Why Can't I Say 'No'?

The countdown has begun to our school’s annual 5-a-side Football tournament.

It’s huge!

The school takes kids from 4 months old right up until the leave high school, Matric.

The tournament is for all kids from grade RRR (age 3 – 4) until Matric (17 – 18 I think). So that means my eldest daughter is about to play for the third time, but it is my youngest daughter’s first time.

As it so happens my husband has tickets booked for an event in Joburg on that weekend which was booked before we knew the date of the tournament so I can’t really be mad that he’d rather go to a Bike Festival with his buddies (but I’m still tutting and rolling my eyes – it certainly is a man’s world). I mean, who wouldn’t rather do that than spend all day on the side of a soccer pitch watching 10 small kids either try to kill each other over a sphere with no concept of what they’re actually doing; or actually run away from the ball like it might burst into flames at any moment.

Think ‘herding cats’ and you might be close to imagining what it’s like. Football is not big here so most of these kids, especially the girls only play football maybe 3 times before the day, then 5 games on the day, ONCE. A. YEAR! Their skill level is off the scale, like it doesn’t even make it to the scale, that’s how ‘skilled’ it is. Bless them, they do love it though, and my youngest is super excited after spending two years as a ‘cheerleader’.

Every year the kids are separated into groups of 5. Each team is only girls or only boys, no mixed teams. Each team is then ‘assigned’ a coach, who is one of the parents of the kids in the team. The coach is in charge of arranging a few practice sessions in advance of the day, organising team kit (some folks go way over-board, but normal parents just get team t-shirts printed and colour coordinate their socks – I’m one of them.) They also help out on the day coordinating the kids, keeping score, reporting in etc.

I’m finally getting to the point of this post. I hope you are still with me …

Last year I was a coach for my eldest’s team – they came second btw. This year I have been asked again, for my eldest daughter. dun dun duunnn …

Surely in a class of 20 kids, which is 2 teams of girls (so a minimum of 10 parents but realistically at least 15 – some have bike fests to attend, others work etc) … they don’t have to ask the same parent two years in a row!

Is it because I’m a SAHM they assume I have nothing better to do? I do actually … I blog – do they have any idea how time consuming that is?! Pfft!

Now seriously though, you have to understand, I am VERY bad at saying “No”. I can be guilted into almost anything. It’s really bad.

The teacher even confessed that her and my youngest’ teacher had both wanted to ask me but she’d got in first. Why?!?!

If my husband were going to be there on the day I would probably have agreed to it, but when I thought about all the coach’s responsibilities on the day, I know I can’t do it. My youngest is playing for the first time and it won’t be fair or responsible of me to not be with her, as well as running back and forth between two pitches because I’m pretty sure they will end up playing at the same time, and god forbid I don’t attend my eldest’s games as well – she is super competitive! Last year her and her bff had a couple of on the pitch fights over the ball – they were on the same team!!!

I’m already stressed just thinking about it. I definitely need to invest in a hip flask!

Before you ask … nope, I have no family around to help out, and all my friends will be busy with their kids. Like I said, it’s huge.

So how did I say “no”?



I wasn’t quite as ruthless. In fact, I’m ashamed to admit that I wrote a note to the teacher in my daughter’s day-book.

Yes, I’m a chicken. In my defense I know that if I’d had to have the conversation with the lovely desperate teacher, who my child adores, I may have caved again!

So why do I feel so awful?

Surely there are other parents available?

Or do others just feel rocks to saying “No!”? I don’t believe the other 14 parents have the same legitimate excuse that I do. Call it 13, cos one other parent of girls was a coach last year. Do they just not want to be involved.

Just another reason I could never be a teacher! Respect to you all!

Why can’t I say “no”? This happened two days ago and here I am writing about it at 09.30pm two days later.

Any advice would be much appreciated.

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  1. Author

    It’s hard when you’re trying to please people, but you’d done your part already so you shouldn’t feel bad. Hope your bloke feels properly guilty though as sounds like he was the one who coped out and dumped you in it. Hope the match goes well for your girls! #ThatFridayLinky

    1. Author

      I don’t think he feels guilty at all. It’s okay. Payback will come. lol

  2. Author

    I think it’s so hard.You kind of have to psych yourself up and feel people will judge you but sometimes you do not have time! Perhaps it will just get easier?? xx #thatfridaylinky

  3. Author

    Ah, I’m usually in the same boat as you. I can’t say ‘no’ either – I feel too bad for the ‘others’. Sucks, doesn’t it?!

    1. Author

      Big time! Why I concern myself with other’s feelings is in this case, one of my biggest causes of stress.

  4. Author

    Well done for saying no. They call it volunteering for a reason: it’s voluntary. And you did your bit last year and you have a really solid reason why it simply doesn’t work for you this year. End of story. As for “why you”, my guess is you did it last year so they figured you’d do it again. At least where I’m from some parents volunteer at school, and some don’t. For what it’s worth, I don’t – mainly because I work during the day – but also because I volunteer extensively elsewhere (and am very much the person they call when they need, well, any number of things – it’s human nature to go with someone you know can do it). And frankly, if finding volunteers is that big a challenge, the issue is bigger than you.

    So embrace that No! #blogcrush.

    1. Author

      So true. Thanks. I just need to switch off the guilt now. Lol

  5. Author

    It’s SOOOOO hard saying no, especially when it comes to our children, but when you have 2 (mines are 6&7) you must. I get lots of practice as my 2 boys are very similar and always want the same at the same time so we all have to practice saying No or not now. Well done for saying no and don’t let it spoil your day, just think of the disaster if you had said yes… #blogstravaganza

  6. Author

    I love that your school does this for kids from the age of four. My girls (5) want to play football, but the only groups are so boy focused, they were the only girls and just felt left out. I wish I could find an all girls class. Also well done on saying no! Thanks for linking up to #ThatFridayLinky

  7. Author

    It’s great your school does this I used to coach girls footy and could never say no haha! I guess it’s being a parent fab post Thanks for linking to the #THAT FRIDAY LINKY come back next week please

  8. Author

    It’s so hard to say no sometimes even though you know it’s the right thing to do. It’s better to say no outright than to say yes then end up feeling resentful or do a half arsed job because you don’t have the time / resources to do it properly. I would try not to feel guilty about it. But that’s easier said than done!

    1. Author

      Thanks. It’s been 5 days now. I think I’ll get over it eventually. lol

  9. Author

    Oh it sounds like a case of mum guilt again. Why do we feel guilty about everything?! You just have to do what you think is best. Hope the match goes well x

  10. Author

    Oh I know where you’re coming from. Saying No is the hardest thing ever. I even invested in that famous book ‘Don’t say yes when you want to say no’ but it did me no good. All I’ll say is you did well. The guilt shall go away eventually and you’ll have memories from your daughter’s first match to cherish. #mg

  11. Author

    I think the problem with saying no is the guilt that it leaves behind. Your rationale sounds completely fair to me. You have made the right choice for yourself and your family, You don’t need to justify it. Enjoy the tournament. #mg

    1. Author

      Thanks. They’ve apparently found a Plan B coach so I’m well off the hook now.

  12. Author

    Eeep I’m not very good at saying no either, I think it’s because I was feeling guilty when I do even if I have good reason to be saying no in the first place. I hope the day goes well though and isn’t as stressful as you’re anticipating xx thanks for linking to #BlogCrush

  13. Author

    I totally know what you mean, and sometimes I think that makes me an easy target, if we say yes once then people assume we are always available and keen, but we do have other things on. And yes blogging keeps us extremely busy too! Sating no can sometimes be the best thing for us, if we say yes to everything we can easily become burnt out and exhausted. Be proud of yourself for what you do do, and know it is ok to say NO. Have fun with your girls, and thanks heaps for doing in my linky this week, hope you can pop back and link up more xx #mg

    1. Author

      Thanks so much. You are very right. I do do a lot but if I don’t say no sometimes the only one to blame is myself.

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