How Yes And No Helped Me Simplify My Life

yes and no
Self, Family

The delicious clarity of direct answers helped me simplify my life.

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”?