June 16th, 2010

Nancy Reagan Can Say It, Why Can’t I?

Linda Kennard

Every woman I know has a hard time saying “No,” with the exception of a few enviably-confident Alphas. This occurred to me last Friday when I was driving around with my friend and neighbor (and fellow mom) Kay to set up neon-orange signs we’d made advertising a “community garage sale” that neither of us was participating in. Now granted, we did manage to eke out a cat call each, but despite that silver lining, the task was a pain and not something we wanted to squeeze onto our To-Do lists.

“Why are we doing this Kay?”

“Because we’re too nice and we don’t know how to say, ‘No.’”

She’s right. The “No” problem is epidemic among moms. Now don’t get me wrong: most of us are great at saying “No” to kids, even when they’re not ours. “No, that’s not your toy;” “No, don’t bite;” “No, don’t pick up the gum on the hot rock;” “No, don’t touch anything with the hand that’s oozing pink goo.” When it comes to kids, “No” is no problem.

But when you can look a person in the eye (standing up), saying “No” is tough. Adults can ask me a question to which the “Yes” answer means a lifetime of hell (or at least an hour), and I’ll smile and forget all about my mad no-saying skills: “Would you serve as president of the homeowner’s association for another year?”

“Sure!” Later, on my own time, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

But here’s what’s truly frightening: turns out that as my kids get older they are starting to bear a striking resemblance to grown-ups and the result of that unfortunate phenomenon is that I find myself slipping into my wicked Yes-man ways (or Yes-lady ways, whatever)—with my own children.

Case in point: a few weeks ago, Jay asked, “Can I pick up Frankie and Mia and hang out for a couple of hours at the park?” Okay, her driver’s license is two days old, it’s 5:30pm, she wants to pick up two friends (when a first-year license in this state dictates no more than one unlicensed passenger), and the car she uses, my car, is only three months older than her license.

Guess what I said?!

No sooner had I said it, then I started following her around the house talking about how “uncomfortable” I was with the idea, how bad the roads are during rush hour, how if anything happened to my car I’d be forced to take action and she’s really too young to die, and so on. In the end, Jay was nearly in tears, pleading with me (on her way out the door, I should add) to “just say ‘No’ next time.”

She makes it sound so simple. Round up the Alphas. I’ll grill them and get back to you.

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This Weeks Tip

We did a review a while ago of dry shampoo. Here’s an alternative when you don’t have time to wash, but want to get rid of the oily-ness. Sprinkle some baking soda on your hair, comb through then quickly fluff your hair with a blow dryer. (note: You can also add a little scented baby powder to keep your hair smelling clean!)