You want to WHAT?


Dear Mommy DaVinchy, Mommy Einstein, and MommyMythBusters,

I feel your pain.

English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle...
English: An afterburner glows on an F-15 Eagle engine following a repair during an engine test run November 10, 2010, at the Florida Air National Guard base in Jacksonville International Airport, Fla. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just spent 30 minutes in discussion the 16 year old talking about strapping jet engines to his back and creating a series of controlled explosions to have him move 20km/hr with wheels strapped to his feet. He has created the plan, done the physics and discussed the “fun factor”. Before he sourced his materials he wanted approval for his project.

After listening to his argument for Pro Jet Packs – I said no. Listing the reasons as to how it would effect me.

  1.   Being a minor, I am responsible for his well being. I did mention once he turns 21, has a job and an engineering degree – I’m cool with it.
  2.  I do not currently have the time to to be engaged in regular meetings with a social worker from Family Support services due to my lack of judgement of letting my son play with rocket fuel.
  3. I have better things to do than sit in emergency waiting for details of fractures, comas, burns and lobotomies.
  4. Financial implications. Alberta Health does offer support for stupid acts of awesome, however they do not offer a pharmaceuticals plan. I would need Extra coverage from Blue Cross and I am currently not in the position to gain coverage for above and beyond the reasonable amount required by the average citizen.
  5. I have no desire to be on Dr. Phil explaining the reasoning behind not being a parent.

You see, I have a big opinion about parenting. I shall share this public service announcement with you:

If you choose to have children and KEEP them, then you must accept ownership. Part of this ownership is to be a PARENT not a friend, pal or buddy to your child. That is not to say it is not okay to enjoy them in a friend capacity, however – get your own PEER group for extensive sharing, exuberant activities and so forth. Being the parent requires the ADULT (you) to make JUDGEMENT CALLS on the activities the minor in your care wishes to make. This includes things that are life altering (wear a helmet when you ride your bike) and remember SAFETY FIRST. It is advisable and acceptable to say NO on occasion and you do not need to give an explanation. You are the PARENT. Do not worry if your offspring is going to hate you, THEY ALWAYS DO! They hate you because you are too strict, or they hate you because you are too lenient. You can’t win – so take my advice and do the right thing. JUST SAY NO! I do however, find it helpful to explain your reasoning as to how you came to this conclusion. It is important for emerging critical thinkers to understand all the steps involved in planning.

For example:

OffSpring – it would be cool to put on a cape and jump off a 3 story building.

Mom – No it wouldn’t and here is why…

Do not be afraid of NO. Practice it in front of the mirror. Say it out loud. Get use to hearing yourself say it. Then practice it on others, not just your child. It is OKAY to say no.

If you cannot think of a good explanation as to WHY they should not do something, then one of two things is happening.

  1. Their request is reasonable
  2. You do not have the know-how to understand consequences. If this is the case, then by all means allow your offspring to attempt this outrageous request. Darwin called it survival of the fittest. Natural selection by elimination has been done by nature for years. This is how humans keep the gene pool strong and healthy.

My 16 year old ended the conversation with “Well, now I know where the line is”

Damn straight Offspring, but don’t get too comfortable, it is my prerogative to have that line be flexible and move as I as fit. After all, I AM THE PARENT!



What is it about “NO” that you don’t understand?

Mirror Image
Image via Wikipedia

When I was little, I was the “Queen of Natter”. My Dad, who was a teacher,would sit in his chair reading the paper after a very long day at school. The unspoken rule was to give Dad 30 minutes of peace and quiet before you could talk to him.  He needed serious decompression time. As an adult, I completely understand that now. At the time, it never made sense. How could he not be excited and anxious to hear about my day? I could hardly wait to tell him the dramas the occurred in my life or ask him for answers to the most bizarre questions imaginable. He would give me “the Look”. You know the one, every parent has one. The look that tells you, you have gone to far or over stepped boundaries. I would simply ignore it and keep on with the “Dad, Dad, Dad…”

As I became older, I would take my Dad’s self-imposed quiet time and ask permission for things. Dad being distracted, would often say sure. So, I started being more bold with my requests. One day I asked for the car, for no other reason then just to cruise around. My parents were very generous about letting me use the car and about curfews. The only real rule was it had to have purpose. Staying out late to hang around 7-11 was a big fat no. Staying out late to go to a movie or a hockey game was a yes. They explained to me that a teen without purpose, was trouble waiting to happen. I could see their point. But I WANTED to just hang out or drive around. This had no purpose so the answer was NO. By trying to catch my dad unaware, nattering at him to death, I was hoping I could wear him down and he would agree to handing over the keys. “Dad, Dad, Dad….but Daaaaaad” The Newspaper would fold down one corner and his eye would peer at me. “Robyn, what is it about NO that you don’t understand?” Thus ended my chance of getting the car that day. I could hear the weariness in his voice and it would end with a sigh, a shuffle of papers, and that was my cue to leave because there would be no further discussion.

I learned that No means No. Who are we kidding. That only applied to my Dad. When he said No, he meant No. So if that was a lesson learned by me, why can I not apply it to my own life? Maybe it is a control thing or I am just so bossy people have figured out a way to manipulate me.

In my private life, at home with my Honey and the Offspring, No is a word that I use frequently. “mom can I….”  “NO”. I can hear myself saying the word before their question even gets answered. dialogue usually goes like this:

Offspring: Mom…

Me: No

Offspring: But Mom…

Me: No

Offspring: But I haven’t even asked…

Me: No

I find this interchange quite humorous because it frustrates them. I do eventually listen to them, and sometimes the answer is still no. The Offspring are getting very good a building convincing arguments as to why they should be allowed. So I let them win if it is a compelling argument.

I find saying no to my mother or sister very hard. Maybe because I want to please them, or it’s the family first concept that makes it hard to resist. I will have 258 things piled high on my plate of things to do, Mom or Sis ask me to do one more, and I answer – sure. I sometimes go away feeling angry that they aren’t doing it themselves. Mostly I don’t mind, deep down I know they will always do for me when I ask. So it is give and take.

Saying “no” to people I work with and to people I volunteer with is harder. Sometimes it just does not occur to me to say no. Again it must be that caretaker complex or the need to be in control. I am finding that the more I learn about policy and procedure, the more people ask me for the answer. Just as easy to ask me the to find out for yourself. I must admit, I like that. I enjoy the feeling of having the answers. Because I understand what needs to be done, I will often do it before it is required. Then someone says, oh I need to do… and I say, I did that already. Seriously, I need therapy for my control issues! What possesses  me to do all the work? How dare I complain about how much I do! I bring it all on myself. My “partner in crime” ( and when I say partner in crime, I mean friend and colleague, a mirror image of myself, two peas in a pod, Tweedledee and Tweedledum, Mutt and Jeff…) was very good at telling me to let it go, or don’t do it. Even the other day, she emailed me and said “um…why are YOU doing that?” Huh…good point. WHY AM I doing that?

Why indeed…

Time to fix that. I am going to focus on my position. Do it well, help if I can, be a team player. I have learned that I am not a team player if I do it all. A team player works with strengths and weakness of the team and we bring out the best in each other. So far, I think I am doing much better at using No. I also don’t volunteer so quickly. I need to relax and let others succeed and fail. If I find that too stressful, I’ll just have another coffee and continue on.

So the next stop on the Edmonton Tourist’s route is accepting the process and not worrying about being right. I see this as my biggest challenge to date.

Wish me luck…