Monday, January 30, 2012

Mastering the Art of "NO"

Look at that face. How can you say no to that, right? Well, here’s how:

No! Stop licking your brother’s head.
No! You know you’re not allowed to jump off the side of the couch.
No, we don’t use potty talk unless we’re in the bathroom.
No, cookies aren’t breakfast food.
No, I can’t help you build a train track right now.
No, we have to stay inside this morning.
No, I really need you to go take your nap. I’m sorry I don’t have time to cuddle.

Let’s face it, sometimes we have to tell our kids no. But lately I’ve been finding myself saying “no” when I really should be saying “yes”. Why? I’m not proud of it, but I’ll be honest. It’s because I can’t seem to say no to other people (who try as they might just aren’t as cute as Grouchy Pants and Stinker).

Freelance writing projects. Preschool holiday parties. Volunteer time. Even social gatherings. They’re all getting the best of me and my family is getting what I have left over. Which, given that whole feeding the toddlers thing and not sleeping consistently, isn’t all that much.

So I’m making a change. I’m embracing those two little letters that pack a huge punch. And, since I didn’t use them aggressively enough to begin with, I’m starting to use them in self-defense. (Let me tell you, if you thought it was hard to say no to begin with, it’s about ten times harder to say no once you’ve said yes.) I don’t feel good about backing out of commitments (if you know me you can probably imagine how much I’m beating myself up about it), but I know it’s what I have to do.

For my sanity. For my family’s happiness. For now.

Someday I’m be saying:

Yes! I did write that article you read in that parenting magazine.
Yes! The publisher loved my book.
Yes! I did help plan this wildly successful school fundraiser.
Yes! I did host a dinner party that didn’t include paper plates.

But for now I’m saying:

Yes, I said no. Again.
Yes, let’s build a fort.
Yes, let’s get outside for a bit.
Yes, I did talk to my parents today.
Yes, I love being a mom of two boys—especially to my cute little monsters.

And I’m quickly learning that all those yeses make the nos a whole lot easier.

What are you saying no—or yes—to these days? Any tips on how to make it easier?


  1. I am right there with you, sister! However, mine isn't so much as saying "no", it is that I don't devote enough time to my little lovely. Yes, I am her only parent and am with her 24/7 besides when I'm at work and she's at school. However, lately it seems like even though I am "with" her, I'm not WITH her. Make sense? I've been busy sorting through things in my house to declutter - LOVE online garage sale sites! I've been planning a party. I've been Facebooking. I've been doing everything for ME and not enough for HER. So this week, I am going to devote some time to just be WITH her. Tomorrow I will take her to eat where SHE wants to go. I will play Legos or Lalaloopsy or whatever she wants to, and I won't make an excuse of "mommy will be right back-- I gotta go do laundry" or dishes or whatever other chore around the house needs to be done. they are all being put on hold. I will not check my facebook every point five seconds. I am going to be a better mommy. Because we all know they won't need us as "mommys" anymore very soon. I need to cherish it while I can...

  2. Yes, great minds DO think alike!

    I,too, will tell others "no" so that I can tell my boys "yes."
    My boys are much older than yours, and my time with two of them is winding down. So I need to squeeze in as much "yes" as I can in the time I have left!