Children and families
Children and their dynamic in the family is a tough area to navigate. We can think we’re doing everything right and then whammo, something hits us smack in the face and we need to change course. This happened to me this week and I had to put it onto paper. I concluded that I need to be the No Mom because the Yes Mom is raising ungrateful children.
I love my children.
The amount of love I have for my children is inexplicable. From the moment I knew they were growing inside of me until this very moment my love continues to expand. This love, perhaps, has lead me to say yes just a few times too many.
My children don’t usually ask for things. I try to anticipate their needs and stay ahead of the curve. I will make them special breakfast just for fun, if it’s a nice day I ask if they’d like to go to the park and for the most part, everything runs very smoothly.
However, when my kids ask for something I generally say yes. Why? It makes no difference to me if they play this game or that, have spaghetti instead of chicken for dinner or pick out a small toy when we go shopping. I love seeing them happy and this has perhaps lead my children to believe that I’m incapable of saying no.
Without intention, I have become the Yes Mom.
Then, it happened.
It happened just a few days ago. I was having a rough day. My spouse was supposed to take me on a long overdue date and ran into car trouble, I packed the kids and dog into the minivan at 6:30 at night to prepare for the hour-long drive to get him. After driving for a bit, I learned that he already received help and I had to turn the entire crew around. I thought, why waste the night? I have my kids dressed and in the van and I was hoping for a fun evening anyway.
I stopped, without a second thought, to pick up a light fixture that was on sale. I had been eying it for months and it was suddenly $30 reduced. As I put the minivan into park, immediately the whining started. “But Mom, we want to go to Target!” One yelled “I want to go to Target Now!!” I explained that I wanted to go to Lowes and not Target, and that our house needed this light fixture.
To my surprise, the whining continued to the point where my 5-year-old yelled, among other things: “You are going to get me a toy RIGHT NOW!” I thought. Oh no. Oh no, no, no. I immediately started thinking back and thought, when have I ever really said “no” to the kids?
I did go and get my light fixture.
I turned around and said: “If we don’t go to get this light fixture, we are not going to Target ever again.” You are going to behave politely, get out of the van and go pick up this super cool fixture with me. Then we are going home and you are all going straight to bed.
They woke her, No Mom, and she cannot be put back into the bottle.
This is my light fixture below! I figured that at this point you want to see why it’s so cool…
Why it’s important to say no to children.
I realized that saying yes whether intentionally or not was, in fact, setting my kids up for an unrealistic world. When my kids grow up, they are not always going to hear “yes.” In fact, they will probably more often hear no. The world is full of nos and as parents, it’s our responsibility… it’s my responsibility to prepare them for this.
So, I am packing up the “Yes Mom” and replacing her with a still kind, chocolate chip making-pancake flipping Mom, just one who says “no” more often. Just for the heck of it, I’m going to say no. Not because I am not willing to do things for my kids, but because the world isn’t full of Yesses and I want them to be well-rounded adults, not entitled young men who believe everything should be handed to them.
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Okay, so I will never be the Mom who sends my kids to bed hungry. Especially the picky eater with medical problems. He’ll always have that special cheese sandwich. However, I am making a point of saying no. Not because I can’t say yes, but because they need to understand that hearing “no” is part of life and is not the end of the world.
Maybe I’ll set a goal to say no X amount of times per week, but they’re going to hear it and I believe we’ll be a better family because of it.
I hope to find balance and add this life lesson on my journey to raise responsible, thankful and humble young men.
(Pinterest image below)