Confessions of a “NO” Mom

The other day my son asked me for something simple. A cookie, I believe. And I did what I’ve become so accustomed to.  In all honesty, its just become a knee jerk reaction for me.

I said “No.”

Now, there’s nothing wrong with saying no sometimes. Especially when dinner is maybe 10 minutes away and my son can hold out for a plateful of healthy food. But, at the same time I found myself thinking, “Wow, you say that a lot.” It just rolls off my tongue so easily! I don’t even have to think about it.

Mom, can I…  NO.

Mom, how about if…. NO.

Mom, will you let me… NO.


I’ve been trying to be more conscious of this lately. Because I’ve discovered that my NO’s have reasons behind them. And they are all about me. Not my kids and their health and protection…Me.  The No is for me. And when I keep doing that my kids are missing out.

I’ve discovered at least three reasons why I say NO…and how that NO is hurting my kids.

1. I’m too busy.

Or so I think. I’m running around the house cleaning, cooking, straightening up, doing dishes, whatever…and…

“Mom can you help me with…”

“Mom, I need you to….”

“Mom, can you play ________________ with me?”

My “no” isn’t always sharp and mean…sometimes it comes in nicer forms like “Not right now honey” or “maybe later sweetheart” but they all mean the same thing.

Whatever I’m doing right now is more important to me than what my child is asking from me.

That’s got to change because let’s face it, the dishes can wait…

My facebook status doesn’t need to be updated…

My pinterest doesn’t need another board…

10 of the things I’m running around doing I could let go or have someone else do and be responsible for…

2. We are afraid. We don’t like risk.

Studies have shown that kids who don’t fall down, who don’t break limbs, who don’t crash, who don’t get a skinned knee every once in a while are less likely to attend college and more like to become a fear-based adult.

Wow. Who knew a skinned knee had that much power?

Well, its not really about the skinned knee…its about taking risk.

Mom- can I climb that tree?

Can I go to the park?

Can I ride my bike around the block?

Can I, can I, can i…

I’m realizing the answer needs to be “yes” way more often.

The truth is that statistically, our world has not become more dangerous. Media and technology just makes it seem that way. There have always been creeps out there. There have always been tree climbers out there – some who fall, some who don’t. There have always been biking accidents and car accidents and swimming accidents. And there will continue to be. But my “no” tells my kids that some things are too risky when in fact they just aren’t.

We just need to equip our kids with knowledge, common sense, and then let them explore the world. The alternative is having someone at my side and on my hip their entire lives, constantly afraid of stepping out and trying new things.

3. It’s inconvenient for me.

Can we go to the park?

Can I go with you to the store?

Can I help you cook dinner?

All of those things take time and energy. But its time and energy well expended. Our kids LOVE spending time with us! And what better way to use that time than to teach them life skills? But too often, we think “I’ll just do it myself. It’s much easier.” We don’t want the inconvenience of having to take longer to explain how to measure things out, how to fold up the towels, how to start a load of laundry. We just want to get it done.

Problem is…then our kids never learn. They don’t learn how to budget, clean, shop, interact, make choices…and they need to learn those things.

They need to try and fail.

They need to practice, practice, practice.

And they need us by their side saying “yes” to all the things they want to try and practice.

So, join me if you want.

I’m starting a “yes” revolution in my house.

It’s going to be hard.

It’s going to challenge me.
I’m going to fail some days.

But the alternative ain’t pretty. So I’m setting about to do the hard work to change my reactions and responses. To change my mindset. To change my words.

Going from “no” to “yes” is going to take work but it is going to be worth it.

The reward will be seen in my kids for years to come in their ability and desire to step out, try new things, challenge themselves, take risks and not be afraid to fall.

Are you a “yes” mom or a “no” mom? What are some reasons why you do what you do?


I’m linking up with Mom’s Mustard Seeds. Check out the great things happening over there!


15 thoughts on “Confessions of a “NO” Mom

  1. This makes me think of that Jim Carey movie “Yes Man” or something like that. Obviously I don’t think you mean we should say yes to everything 😉 and I agree that we need to explore the reasons behind our No and confront those as needed. 🙂 saying no comes so easily. I fall hard in category 3 of your post. I’m trying to remind myself, though, that Just as God doesn’t need us and could do His work so much more effectively and efficiently than we can, he still uses us 🙂 yes, I can do things so much more effectively and efficiently than my kids, but I need to remember to let them help sometimes. 🙂 great post!!!

    • Thanks for stopping by! This is a hard one for me as well. I’m always just running around getting stuff done because *I* can do it better and faster. The thing is, they want to do things and learn! Hard to let go and teach sometimes though.

    • I know! That’s the big one for me. Well, they’re all big for me…that’s why I listed them 🙂 But on a day to day basis this one is at the top of the list for reasons for my NO. Workin’ on changing my old habits.

  2. I’ve been working on this too… though not an easy habit to break. Yep #3 happens a lot here too. I’ve started having my son (4 yrs old) get the timer, set it for 5 min (so I can wrap up what I’m writing, sit just a moment longer or rush around to get something accomplished) and then say “yes” to his request to go outside or play trucks or build a fort, etc.

  3. Wow! I needed this. I am a routine driven, type A, don’t vary from the normal, mom. Like you, “NO” has become habit. Definitely eye opening.

  4. They need to hear no sometimes, but not when we think something ‘here’ is more important. And that’s why I’m late in commenting…I spent the weekend offline saying Yes more and ‘wait’ less.

  5. I sit here convicted! I so easily fall back into being a no mom. Thank you for the encouragment to slow down and consider why I’m inclined to say no so often! And thanks so much for linking up with me last week at Walking Redeemed!

  6. Pingback: Ultimate Moms Link Up and Know How to Stop Drama - Mom's Mustard Seeds

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