• I was so tired of saying “NO” all week long that I decided to take a rest from the word. On Saturday, I chose to ‘yes’ my children for one day. It took a lot of focus and long deep breaths on my part. I was profoundly aware of how many times I was in the habit of automatically saying, “No” – it was almost as though my mouth was ready with the word, my Pavlovian response to a child’s inquiring tone which usually started a sentence with the pleading tone and the words, “Mommy, can I…? I felt like a caricature of myself as a giant exclamation point, with pursed lips, furrowed brows and a voice bellowing, “Nooooooooooooooo!”

    My sabbatical from the word “no” was initially challenging. After a few “yeses” found their way out of my mouth, I figured out that saying yes in my house meant there still had to be a boundary placed around the approved request.

    Here is an example of one of many similar conversations with my children from that day:

    – Child #1 comes to wake me up to ask: “Mommy, can we play with your jewelry box?”
    – Me: “Yes, just play with the earrings.” (This way I avoided them playing with and possibly misplacing family heirloom rings).
    – Child #1: “Mommy, can I please have a lollipop?”
    – Me (deep breath) since it was only 9:30am and I really wanted to say no: “Yes, as long as it is the only one you have today and you brush your teeth immediately after.”
    – Child #2: “Me too?”
    – Me: “Yes.”
    – Child #1: “Mommy, can we jump on your bed? It is part of the game we are playing.”
    – Child #2: “Me too?”
    – Me: “Yes.”
    – Child #1 (noticing that mommy has been saying yes a lot today): “Mommy, can we go to the ice cream store?”
    – Child #2: “Me too?”
    – Me (noticing an opportunity myself): “Yes, as soon as you have cleaned up your room.” (She never did it, so we never went).
    – Child #1: “Can I have more dessert, seconds and thirds?”
    – Child #2 (wide-eyed with disbelief looking at her older sister while asking me the question): “Me too?”
    – Me: “Yes. You might get a tummy ache after so much sweet food but you can decide that for yourself.”
    – Child #1 (empowered): “We’ll see. I might not. If I feel like it.” (She didn’t).
    – Child #2 lost her ‘me too’ title of the day. She had seconds.
    – Child #1 (very observant kid, that one.): “Can I get an ipad?”
    – Child #2: “Me too?”
    – Me: “Yes, when you can pay for it with your allowance money.”

    I have to say, by the end of the day, these kids were so much better behaved and a lot less argumentative. Was it because I had been saying yes so much to them that they decided to make my life easier? Or was it because I wasn’t as tired from saying no all day? Either way, they were no longer fixated on why I said “no” and took responsibility of implementing my “yes!”