I am generally a pretty firm, but fair, parent. I set limits. I don’t tolerate bullshit. And I spend most of the day telling my kids NO. No, you can’t have brownies for dinner. No, you can’t hit your brother with your lightsaber. No, you can’t run around the block in your underwear.
But sometimes, I’m a huge pushover. I give in to their whiny requests. I look the other way when some sort of discipline is probably required. And I say “yes” to things that should be a “no.”
Sometimes I say “yes” because I’m tired of being the bad guy all day and sick of being called the Meanest Mom Ever for making my son — gasp! — take a bath. Sometimes I give in because I’m too damn tired to argue with them anymore. Sometimes I give in because they are little and cute, and childhood is about indulgence and bad decisions every once in a while. And sometimes I say “Yes!” to things that should be a “no” because fuck “should.”
Whatever the reason, here are a few of the things I say YES to (even if they should be a “no”):
Treats for my kids means treats for me, which really just means I don’t have to go through the hassle of sneaking a Kit-Kat into the bathroom or trying to open the bag of M&Ms without my kids hearing.
Eating Cookie Dough
There are few joys as pure as licking the bowl or eating a heaping spoonful of cookie dough. And has anyone really ever gotten salmonella from eating cookie dough?
Both of my kids are very social so playdates make for happy kids, which makes for a happy mom. Not to mention the fact that having their friends over means less pressure on me to entertain them.
One (or Five) More Television Shows
A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.
It’s an essential childhood skill, isn’t it?
My kids have easy access to books at school, there are several unread books on their shelves, and we live right across the street from the library, but I am a total sucker for new books. Maybe it’s because I’m a bookworm myself. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to have to worry about keeping a borrowed book free from dog bites and coffee stains. Or maybe it’s that intoxicating new book smell. Whatever the reason, if my kids ask for a new book, the answer is usually “sure!”
I’m sorry, teachers. I’m really sorry. But we’ve got lots of books so it’s all good, right?
You can’t learn to make smart decisions if you don’t take a few risks now and then.
Leaving the Toilet Seat Up
OK, so this one isn’t so much a “yes” (because it seriously drives me crazy) as it is looking the other way and not riding their ass about putting the toilet seat down.
Junk Food at the Grocery Store
Taking my kids to the grocery store is a special kind of hell so if we can make it a little less stressful by sending them on their way to pick out some junk food, I’ll do it. It’s called survival.
Doing Things Alone
How will they learn independence if they don’t ride their bike alone every once in a while?
Skipping the Nightly Teeth-Brushing Now and Then
I know, I know. This is just laziness. Cut me some slack.
Staying Up Late
They might spend the entire day whining and arguing, but come bedtime, they are the sweetest kids you can imagine. A coincidence? Or a master manipulation trick? Whatever the case, it usually results in saying yes to a later bedtime.
Because when your kid is passionate about something, it’s hard to say no — even if that “passion” changes every two weeks. From soccer to basketball to baseball to lacrosse to tennis to…
Eating Dinner Away From the Table
Come the end of the week, telling my kids to sit in their chair at the table is just one more battle I’m not willing to have. Does it mean there are crumbs all over the house? Of course. But that’s why we have dogs.
One More Tuck-In
I’ve said “goodnight!” I’ve said “It’s time for bed! (OK, I yelled that one.) But when my kid asks for “just one more tuck-in,” I will relent nearly every time.
I cringe and nag them about cleaning up, but making messes usually means that I can buy myself a few minutes of peace and quiet.
This might be the only time my kids sit still all day. Put a bowl of buttery popcorn in front of them and they might even be quiet too.
Movies With Bad Language
There are worse things than hearing a few swear words, and they are probably hearing these things on the playground anyway so they might as well hear it while we’re spending time together enjoying a family movie. Besides, the ones with bad words are so much more fun anyway.
Marching to the Beat of Their Own Drum
This isn’t just something I say “yes” to, but something I actively encourage. Because if there is one thing I want my kids to learn, it is to be the best you you can be. And sometimes that means marching while everyone else is walking.
Parenting is hard work, and it involves a lot of tough decisions. It means being the bad guy a lot and saying “no” millions of times because, let’s face it, kids make some really bad decisions. Then again, adults make some bad decisions too. And maybe one of them is saying “no” too many times, to too many things. After all, YES is so much more fun.