Wednesday, February 3, 2010

No. Yes, It Actually Means No.

Please parental Tadpoles tell me if you have had this problem.

I have discovered that we live in the land of pushy parents. It has been escalating these past few months and I am about to pull my hair out of what little I have left from medication side effect loss.

This happens more often with Wallene [our 12 year old] but on occasion I get an episode involving Squirrel.

Like all kids our kids have friends. And like all kids they like to hang out with their friends - be it sledding, going to the mall, the movies or sleeping over. If we acquiesed to ever request of one of their forays we would never see them. I am serious. They could find a friend to hang with every day of the week and two sleepovers per weekend.

There comes a time when we have to say no. We don't feel bad - there are limits to how much time they need to spend at the mall or how much money we have for movies and such. In addition every single one of these "playdates" involves driving.

Here in lies the problem. Their friends' parents.

No matter that we tell our OWN children no, not today, sorry you had a sleepover last weekend etc. - their friends' Mothers [it is always the Moms] will call and ask again if our kid can participate. I always ask "Didn't Wallene [or Squirrel] let you know that she is unable to?" They respond "Yes, but 'Buffy' would really like Wallene here and she is so bored and they are so entertained when they are together. Don't you agree?"

Well, yeah - everything is always more fun with a friend - but I will demur and say "Sorry, but Wallene has chores [homework, downtime, whatev'] and can't come."

But they continue "Oh, I am sure a few hours won't hurt. Are you sure? 'Buffy' will be so disappointed. She is so bored."

[What is it with the bored line? I get it all the time. Go play a card game or watch a movie with your kid. I do.]

I continue to try and say no - but these women are good at what they do and I eventually hand the phone over to Pooldad and let him agree to it. After all he does have to drive.

But, really? I am tired of it. The worst parents are the ones that English is not their first language - they speak it well enough as I have met them in person at school, but get them on the phone and they fall into the "oh, what? really, no? oh we see Wallene 2 'clock, 'kay?" And when I retiterate that the answer is "No" they act clueless and repeat "2 'clock. We see her then. 'Kay?"

Don't get me wrong - I like the women who call [they are a chatty bunch] and I adore their children - they are all sweet kids and I love that my kids have such nice friends to hang out with - but the pressure to say yes after I have said no is a bit too much. Keep in mind we don't say no a lot but ANY time we do I invariably get the Mom phone call asking "Are you sure, absolutely certain, have you lost your mind woman that Wallene can't come?"

What do I do and how can I get a backbone?


Linda in New Mexico said...

I dunno....except....I know you don't want to cause problems for your children but....mean it. Let the parents know that you are uncomfortable having to repeat your answer but the answer is no. And then don't say anything if they repeat the question. Silence usually brings folks to your conclusion. Working with "church" people taught me to do this because......there is always a because, folks just want what they want when they want it. Tough nuggies. "no, but thank you for asking" is also another way of putting it.

Gizmo said...

Hang in there Mom! No means NO! I'd agree with Linda...the awkward silence or the "no, but thanks for asking". You'll be surprised how straight your backbone gets. :)

Amy said...

I had no idea I was going to have that to look forward to in the future.

It really is sad. I don't know what to tell you. You can say no, but you can't make someone else understand.

Good luck

Life in the mom lane said...

Hmmmm you sound like me... I had no problem saying no- Guess that's why hubby & I had the reputation of being the "strict" parents amongst our kids friends.

That and me being a "bitch" :)

Let's hear it for the be-otches! ;)

Funny though- we ALWAYS seemed to have kids @ our house- guess we couldn't have been that bad.