One of the hardest parts of motherhood is feeling like you’re always the bad guy. I try to brush off when my toddler prefers Daddy at bedtime or when he asks to go to Grandma’s house for the 18th time in a day.

Because let’s face it—Daddy isn’t home as often, so when he is around, he’s the hero. And it’s a grandma’s job to say yes to all things sugar and fun. I get it, yet I’d be lying if my kid’s preference to them over me didn’t sting a little.

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I wipe your buns. I buy you clothes. I kiss your boo-boos. I make you food. I get up in the night if you have a bad dream. But, I also say no . . . like a lot. Which makes me the bad guy. 

Still, because I want you to be a good human, I’ll continue to say that two-letter word you can’t stand to hear.

I’ll say no to the Zebra Cake for breakfast because I want your body to be healthy and grow big and strong.

I’ll say no to getting more toys out before your LEGOs are picked up because I want you to learn responsibility. 

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I’ll say no to being excused from the table too early because I want you to learn how to be patient and respectful.

I’ll say no to more screen time because I want your imagination to flourish. 

I’ll say no to you swinging that stick around because I don’t want you to hurt yourself or others.

I’ll say no to the cool toy at Target because I want you to appreciate the value of a dollar.

I’ll say no to one more episode because I know your weary eyes need rest.

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As you get older, I realize that saying no will get harder. Your tiny tantrums will turn into silent treatments and possibly even the dreaded “I hate you, mom.” But, I pray that someday you will understand. I hope that someday I get to turn in my bad guy title for the loving mother title instead.

Until then, I’ll keep saying no, because I love you. I’ll keep being the bad guy so that hopefully you turn out to be the good guy. 

Lindsay Meier

I am a farm wife, boy mom, and public preschool teacher in central Nebraska. I enjoy quiet walks with Jesus, date nights in the tractor with my husband, and playing in the dirt with my two sons.