I'm all for conversation, dialogue, discussion, and open lines of communication. Like most couples, Frank and I like a good game of verbal volleyball, and we'll talk with our kids about almost anything.
But I reserve the right to not discuss, as well. To sometimes employ just one word. Or make that two. No. Or, yes.
Five years ago, I took on graduate school and an additional part-time job. At that time, I made two decisions: I would say no more often. And I would say yes, too. How To Find Balance In This Modern World
No to volunteer appeals from my sons' schools. No to social invitations from borderline "friends" and too-distant relatives. No to some of my kids' requests that didn't involve needs.
Yes to every optional opportunity in grad school, yes to more of my kids' requests for independence.
I said no to scheduling every vacation around my husband's calendar preferences, but yes to his demand that, if I was going to spend 12 days on a campus 400 miles away every few months, I not second-guess his parenting and household decisions.
Several years later, I still find that a simple, direct and firm YES or NO is the human vocabulary's greatest gift to families. Do I sound like my grandmother sometimes when I say no without explaining myself, or when I say “No. Because I said so”?