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According to Dr. Sears, if you use this word too many times, it will "cripple" your child's self-discipline. Additional research shows that hearing the word too many times can adversely impact intelligence. Studies also show it can lead to poorer language skills and—best-case scenario—simply become ineffective.
And the horrible word in question?
At this point, the word "no" has such a bad rep that there are a plethora of articles written for desperate parents on how to say "no" without actually saying "no."
Instead, we're supposed to use more descriptive words, like "ouch," when our child slaps us in the face or makes a move to cuddle with the oven, so that they understand the negative consequences of their actions. Or we're supposed to remove opportunities for behavior that might elicit a "no," moving breakables out of reach and moving the cat food to a better location. Or we're supposed to reframe our "no" as a "yes." (God, my head is spinning.)
But lately, I'm finding that the word "no" is the best possible tool in my arsenal if I want to maintain my sanity.
And its usefulness is something I want to eventually teach my daughter.
I eventually became used to the idea that saying "no" to certain things would allow me to say "yes" to the things that really mattered
So I stopped going to those three new-mom groups and the mommy and me yoga classes and the mommy and me story time. And I withdrew from my Toastmasters club. And I briefly considered joining a local choir before coming to my senses and realizing I was being an insane person. With everything else I was doing, I just didn't have the bandwidth to keep saying yes to every activity. Even the previously fun ones had begun to feel like dreaded obligations.
So when a former fellow Toastmasters member emailed me the other day to say, "We neeeed yoooouuuuuu." I was all, "NOPE."
And I started saying no to social invitations that conflicted with Em's nap times. Because while I don't want to isolate myself just because I've become a parent, there's also nothing fun and/or relaxing about going out to lunch with a friend, Em by my side, slowly approaching full meltdown mode.
And when my employer/friend asked me if I could sub her yoga class the following afternoon because she was going to be on vacation, I put my foot down. Even though I hate saying no. Even though I have a hard time saying no. Even though I always want to be someone people can rely on. Because it's hard enough being a WAHM without having to derail my to-do list with a midday teaching session.
I started saying no to my husband, too, when he'd ask me to watch TV with him. I started breaking up with my regular TV shows willy-nilly. Because, while a half hour to an hour of TV is fine, three hours is a waste of my time. No, no, no. I need to make time for reading when our daughter is asleep, or my brain will turn to mush and leak out of several orifices.