2018 · parenting

i’m just a girl who can’t say no

I remember my first ever audition. I was going out for the part of Ado Annie in Oklahoma! and, in the hopes of ensuring they chose me for the role, I sang the character’s biggest solo – I’m jist a girl who c’ain’t say no. (I got the part.)

Fast forward fifteen years and Oklahoma! remains one of my favourite musicals of all time and my character song is now my own: I am absolutely rubbish at saying no to most things.

Donate to XYZ charity? Sure!

Can we have your email so we can send you deals for shit you don’t need? YUP.

(And you best believe I don’t say “no” to those deals when they hit my inbox, kids.)

Need someone to bake two dozen cookies on the one night a week I have eleventy billion other commitments? Of course – I don’t need sleep!

Over the past couple of years, I’ve worked hard to get better at saying “no” to things that  won’t add value, make our lives better, or give us an opportunity to grow. It’s hard, but I’m slowly turning down the opportunity to be on email lists, bake cookies, or donate to charities that don’t speak to me. But there’s one thing I can’t seem to say no to on any type of regular basis.

My kid.

From the invisible ink pen this week to agreeing to buy him a car magazine when we’re in a grocery store, saying “no” is next to impossible for me even when I know I should be saying it more often than I probably ever will.

Sometimes, it’s because I feel guilty I don’t have more time to spend doing fun things with him. I feel guilty for the nights I stay at work past dinner, or leave before he’s up in the morning. I feel guilty for the times I miss concerts and hockey practices and birthday parties and field trips. I feel guilty for all the times I’ve forgotten a deadline, missed a goodnight kiss, or lost my patience when I shouldn’t have.

But most of the time, it’s because I want to.

I want to say yes to things. I want to give my son the things he’s excited about, the things I got when I was a kid. The things I didn’t get when I was a kid. I want him to have the things and experiences that he’s excited about as much as I want to be able to have the things and experiences that I’m excited about. It’s that simple, and yet it feels so complicated.

Obviously I don’t give in to every request. When I need to say “no”, I do – but when I don’t, I almost can’t. Maybe one day I’ll master the firm and long-lasting “no”, but until then… that’s just fine.

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