Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

When a mother says no, she means no.

Why is it when a doctor, teacher, coach, or even a gardener tells people not to do something, they listen?

But when a mom voices a no or a suggestion that’s not in line with yours, it’s disregarded.

(Seriously, I need to know why.)

Our opinions, preferences, and wishes regarding OUR children need to be listened to. And abided by.

RELATED: It’s Lonely Being the Mom Who Says No

“No, thank you” or “not today” does not mean . . . 

Do it when Mom isn’t looking . . .

Do it anyway right in front of her . . . 

Nor does it mean shame her for her choice . . . 

No also doesn’t mean maybe. It means NO.

Quite a simple matter that some friends and family can’t seem to grasp. One that adds to my already heavy anxiety load.

For instance, when a family member comes full force over to my son with brownies or ice cream, and I politely say, “Hey those look great but please don’t offer them to him.” This shouldn’t even be a problem. Parents, especially mothers, have their reasons why they express a no. It isn’t to be rude. It isn’t to be controlling either. My son has a milk-protein allergy. Yes, a little bit does hurt. Please don’t insist on giving him dairy.

Even if he didn’t have an allergy, it’s almost nap time and I don’t want to deal with an overtired 2-year-old pent up on sugar resisting his scheduled sleep. Unless you’re offering to babysit a strung-out 2-year-old?

RELATED: I Love You Enough to Say No, So You Can Say Yes to the Right Things

Perhaps he just had something sweet.

Or maybe it’s just a no because it’s tempting to give in to his every desire, but we’re trying to lay the groundwork for him not getting his every way.

I don’t even need a reason as a parent. It’s my choice.

But it’s worth noting that discipline is hard to achieve when it’s only done in waves or has no follow-through.

No sleepover tonight (my son has separation anxiety). No, we’re not going to the movies today, we have other plans. No, we aren’t hugging at the moment. No, he doesn’t need another tablet. No, we aren’t attending that event today, mommy is overstimulated and can’t handle more stress at the moment.

If you’re bent out of shape and need an explanation, I can offer that. But negotiation isn’t on the table. Maybe we can’t afford to participate and don’t want to be embarrassed. There are so many reasons that should be taken into consideration.

So here is my unpopular opinion: You need to listen to a parent’s wishes.

Pushing boundaries with a parent does more harm than good. It pushes the mother into a state of distress and pushes her further away from you. She will feel disrespected, micromanaged, and overruled. It makes us feel small. It makes us feel unseen and quite frankly it makes us question our parenting choices.

RELATED: As a Mom, Sometimes I Say No When My Heart Longs to Say Yes

I’m a mother, I’m in charge, and my no is final.

No isn’t meant to be received disrespectfully or to make you feel pushback or insulted because we love you and value your wants and wishes, but when it comes to our children, please, listen to us. There’s a reason behind the no.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Jennifer Bailey

Stay at home mom enjoying one little boy and navigating parenting one trip to Target at a time.

Dear Child, You Are Not Responsible for How Anyone Else Feels about You

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Teen girl looking in the mirror putting on earrings

Dear kiddo, I have so many dreams for you. A million hopes and desires run through my mind every day on a never-ending loop, along with worries and fears, and so, so much prayer. Sometimes, it feels like my happiness is tied with ropes of steel to yours. And yet, the truth is, there are times you disappoint me. You will continue to disappoint me as you grow and make your own choices and take different paths than the ones I have imagined for you. But I’m going to tell you a secret (although I suspect you already know): My...

Keep Reading

Being a Hands-on Dad Matters

In: Kids, Living
Dad playing with little girl on floor

I am a hands-on dad. I take pride in spending time with my kids. Last week I took my toddler to the park. He’s two and has recently outgrown peek-a-boo, but nothing gets him laughing like him seeing me pop into the slide to scare him as he goes down. He grew to like this so much that he actually would not go down the slide unless he saw me in his range of vision going down. When it’s time to walk in the parking lot he knows to hold my hand, and he grabs my hand instinctively when he needs help...

Keep Reading

5 Kids in the Bible Who Will Inspire Yours

In: Faith, Kids
Little girl reading from Bible

Gathering my kids for morning Bible study has become our family’s cornerstone, a time not just for spiritual growth but for real, hearty conversations about life, courage, and making a difference. It’s not perfect, but it’s ours. My oldest, who’s 11, is at that age where he’s just beginning to understand the weight of his actions and decisions. He’s eager, yet unsure, about his ability to influence his world. It’s a big deal for him, and frankly, for me too. I want him to know, deeply know, that his choices matter, that he can be a force for good, just...

Keep Reading

A Mother’s Love is the Best Medicine

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child lying on couch under blankets, color photo

When my kids are sick, I watch them sleep and see every age they have ever been at once. The sleepless nights with a fussy toddler, the too-hot cheeks of a baby against my own skin, the clean-up duty with my husband at 3 a.m., every restless moment floods my thoughts. I can almost feel the rocking—so much rocking—and hear myself singing the same lullaby until my voice became nothing but a whisper. I can still smell the pink antibiotics in a tiny syringe. Although my babies are now six and nine years old, the minute that fever spikes, they...

Keep Reading

Right Now I’m a Mom Who’s Not Ready to Let Go

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter hugging, color photo

We’re doing it. We’re applying, touring, and submitting pre-school applications. It feels a lot like my college application days, and there’s this image in my mind of how fast that day will come with my sweet girl once she enters the school doors. It’s a bizarre place to be because if I’m honest, I know it’s time to let her go, but my heart is screaming, “I’m not ready yet!” She’s four now though. Four years have flown by, and I don’t know how it happened. She can put her own clothes on and take herself to the bathroom. She...

Keep Reading

Each Child You Raise is Unique

In: Kids, Motherhood
Three little boys under a blanket, black-and-white photo

The hardest part about raising children? Well, there’s a lot, but to me, one major thing is that they are all completely different than one another. Nothing is the same. Like anything. Ever. Your first comes and you basically grow up with them, you learn through your mistakes as well as your triumphs. They go to all the parties with you, restaurants, sporting events, traveling—they just fit into your life. You learn the dos and don’ts, but your life doesn’t change as much as you thought. You start to think Wow! This was easy, let’s have another. RELATED: Isn’t Parenting...

Keep Reading

Our Kids Need Us as Much as We Need Them

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy sitting on bench with dog nearby, color photo

During a moment of sadness last week, my lively and joyful toddler voluntarily sat with me on the couch, holding hands and snuggling for a good hour. This brought comfort and happiness to the situation. At that moment, I realized sometimes our kids need us, sometimes we need them, and sometimes we need each other at the same time. Kids need us. From the moment they enter the world, infants express their needs through tiny (or loud) cries. Toddlers need lots of cuddling as their brains try to comprehend black, white, and all the colors of the expanding world around...

Keep Reading

Your Kids Don’t Need More Things, They Need More You

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood
Mother and young girl smiling together at home

He reached for my hand and then looked up. His sweet smile and lingering gaze flooded my weary heart with much-needed peace. “Thank you for taking me to the library, Mommy! It’s like we’re on a date! I like it when it’s just the two of us.” We entered the library, hand in hand, and headed toward the LEGO table. As I began gathering books nearby, I was surprised to feel my son’s arms around me. He gave me a quick squeeze and a kiss with an “I love you, Mommy” before returning to his LEGO—three separate times. My typically...

Keep Reading

This Time In the Passenger Seat is Precious

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Teen driver with parent in passenger seat

When you’re parenting preteens and teens, it sometimes feels like you are an unpaid Uber driver. It can be a thankless job. During busy seasons, I spend 80 percent of my evenings driving, parking, dropping off, picking up, sitting in traffic, running errands, waiting in drive-thru lines. I say things like buckle your seat belt, turn that music down a little bit, take your trash inside, stop yelling—we are in the car, keep your hands to yourself, don’t make me turn this car around, get your feet off the back of the seat, this car is not a trash can,...

Keep Reading

So God Made My Daughter a Wrestler

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young female wrestler wearing mouth guard and wrestling singlet

God made my girl a wrestler. Gosh, those are words I would never have thought I would say or be so insanely proud to share with you. But I am. I know with 100 percent certainty and overwhelming pride that God made my girl a wrestler. But it’s been a journey. Probably one that started in the spring of 2010 when I was pregnant with my first baby and having the 20-week anatomy ultrasound. I remember hearing the word “girl” and squealing. I was over the moon excited—all I could think about were hair bows and cute outfits. And so...

Keep Reading