Time

Make sure that you set expectations and stick to them. Seconds are requested only after you are done eating unless there is an available adult or appropriately older sibling to prepare their second helping. If there is someone else available, they should ask the suitable family member. This will ensure that you get a full meal without interruption.

Phone Time

When you are on the phone, you should not be interrupted unless the house is on fire, someone is hurt, or your cars/home are in danger. If it’s none of these, it can wait. Mamas, just make sure you aren’t talking for an hour or longer without checking on your babies. 

Mama Time

This is at least 15 minutes that you are devoting to yourself. Have a discussion with your child(ren) so they will know what this will look like for you and them. Set a timer in the children’s area and allow them to choose their activity during this time. A major win happens when they play beyond the timer’s notification. At that point, enjoy your additional Mama Time! 

These might seem like simple things, but oftentimes we do the opposite. No matter the conditions, circumstances, or setting, there comes a time when we must say “no”. As mothers, we have been programmed to believe that saying, “yes” empowers us and reveals our awe-inspiring strength. Truthfully, saying “no” offers us an even greater sense of empowerment as people and as mothers. Having appropriate boundaries benefits both mom and child. Our children learn from the care we give ourselves and in turn they learn to adequately nurture themselves.

Affirmation by Joí Iman Gresham

“Saying ‘no’ is an act of empowerment and a commitment to self. It is evidence that I value my mental, emotional, and physical health.” 

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Hey Mamas! ✨ I am Joí (Joey) Iman Gresham and I am a southern belle with edge and flair. I am a native of Birmingham, AL. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Alabama A&M University and my Master’s Degree in Social Work and a Certificate in Black Studies from the University of Connecticut (UConn). I am a licensed Social Worker and have been serving vulnerable populations for 12 years in both traditional and non-traditional roles and settings. I am a Wife, Mom, and Bonus Mom. My best friend/husband and I met and dated briefly in 2009. In 2018, we reconnected and established a friendship which led to our marriage in 2020. Our blended family consists of 6 amazing children ages 17, 14, 9, 8, 7, and 4. Let me not forget our fur baby, Arrow. There is never a dull moment in the Gresham household! 🥰 In addition to my roles as wife and mommy / bonus mommy, I also have the pleasure of journeying Entrepreneurship as the owner and CEO of Joí Iman, LLC offering Life Enhancement Services and Products for women and moms which include the following: · Life / Vision Coaching · Personal / Bridal Styling and Image Consulting · Beauty and Tranquility Gift Box (Pregnancy, 4th Trimester/Postpartum, and Grief) · Revive Gift Box (all women) · Inspirational Apparel Joí Iman intentionally and strategically equips and empowers amazing women and moms to rediscover, discover, and embrace their identities while moving forward with adjusting, managing, and living through life’s transitions… “You were born to LIVE, not just exist.” - Joí Iman In my free time, I love spending time with my husband and children, creating new traditions and experiences, listening to music, traveling, reading/journaling, and creating opportunities that align with my purpose to enhance my life and the lives of others whom I have the pleasure to serve. It is an absolute honor and pleasure to connect with and serve other awe-inspiring Mamas! Love and Light! 💖✨


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