learning to say no

There's power in putting your needs first.
I was stopped in my tracks one day when a client asked me "what I did for fun" outside the office. It was the ONLY question he had all day that I couldn't answer.
For the first year after the divorce was final, my auto-response to just about every question that flew out of the mouths of my three sons was "YES!" It was an automatic, rapid-fire and knee-jerk reaction to each and every query.
I always seem to say "yes" when asked to help. I am one of many women that suffer from a disturbing illness that I like to call the Alpha Mom Syndrome.
My 13-year-old son refuses to take 'no' for an answer. No matter how much I explain why I won't raise his allowance or let him watch an inappropriate movie, he follows me around, demanding better reasons. It makes me so angry! Why can't 'no' mean 'no'?"
I've come to understand that language impacts thought, and vice versa. Without owning the word "no," and all the other language under what I like to think of as the "No Umbrella," I was denying myself the conviction and power that comes with it.
As many of my generation of caretaking, overextended, multi-tasking women can attest to, saying yes is easy; saying no can be tough.