Marla Jo Fisher: I like saying ‘no’ to my kids

One of the nice things about being an older mom is that I never felt it necessary to care whether or not my kids liked me.

I have plenty of adult friends (though, sadly, none with money.) I don’t need my kids to be my buddies. They’re my progeny. My living legacy. My blessing. My curse. They don’t also have to be my BFFs.

This attitude has paid off in spades at least 10,244 times, when I’ve been able to say “No” to many things that approval-seeking younger moms could not. Sometimes, just because I was too tired and crabby to care.

When you adopt two miniature humans at age 46 – the same age many of my peers were sending their kids to college – you find out just how tired you can become and still stand up and form the words, “Stop that. Stop it now.”

I’ve said “No” to a wide variety of proposed ventures and schemes over the past 15 years, sometimes with gusto, and sometimes with regret.

But if you read child-rearing handbooks, (which I do not recommend as they only make you feel like more of a failure), they will warn you authoritatively against saying “No” to your kids, because this damages their tender psyches.

Instead, you should say “Yes,” but with a caveat.

“Yes, you can have that ice cream, after we eat dinner.”

This is good, and better than what I would tend to say, which is, “Get the hell out of the freezer, you’ve been staring into it for 20 minutes, all the ice is melting, and we’re about to eat.” Apparently, this is not a recommended way to communicate with the little darlings.

But I enjoy saying “No,” in fact, it’s become rather a hobby of mine. Not as engrossing as, say, picking dog hair off my clothes, which is a full-time occupation, but still enjoyable.

There have been many proposals over the years that I’ve said “no” to so fast it came out like a hiss, including pit bulls, reptiles, ant farms and guns.

I was reluctantly talked into getting, first one dog, and then a…

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