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Challenge: Finding Your Voice as a Parent

Mama, it's OK to say no

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Mama, don't ever feel bad for saying "no."

No, you cannot eat Lunchables for breakfast.

No, you cannot spend another night at grandma's house.

No, you cannot watch just one more episode; it's bedtime.

No, you cannot go outside to play before finishing your homework.

No, you cannot get a toy every time we go to Target.

No, no, no.


My kids hear that word a lot. My oldest often sighs loudly and says "You say no to everything!"

She's not completely wrong, ya know. I do say no to the majority of the things their little hearts desire, but it's not because I want to be the bad guy.

It would be so easy to just give in and give them what they want, and claim my rightful title of "World's Greatest Mom," but what would that do to them? It would turn them into uncontrollable little monsters who know they have the upper hand, that's what.

Sometimes, I HAVE to be the bad guy. I have to say no so they learn to appreciate the yeses. So that I can restore order, and balance out our roles. I am the parent. I am the boss. I make the decisions.

No, you cannot have cake for dinner. But yes, I do love you more than all of the stars in the sky.

No, you cannot stay up until 3 a.m. like the kid on YouTube. But yes, you are the reason I live and breathe.

No, you cannot have a cup of fruit juice before bed. But yes, I would die for you.

I know right now I may seem like the world's meanest mom, but someday, many years from now, you will understand why I so often had to tell you "no." There is actually a method to my madness, little dears.

And just so you know, you'll thank me after sleepovers for the whole "no fruit juice before bed" thing.

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