Learning to say, “No”

Over Thanksgiving, my daughter was home from uni and she asked me to go somewhere and do/buy something. I don’t exactly recall where she wanted to go or what it was she wanted to do, but I remember my reply.

My reply was a big, loud (slightly hesitant) “No.”

Most of the time, she gets a “maybe”. And the maybe inevitably turns to “yes”.
“No” has not been my typical response in regards to my daughter. To my surprise, in the last 7 months or so, “No” has been popping up more frequently. It feels good to say, “No”.

What an empowering word, “No”. Women are socialized to be gracious and compliant and accommodating and quiet and accepting and all the other words that connote suffocation and suppression. Even to their children. 

Last month, I talked to a friend (who reached financial independence in her late 40’s) and she gave me stern advice to “close my wallet”. To paraphrase, she said, “it’s time for you to stop being nice and be the parent. You will never get ahead if you continue to put your kid in front of you. Yeah, your kid wins, but you will be the loser in the long run.” Gulp, those were tough words to hear. She is right and I needed to hear it.

And so it goes. Yet another thing I’m learning on this weird journey is the power of “No”. I’m not advising to go around saying, “No, No, No” like a 2 yr old, but if something isn’t serving you or won’t serve you in the future, then consider a “No”. You will be plenty surprised how easily your “No” will be accepted ( By most. It will make some people angry).

Actually, it sucks saying “No” to my daughter. It pains me a little, but she (we) are adjusting to our new normal. When I said, “No” to my daughter that night, I was pleased to hear this response…”living the life of former rich girls”.

Yes, we are. Yes, we are and I am stupid happy about it.


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