I am guilty of uttering the most overused mom word way too often. I’ve been convicted about it recently, and have found that sometimes I say this word out of habit or more frequently out of selfishness. It’s a word that I am trying and help teach our children to limit in response to us, and yet I am modeling the word all the time. Do you have a guess as to what word I’m speaking of?
The Most Overused Mom Word
The word is “no.” I’m tired of being a “no” mom and want to become more of a “yes” mom.
I am trying to teach my kids to obey first and then ask why. When they do obey and respond with the appropriate, “Yes, Mommy,” they can come back to me with further clarification. When I say “no” to something they can ask, “Why not?” If you are wondering why it’s important to teach kids to obey, I invite you to read this article.
When my kids do ask, “Why not?” I will stop and consider it. Often times I wonder why I just said no. I really catch myself being a kill joy. As I take the time to examine it, I reconsider and will often find I have no good reason for saying no. It’s purely selfish.
“Mom, can I paint?”
The truth behind why: There will be a big mess and a big clean up, and I’m going to have to monitor you the entire time. I would rather you just color with crayons, which is a lot easier to clean up.
“Mom, can I put temporary spray paint in my hair for the day.”
The truth behind why: You will look like a fool. You are too young. It can get messy. I will have to come over there and spray it in. We will have to wash it out later. What will people think?
“Mom, can I have a friend over.”
The truth behind why: Then I have two kids to watch – not just one. I’d have to call, coordinate and drive kids around. I’d have more mouths to feed, and you’d probably make a mess in the process.
“Mom, can I hammer things together in the garage.”
The truth behind why: You might hammer your thumb. We might end up in the ER. I don’t want to have to sit our there and teach and monitor. Knowing you, you would probably put a nail into the side of the car.
“Mom, can I have two pieces of candy.”
The truth behind why: It’s not good for you, but I’m actually going to eat 5 pieces when you are not looking, and if you have one now that one less for me later.
“Mom, can I wear this?”
The truth behind why: It doesn’t match. I don’t like that style. You look homely, and I want you to look like you just stepped out of a magazine, thank you very much.
In all of these situations, it was my own hang-ups that created the “no” response. “No! It’s too much work. I don’t want to take time to teach. I don’t want to take time to monitor. I don’t want to take time to clean-up. I don’t want to talk through this and don’t want to complicate MY life right now. I have another agenda. I have other expectations, and it doesn’t involve that.”
Don’t get me wrong! Our kids need to learn boundaries. We should absolutely say, “No” and teach them how to respond well to that decision.
However, I want to limit the amount of my “no” responses when it all boils down to inconvenience or some other weird selfish hang-up I might have. My “no” response needs to mean something when we are looking at character or sin issues. I don’t want my kill joy nature in the daily life times to take away the value of my “no” in the more important moments in life.
In my post “6 Common Parenting Phrases We Need to Stop Saying,” I pointed out that I believe we should stop saying, “Because I said so.” Sure, there are times for that phrase too…as there are times for a simple, “No.” That is good and healthy parenting. However, the majority of the time I want my kids to be able to understand the good solid reasoning behind a decision – especially a no decision.
Kids, I don’t want to deny you things in life because I want to give you an anemic life. I limit things for good reasons – to make things better for you – to teach you about what is really important in life.
Limiting the Most The Most Overused Mom Word
So, the next time your kids ask:
“Mom, can I jump on the bed”
“Mom, can I wear my ninja costume to the grocery store.”
“Mom, can I have another cup of hot cocoa?
“Mom, can we have a picnic.”
“Yes. Let’s bundle up because it’s 40 degrees outside.”
“Ooo – Look at that park. Can we stop and play?
“Sure. The laundry can wait.”
Life is short. Childhood is short. My default answer will no longer be “No.” It is important shift my own priorities to realize what does and does not matter as we are raising our kids. I need to schedule in “Yes” time with my kids.
Sometimes I wonder if we get so used to responding to so many things that deserve a no that it becomes habit. I wonder if we just too often become like this:
I don’t want to be like that anymore. I want to limit the most overused mom word. I want to be a “yes” mom and not a kill joy.