Sometimes I feel like I am eternally saying no to my toddlers.
No, you can’t splash in the toilet.
No, stop throwing sand in your brother’s face.
No, don’t play with that poopy diaper.
No, don’t feed the puppy!
“No” becomes such a routine word that sometimes I accidently start using it for things that really don’t matter. Just this morning I watched my son about to put on and walk around in my Nike shoes and I caught myself about to say, “No!” That was a wake-up momma moment! Who cares if he takes a stroll in my shoes!?
I was reminded of a mentor and great salesman that I worked with for years. In the dozens of meetings I attended with him, I don’t think I ever heard him say no to the client or staff. Now that doesn’t mean that he always said yes, but he didn’t say no first, not without more thoughtful consideration. And to be honest, there were times he said yes when we all wished he would have said no, which left us worker-bees scrambling to make the yes a reality.
The moral of the story for me is that he did not operate in a “no culture” and as a mom of toddlers, I know I do not want to establish a culture of NO in our lives!
“No” squelches creativity and stops play. As soon as you say no, that’s it. No, don’t play with the rubbermaid containers means the rubbermaid container castle will never be built. No, put the pillows and blankets away means they will never play hide and seek in the secret fort. No, mommy is washing dishes right now means that you miss priceless moments with your little ones and instead spend that time with dirty pots and pans.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time for no. However, before starting at NO, consider these questions:
- If I don’t say no, will my child or someone else get hurt?
- If I don’t say no, will my property or someone’s be ruined?
- If I don’t say no, will I miss a teachable moment or lesson?
If the answer to the above questions is no, 🙂 then I’m going to work harder to not say no (holy double negatives).
Beware of secretly saying “no” without actually saying the word. Recently, I was trying to make plans with a friend and I asked if she was busy. Her response was, “I’m always busy, but…” That response really hit me; in a way it was basically saying no. It was a good reminder to be careful not to phrase my responses in the “no culture.” Instead of “I’m too busy,” how about, “I pick you first!”
Not saying “no”, doesn’t mean you have to say yes. This very same morning as I was thinking about “NO,” the boys were slamming the doors of the washer and dryer open and shut. Instead of “NO” I said, “you’re goofy” and chased them into the living room for a ticklefest. The environment stayed so much more positive than a meltdown from mommy’s NO. Ah, the power of redirection!
There is a time for no, but we have to pick our battles! I’ll always say no to protect my kids or to capitalize on teachable moments, but please join me in tearing down the “no culture” in our lives and caring more about what’s important!