I have the hardest time in the world telling anyone no. I’ve been involved in many activities that I had no desire to be a part of, yet I felt that it was easier to go along with the plan rather than saying no. Countless examples come to mind, but if I were to list them all, I’d reveal that the Ice Princess is actually a marshmallow. My reputation will be ruined!
My inability to say no carries through with my girls and the items they want to buy and activities they want to be part of. So many times they’ve asked for things I’d rather not give in to, but I do because it’s just easier.
Last week Sugar came home and asked if she could try out for a play at her school. Before asking me, she had told Skinny Bitch, who passed Sugar’s excitement along to me. I looked over the part to be memorized for the audition, then looked at the audition, rehearsal and performance schedule. It was brutal enough for a working mom. But a working mom buying a new house, selling an old one, moving… the schedule was downright impossible.
Skinny Bitch and I texted endlessly about my dilemma. I shared a story with her about not being able to sign up for a ballet class when I was little because the time was inconvenient for my parents (why do I remember this stupid shit?). I didn’t want to be That Mom, the mom who says no and crushes her child’s dream. You know I won’t be thanked when she wins an Oscar! Skinny finally reminded me that I am the mother, life is particularly crazy at our house right now, but it won’t always be… and it’s ok to say no for now.
When Sugar and I were getting ready the next morning, I talked to her about the play and asked if there were others scheduled during the year. She said that there were and I asked if she minded if she sat out this round. I was expecting a fight and was shocked when she agreed… no argument whatsoever, even a “Yeah, we need to move and set up our new house.” I was relieved that she was so mellow about it.
I think Sugar will be the same way and will have a hard time telling people no. I have tried to teach her (physician, heal thyself!) that it’s ok to tell someone no. It’s ok to decline an invitation or to not take part in something that you don’t want to. I am fairly certain that I won’t ever have to teach this stuff to Spice. Girl can stand on her own… Her independence and forthrightness shock me sometimes.
We talk about what is going on at school and she shared with me that she’s really not friends with Big Head Little Girl or Foot Tall Little Girl. I couldn’t believe that she moved on so quickly and I asked her what happened with the girls. She told me that Big Head cries all day, every day. She doesn’t even get to participate in play time because she’s too busy crying. I tried to say that maybe this was the first time she’s been away from her mother and Stone Cold Spice Girl said, “No, I know she’s been away before.” Ok then, Miss Know-It-All!
Then I asked about Foot Tall Little Girl. Apparently, she’s just annoying. During some activity in class, they were told they’d be working with partners. Spice was kind enough to demonstrate Foot Tall asking to be partners. She got right in my face with her hands on her hips and said, “Spicespicespice, will you be my paht-ner? Spicespicespice, will you be my paht-ner?” I asked Spice what she did about it and she said that the teacher ended up partnering people up anyway, but there was a glint in her eye that I didn’t care for. I said, “Spice, you weren’t mean were you? You didn’t tell Foot Tall that she was annoying, did you?” She swears up and down she didn’t but I have a creepy-crawly feeling she was lying.
I then try to tell her that it’s just not ok to tell someone she’s annoying, don’t hurt feelings, blah blah blah. Do you see where I’m shooting myself in the foot here? I’m trying to teach them to stand up for themselves, but then I add in all these extra rules afterwards. I’m telling Sugar to stand up for herself, yet I’m telling Spice to be a little more gentle with others. Where the fuck IS that mothering handbook?