Sometimes I say NO . . . though my heart longs to say YES.

Like the other day—my kindergartener lost another tooth and was thrilled to find a dollar and four quarters from the tooth fairy. He begged me to buy him some candy at the grocery store while he was at school.

And when he got home to find that bag of Airheads on the counter, he actually hopped up and down and squealed! So excited!!

“Thanks, Mom!!”

He ate every bite.

But then he realized he had to fork over the money.

“Hey, Luke. You owe me some money, remember?”

When he came downstairs with it, his cheeks were streaked with tears.

“But it’s my tooth fairy money.”

I almost caved. I almost handed it back to him and smiled and said something like, “Don’t worry about it, buddy. That candy is on me.”

But I didn’t.

Shockingly, he was fine.

He moved on. He forgot all about it in maybe three minutes.

On to the next thing.

That’s what we do as parents, don’t we?

We do the hard stuff.

We say NO.

We follow through.

We enforce consequences. We check up. We make sure someone’s parents are going to be home. And we even insist on talking to the MOM . . . ugh, how embarrassing.

We let them fall on their butts on occasion.

We say things like, “Huh. Maybe you should talk to your teacher about it.”

We don’t buy the next new gadget. We serve vegetables. We send kids to bed on time.

And when our 12-year-old loses the one-millionth hoodie, we let him go to school cold without one.

Sometimes I realize a YES would make my kids so happy. And I want to be the “cool mom”.

A buddy.

A friend.

I long to see my kid’s face light up with glee because I let him skip school or stay up late or I signed off on that form or made an excuse to get him out of a consequence or “helped” write that paper or let him go to an R-rated movie or smiled and nodded at staying up way past bedtime or out with friends after curfew.

I’m sure it would feel amazing.

But really?

That’s not my purpose.

I’m a MOM.

So, I love them and play with them and cheer for them and help them and teach them and pray for them and try to give them every single thing they need.

I really do hope to provide the very best possible life I can imagine for them.

And oftentimes . . . that means I say NO.

I make the hard decisions. Then I follow through.

And it sucks.

They whine and complain and their faces turn into little scowls.

They tell me it isn’t fair.

Apparently, NO ONE ELSE has parents like this!!!

“Mom, you are actually THE WORST.”

And sometimes, it hurts my heart.

I want to say yes. I do! I long to see an excited smile or hear a “You’re THE BEST, Mom!”

But really, I’m just doing MY best . . . 

To be a GOOD mom.

And that means sometimes I say NO . . . though my heart longs to say YES.

This post originally appeared on Ordinary on Purpose, by Mikala Albertson

 

You may also like: 

It’s Lonely Being the Mom Who Says No

I Love You Enough to Not Give You Everything You Want

Mikala Albertson

I’m Mikala. I married my high school sweetheart almost 17 years ago and I’m a (mostly) stay-at-home Family Practice doctor raising four boys and a little girl. I write about the simple, everyday, ordinary events of my life’s journey because I think LIFE happens in the ordinary (and even awful and chaotic!). I try so hard to just be ordinary, on purpose.