I wonder when Laylee will realize how similar I am to the wicked stepmother from Disney’s Cinderella. First of all, we both have great hair and I mean GREAT. Secondly, our voices are cool. Thirdly and most importantly, we both tend to tell our kids “no” passive-aggressively while cackling on the inside.
I noticed this third similarity for the first time the other day when Laylee asked me if she could
go to the ball eat some ice cream. I said, “Sure,” and then listened to myself rattle off an impossibly long list of conditions. It was something like, “If you get your chores done and you’re nice to me and I don’t have PMS and the Flames win the hockey game tonight and the stars align and I FEEL like it.”
She bounced off happily to do her chores full of hope and excitement because mom said she could have ICE CREAM! Little did she know that without the help of a fat freezer-opening fairy godmother, she would see no frozen treats to speak of. Magoo does not count. He’s not nearly subtle enough to get past the likes of me and into the treasure chest of dairy-licious joy and he has no magic wand.
I once read a great little bit of parenting advice that said you should frequently find a way of saying “yes” to your kids, even if the real answer is “no.” For example, if Laylee asks to go to the zoo, instead of saying, “No. I have to finish eating these bon bons and getting my massage today,” I should say, “Sure. I’d love to go to the zoo with you sometime this summer. What a great idea!”
This plan has really worked well because honestly the kids just want to be validated and knowing that they’ll get their way eventually is usually enough. I can use it to find a compromise between what they ask for and what’s actually possible. However, lately I’ve been abusing the tactic and turning it into a way to say no without actually saying no.
It lets me off the hook but it will also make Laylee suspicious of me. There’s a reason they call that chick the “wicked” stepmother and it’s not because she was cool in the 80s.