Sarah: Saying ‘no’ on a daily — if not an hourly — basis is one of my challenges of being a parent. It doesn’t feel good to be the constant bearer of bad news.
But kids aren’t the only ones who have to get used to ‘no’. There’s an awful lot of self-imposed ‘no’ in most of our lives every day.
It’s something that struck me in the Post Office just this week. As we lined up with my parcel — an item of online-bought clothing to be returned — my son and I were confronted with an aisle of temptations. New drink bottles, books, fancy pen holders…the list went on. At the desk, miscellaneous bags of chocolates and lollies were everywhere we looked. The kid asked me in a half-hearted, I-already-know-the-answer-kinda-way, ‘Can we have one, Mum?‘ Answering in the negative, I had a sudden craving for sugar and had to make a conscious effort to stand my ground.
It got me thinking.
The first world in which I live is full of excess and choices.
The service station, the stationary shop, the swimming pool, the school tuck shop, the netball courts, the tennis club and more; all offer lollies, ice-blocks, chips and sweet drinks. I say no in all of these places many, many times each week. To my kids, and to myself.
I’m online working every day, and to take a break will browse around on Facebook and clothing websites. The temptations continue — T shirts for less than $20. Bargain summer dresses. Cheap ‘n’ cheerful scarves. Just say no, Sarah! Usually I do. But sometimes I don’t (and sometimes it bites me on the bum; refer above to item of clothing to be returned via the Post Office and at my cost).
–> Electronic devices – don’t use them too much!
–> Quick and easy take-away dinner options – not a good idea!
–> Staying up late and watching TV — ’cause there’s always something on — you’ll regret that tomorrow!
Saying no, staying in control, knowing when to switch stuff off. It’s hard. But I think it’s important.
What I do wonder is whether there is a psychological cost to telling yourself ‘no’ on a constant basis.
[image thanks to abhi on flickr]