Friday, July 20, 2012

Just Say No

I am in no way trying to give parenting tips, or give you any tricks.  I talk about motherhood the way I see and do it.  Which is usually the hard way.

I have always had a hard time saying "no" to my kids when it came to almost everything.  That is, of course, when I am not high or crashing from being high.  At those moments I said "no" constantly.

"No" never comes easy to me for a few different reasons.  First, I am lazy.  Saying "no" means that I have to follow through with whatever it is I am saying "no" to, and stick with it.  "No, you can't have a Popsicle." "No, you can't have a Popsicle." "Fine, eat the Popsicle."

And unfortunately, I usually start with a quick "no," and then, change my mind. The wrong way to do it. My kids are experts at wearing me down, as I have most excellently trained them to be.

Second is, my need to be liked. I want to make them happy so they will love me. I know they love me no matter what. They have made that pretty clear by forgiving me for some shitty parental moves I have made.  But instant gratification has always been my middle name.

Third, there has been a lot of guilt and shame about what my kids have gone through.  Between our using and recovery, to Bob's mental health, it hasn't been an easy road for my little squirts.  In the past two years, Bob has been hospitalized and in and out of the home many times.  He isn't the same dad they knew.  And before that, we were using off and on. So I get stuck on making up for all of that.  So much so that we will go broke if I keep on this path.  Well...we are always broke, but I'm trying to change that.

Something has totally shifted for me in just the past 4 months or so.  I have started to say "no" to all kinds of things.  "No, we aren't buying that," and "no, we aren't going there."  And I DON'T feel guilty.  In fact, it just became true for me that giving in to everything they want, is actually BAD for them.  I always logically KNEW this was true, but it didn't FEEL true.  I thought I could make up for everything bad by buying them stuff and taking them places, when money allowed.

So in the spirit of changing the way things run around here with "less is more" type living, I scaled WAY back on their birthdays.  Let's just say that it didn't go over well.  But I didn't feel guilty about their disappointment. I actually enjoyed their reactions.  Because I KNOW it is good for them!

I know that I am now living a life with my kids that I don't need to feel guilty or shameful about.  I am done trying to erase the past with stuff and places.  I will heal the past, with living right.

It obviously isn't perfect around here. And Bob and I are FAR from on the same page with this and many other parenting issues.  But I'll get to that another time.

This post was also published on


  1. Hey, I came over from the Bloggess; I sometimes visit the blogs of commenters if the post title intrigues me. Or if I'm bored or procrastinating...anyway, I loved this post; I struggle with this issue and you've given me something to think about. I'm going to try saying 'no' right now! Thanks!

  2. YEAH! Thanks for reading this! Good luck with the no thing! It isn't easy right? For many reasons. I am so surprised at how funny I think it is if they freak. I still give in just to keep my peace, but it is fewer and farther between.

    Thanks for checking me out. I appreciate it.

  3. Betsey....there are a lot of parents who don't say 'no'. John also can't follow through saying 'no'until he gets angry and then he yells a lot. I was the one who tried to parent the right way like you said. It is hard having a spouse who thinks different about that. I was raised with parents, especially Grandpa Steiner, who was very strict but fair...he always was the one who disciplined us and we had to obey his rules which I understood when I had children. Grandma Steiner was softer and easier to talk to and when we asked for things, she would usually give it to us but when it came down to obeying the rules, she would say no. I guess between them two, we all turned out ok. I learned alot from both my mom and dad. I can see that since you started recovery, that you are doing a better job with your kids saying 'no'. It is easier to let the the kids do what they want, but it shows up later in many different ways. Bt nobody....all parents make mistakes with their kids....that's normal so I'm glad you aren't beating yourself up anymore. :-)