I’m a NO mom.
When my kids come to me with a question and I am too involved in what I’m doing to really answer, my go to answer is “no.”
Now, lest you think I’m selfish and I should drop what I’m doing and give my children the time they need, I’m not talking about every situation, I’m talking about the times I’ve got my hands elbow deep in dinner and trying to read a recipe, or when I’m helping one of them with their homework and trying to figure out what the homework gods are looking for when they say “explain your answer” and another child asks something like, “can I watch a movie?”
Even if it’s something good, even if it’s something logical, if I can’t think fast enough to be logical I almost always say “no.”
Because, I’m afraid if I say yes, I’m risking something, obligating myself to something I can’t fulfill, or in for a whole new set of questions about what can I watch and how long and who can watch it with me and can you turn the TV on for me? So my simple answer is “no.” My less simple answer goes something like, “no, ask me later.” Still pretty simple though. The problem with being a “no” mom is that kids don’t give up and they don’t have any concept of what I meant by “later.” I usually have to gather my wits a bit better and say, “no, now go upstairs and play until I can deal with your question better.”
Sitting down with my sister (mother of 5) the other day we had a conversation about this. Her approach is the opposite of mine and I see it’s merits.
She is a “YES” mom. When she’s feeding her daughter in a wheelchair and homeschooling the other kids, if another one approaches with a “can I” question, she typically says yes, without considering what it is at all. The beauty of being a “yes” mom is that the children are happy and run off to do whatever it is they asked and they leave you to finish what you are doing. Her kids do KNOW the parameters of their play, but they also know she’s pretty busy and it’s hard for her to follow up on what she said “yes” to. Sometimes she finds herself cleaning up messes she gave them permission to make.
So, neither is a perfect answer for every situation. There is no perfect answer. Perfect would be having a brain for each child to go to for answers.
What I’m striving to do, is teach my kids when it’s an appropriate time to ask and when it’s best to be patient. They aren’t there yet, and I’m not always the best teacher, but we’re getting there.
So…what kind of mom are you? Is your go to answer “yes” or “no” when you’re occupied with things your children can’t see for some reason? What negatives and positives have you seen when you answer too quickly?