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.

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“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?

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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.

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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.

Jennifer Bailey

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