Sunday Reset

Our week has come to a close.  The babes are sleeping.  The house is quiet.  For now.  During the last week, I yelled on Wednesday and Thursday nights.  Thursday was rough.  Kids were crazy.  No one was listening.  I stepped on a Lego ship.  Need I say more?  Wednesday, there was a fight about homework (really with the math games?!  Is there not another way for him to learn less-than, more-than?  Whatever happened to the alligator eats the bigger number?!) and it ended with a thrown pencil, crumpled paper and then bed.  No one was happy Wednesday night.  No one.  Overall, I have to say that the week went well (aside from the above-mentioned incidents).  This week, I renewed my pledge to a rule I made about seven years ago: Commit to No.

The rule is pretty simple.  If you say no, commit.  Don’t give in.  If you can’t commit (or don’t have the energy and know that you’ll give in,) don’t say no.  Here’s the thing: You will actually say yes more.  If you Commit to No, you will have to evaluate everything in a different light.  Is this really a big deal?  Can I really commit to no on this?  If the answer to either of these questions is no, say yes.  

About a year ago, I read an article in one of those parenting magazines written by a dad.  You know, those ones that you read and think, Who the hell is this guy?  God, I wish my husband would read this…  Are there really dads out there who write this shit?  The article started out with the dad read something about what children remember the most from what their parents tell them.  The dad decides to ask his son what he hears him say the most.  The dad, expecting his son to say I love you or You are smart or Share!,  is shocked when his kid says the thing he hears his dear old dad-di-o say the most is No.  I re-read this about five time.  Why? Because my stomach had a sick ache.  I was sure my kids would say the same of me.  So sure, in fact, that I never wanted to ask them for fear that they would confirm my worry.  I say no all the time.

Why do I say no so much?  I have no idea.  Because I am lazy:  Will you put chocolate in my milk?  No. Can I paint?  No.  Because I am tired:  Can you chase us?  No.  Can we walk to the playground instead of drive?  No.  And sometimes for no reason.  Now Mamas…  I read back over the above questions and I am ashamed.  But I am being honest.  So please judge me quietly… And then look at all the questions you say no to.  Maybe you’re perfect and always tell your kids yes.  Or maybe you’re like me and say no too much.

Using the Commit to No rule, as I have for the last week, you I can guarantee that you will say yes more.  You will be required to do more, run more, deal with bigger messes and make a shit-load more chocolate milk.  But, your kids will be happier.  And they will do more of the things you ask them to do.  And you will yell less.  Committing to No will enable you to say yes more.  And it’s freeing.

I am definitely more tired at the end of this week.  All this saying yes-shit is exhausting.  But I didn’t yell nearly as frequently as I was at one point.  And my kids are happier.  And they did help me more, beg less, stop whining and… oh hell, they are still whining but I think they are whining a little less.  I think I am going to Commit to No again next week.  I want my kids to remember me saying Yes.

Peace Mamas.


9 thoughts on “Sunday Reset

  1. I am with you on the math games mama! I am going to use your example and commit to no this week. I do usually stick with my no (although sometimes it makes me wish I hadn’t said it) and I take it as a positive sign that when i say ‘maybe’ my kids cheer (they cry when Daddy says it lol) BUT I also know there are plenty of times when I am being lazy or tired and say no for no good reason. If I really commit to sticking with no & evaluating (before I say it) whether I really need to say no, I know I will say yes a lot more (will you play ANOTHER game of go fish with me? Can we use the window crayons?). Thank you so much for your awesome post & the inspiration to be a better mom. You have lucky kids!

    • It’s such a good reminder of the impact our words have on them. ‘Maybe’ is a good one- I am totally going to use that! Thank YOU for your kind words and support! I am pretty sure this blog (less than one month in) is adding an element of accountability to my parenting and my quest to be the Mama my kids deserve 🙂

  2. Great post! We can’t go wrong when we try to see things from our child’s point of view. Your “yesses” will go a long way to build your children’s positivity toward life. Another good reason for “committing to no” is that too many precedents involving a no that becomes a yes teach children that there’s a reward for wearing us down. Having said that, I also remember being really impressed with my middle son’s budding negotiation skills… even though he was kind of exhausting! 🙂

  3. I love your honesty! And i’m learning what my reality is going to be in a couple years as my son gets older and we keep expanding. But be encouraged, saying “no” is establishing boundaries for your kids. There’s too much in this world that says “yes” and will tell your kids everything is “ok” if they “feel” like it. You’re letting them know that even if “chocolate” is yummy, it’s not the time for it:) give yourself some grace precious mommy! Your kids are going to respect you so much more when you’re not wishy-washy. Keep up the good work!

    • Oh I still say no 🙂 The worst thing we can do is teach our children that a heightened reaction will get them what they want. These are learned behaviors which we teach them through the no, no, no, yes! Keep asking louder and you get what you want…! But I am working on saving “no” for the important things- and not just the things I don’t want to do. If I know I’m going to say yes if they put up a fuss, I should just say it from the beginning. Thanks for reading my post- your insight is invaluable to me Mama!

  4. I also feel the same way about the math games. Aargh! So yesterday my kids were playing outside, yeah, and I had to make dinner because I teach BodyPump at night. They kept asking me for stuff and the first thing I wanted to say was No but I stopped myself and stopped what I was doing to help them get bubbles, tie shoes, break up fights, get balls, etc, etc. Then they went up the block to play with some neighborhood kids and I felt good that I didn’t say no. They did ask me to play four square and I was going to say no but said I just had to throw something in the oven. I was fully committed to playing with them but before I was done they ended up finding children to play with so I was off the hook. I felt bad that I didn’t get to play but I didn’t feel guilty because normally I would’ve just yelled no, I don’t have time. Thanks for putting that idea in my head.

    • First of all… Bodypump?! Woman, you are amazing! I find that I am really proud of myself when I do something for them that I really wanted to say no to. Yesterday, I created an entire backyard obstacle course out of deck furniture, buckets and a toy weed-whacker. Totally didn’t want to do that. But did. Totally proud of myself for saving “No” for something else. You rock, Mama!

  5. Pingback: Mama’s Little Helper | Mama Gets Real

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