The Half-Brothers I Never Really Knew And The Power Of “No”

My half-brothers are in town visiting my dad. After I pick up Andrew, the plan is to go have dinner with the family.

A difficult question bubbled up from my mom on Friday. She wanted me to spend the weekend with everyone after my Saturday class. She asked, “Why don’t you make you dad happy and spend some time with the guys after your class?”

I had already agreed to Sunday dinner. And to be clear, I don’t really have a relationship with my half-brothers. We don’t call on each others birthdays and we never grew up together. In fact, for ten years, my brother’s were virtually estranged from my family.

Now that I am an adult and a single mother, working full time and attending graduate school, I have very FEW moments to myself. I cherish the time I do have every other weekend to take care of my soul and pursue the things that make me happy within the 48 hours twice a month- even if it is as simple as an hour at the gym and a moment to write or decompress from the week at the nail salon. Between guilt and perceived family “obligations,” I am unapologetic with “me” time. If my brothers had picked a weekend when I had Andrew, I’m sure I would be writing a very different post.

The point I’m trying to make is that mothers, single or not, who dedicate their precious free time to make others happy or comfortable are doing a disservice to themselves. Our culture encourages the ideal that once you are a mother, you must sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice almost all of your time for the “good” of your children. I believe quality time, not the quantity of time is what’s important.

Sometimes, we need to embrace the power of saying “No” and make our mental and emotional well-being a priority.

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