Is it more important to say “no” or “yes” when you’re a mom? I recently read a parenting book that suggested we should try to find a way to say "yes" more often. When a child asks to go to the zoo on Monday, instead of saying, "No," ideally the mom would say, “You may go on Saturday.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t work very well in my family. My young daughter would remain upset today, but remember my offer once Saturday arrived. I’ve learned this the hard way: avoid promising anything later because it’s too hard to predict the future. How can I guarantee a weekend zoo trip when someone could get sick or it might rain?
I think previous generations doled out a firm “no”
easier than some of us today. In fact, a stranger walked up to me and my baby in the mall one time and offered an odd bit of advice (as people often do to new moms). The old woman said, “The most important thing you can do as a parent is to mean it when you say, ‘No.’” I smiled and nodded, wondering if this was a personal regret of hers or a general criticism of parents today. Naïvely, I assumed I’d have no problem giving my child boundaries and sticking to them.
But I admit, I have been guilty of saying “no” as a reflex then second-guessing myself. Kids ask so many questions, it can be overwhelming: “Can I have a play date?” “Can I have some ice cream?” “Can I watch TV?” They want things and we hold the power to grant their wishes. I hate it when I initially say "no", then reconsider and realize I can say "yes." Therefore, my favorite answer (and one I remember my own mother giving) is to say, “Let me think about it.” Magically, time gives me perspective and strengthens my resolve. Somehow stepping away from the topic also seems to help my daughter accept my answer. Or best of all, she actually forgets what she asked for.
So, I’m torn on the yes/no issue. The other day I told my seven-year-old to hang up her clean clothes. This is a task I usually do for her, but am trying to transition onto her shoulders. She asked if I would help. Because she has trouble squeezing the levers on the pants hangers, I decided that I would. She brought me the empty hangers, I placed the clothes on them and then she hung the outfits in the closet. In fact, she smiled as we worked together. Before I knew it, the laundry was put away. Afterwards, I felt good about the compromise.
Until my daughter said something that I couldn’t quite decide how to take. She said, “I love you, Mommy, because you always say yes.”
Does that mean I’m a good mom?
Hmmm. . . .Let me think about it and get back to you. What do you think? Should parents try to find ways to say “yes” more often?
(If you enjoyed this post, you’d probably like A Mom’s Life: Warm Fuzzies, Food & Fun
available at amazon.com. The paperback would make a great Mother's Day gift or present for a new mom.)
The Next Big Thing Blog Hop is a way of connecting readers to writers around the world. I would like to thank Kelly O'Dell Stanley, who just signed a book deal, for inviting me along. You can read about her original idea here: Praying Upside Down
I will answer some questions about my writing then link you to amazing authors I think you'll like. 1. What is the title of your book? On the Verge2. Where did the idea come from?
I once worked for a man whose wife was in a car accident that completely changed her personality. He said she "wasn't the woman he married." This ethical dilemma intrigued me so I wrote a book where a head injury interrupts newlywed bliss. (My boss, by the way, divorced his wife. In my book club discussion questions, I ask if a man or a woman is more likely to stay married if his/her partner becomes gravely ill.)3. What's the genre?
contemporary fiction or women's fiction4. Which actors would you choose to portray the characters in a movie?
Ginnifer Goodwin from "Once Upon a Time" for Val, the main character, and Cindy Crawford for Joely, a secondary character.5. What's the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Newlyweds struggle to repair a 1920's house while trying to rebuild their relationship after a personality-changing head injury.6. Was this independently published or represented by an agency?
It was independently published after consulting with my agent. My next novel will be represented by the MacGregor Literary Agency.7. How long did it take to write?
It took about 6-8 months to write.8. What other books would you compare this to?
"The Vow"9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?
A friend of mine lives in a 1920's Spanish-style house which I've always admired. Her stories of restoration joys and nightmares inspired the On the Verge
house and is featured on the book cover.10. What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
The Midwest Book Review wrote this: "A thoughtful tale about difficult human problems with no easy solutions, On the Verge
is highly recommended."
If you like contemporary women's fiction, check out Kaira Rouda
, who Claire Cook, author of Must Love Dogs
, said "is like getting together with one of your best friends--fun, fast and full of great advice." For historical fiction, I highly recommend New York Times bestselling author, Tasha Alexander
, and for inspirational fiction and non-fiction, read Peggy Sue Wells
I am not good at playing games.
Years ago I won at bowling and was so ecstatic, I jumped for joy. When my future husband pointed out that I wasn’t a graceful winner, I apologized and explained that I’d never won before. Not bowling, not mini-golf, not anything. Growing up, it seemed my father always won the games we played. If it were just my older brother and I, I still couldn’t compete. I told my fiance that I had plenty of practice losing. “I’m a good loser,” I promised.
The other night, however, I wondered if this were true. My husband and I had bought the board game Clue for our seven year old daughter. In elementary school, I’d played it a couple times at a friend’s house and enjoyed it. After all, it had colorful characters like Mrs. Peacock and Professor Plum, miniature revolvers and candlesticks, and it offered the chance to play detective. I was excited that my daughter was finally old enough to play a game I’d truly enjoy. No more Candyland or Don’t Break the Ice for me.
She requested we play every night and more often than not, my husband set aside the papers he was grading and took his place around the table. It surprised us the first time our daughter solved the mystery. Then she won again. And when she didn’t win, my husband did. Wait a minute.
I noticed a pattern developing. My husband won because of his exceptional deductive reasoning skills. My daughter won because she wasn’t afraid to guess and be wrong. But me—I waited to accuse a suspect until I was 100% sure. By that time, someone else would beat me to the punch.
Last night my daughter wanted to play again and I suggested we take a break. This game that I’d fantasized about as a child turned out to be yet another one in which I had no skill. Then my husband teased me, “Momma doesn’t want to play because she always loses.”
Here the Mommy Guilt kicked in. Everything I say and do is setting an example.
How could I expect my little girl to smile and say, “Good game” after she lost when I didn’t?
So I took a deep breath and agreed to participate. Right away I could tell I was going to lose again. I rolled plenty of ones and twos. I got trapped in a room I didn’t want to be in. The fates conspired against me. Too soon my daughter bragged that she knew the weapon and the guilty party. All she had left was to figure out the location of the crime. My husband said he had it narrowed down to 25%. Ugh! I told them both to be quiet or people wouldn’t like playing with them. (And by “people” I mostly meant me.) My husband “Awwww” ed in my direction.
That’s when I realized that after plenty of experience, I hadn’t even mastered the art of losing gracefully.
Sensing that one of my opponents would soon win, I was frustrated that they seemed closer to a solution than I was. But I did have a pretty good guess. I decided to take a page from my daughter’s playbook. For the first time ever, I dared to make an accusation without 100% certainty.
Fate smiled upon me and I was right. I’d won! Finally I felt the rush of victory. I reminded myself not to smile too broadly. Good sportsmanship (and good role modeling) take effort.
What amazes me is how well my daughter handles it when she guesses the answer and is wrong. Patiently she waits for the game to end, giddy because we are doing something together as a family. She doesn’t let her mistake stop her from taking a chance the next time, either. Perhaps those who excel at games, like in life, are those willing to risk failure.
Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. What matters is that we had fun along the way--together.Are you a good loser? I'd love to hear your comments!If you'd like to be the first notified about book giveaways and new releases, please click here and leave your e-mail address. I plan on giving away several copies of my novels soon!
How often do both you and your guy LOVE a movie? I mean, he likes Die Hard
and you like The Notebook
. Someone is always compromising. Until now. Because The Music Never Stopped
manages the challenging feat of reaching both sexes.
The main character, 35-year-old Gabriel, was inspired by a real amnesiac stuck in the 1960's due to a brain tumor. From there, the writer, Dr. Oliver Sacks ("Awakenings"), created an inspiring story about a conservative father who kicks his hippie son out of the house. For twenty years, they don't speak. . . until Gabriel is admitted to the hospital dazed and confused. Surgery saves his health, but the doctors are unable to undo the damage. Gabriel barely speaks and cannot remember what happened five minutes ago. Despite the heartbreak, his parents visit him daily.
Eventually they discover that music unlocks parts of Gabriel's memory. Like a light switch, a favorite Grateful Dead or Bob Dylan song allows Gabriel to engage in animated conversations. Unfortunately, the music threatens to reignite the old war between father and son. Is the music really helping this family heal or is it sometimes better to forget?
This movie made my husband and I laugh out loud and ache deep inside. When it was over, I regretted the fact that I could've missed seeing it. As far as I'm concerned, this movie was a million times better than "Awakenings" for which the writer is better known. If you missed this 2011 Sundance Film Festival pick, I highly recommend you check out The Music Never Stopped
now. How long would you wait for someone you love to return to their former self? If you'd like another story about how a head injury challenges and inspires a family, read "On the Verge" for $2.99 on Amazon.
Treat yourself this weekend to the romance novella, Made for Two
. It's free on Amazon
Diane acted on instinct when she broke up a fight at the inner-city school where she teaches history. When the superintendent suspends her, Diane returns to her hometown of Foxworth. Almost immediately she finds herself tracking down her old boyfriend, Tim. Just seeing him rekindles her love and she realizes that her life, just like her tandem bike, was made for two. Unfortunately, Tim keeps pushing her away, claiming it will never work out. After all, she still wants to live in the city and he can’t imagine leaving his family’s bakery. But Diane discovers there’s more to it than that. Tim has been hiding in this small town because he has a secret."Diane is a spunky, persistent, and engaging heroine."
"Made for Two is a brilliantly written romantic short about rekindling lost love."
Please share this on Facebook, Twitter or your blog. Happy reading!
Have you already watched Miracle on 34th Street
and It’s a Wonderful Life
and every other Christmas movie you can think of? I love the classics, but I also enjoy discovering a family film I’ve never seen before. If you’re like me, longing for a heart-warming story in which you don’t have all of the lines memorized, check out Prancer
Sam Elliott plays a financially-strapped widower who spends more time scolding his precocious daughter, Jessica, than talking to her. He’s at such a loss, he’s planning on sending her to live with her aunt. Before he can go through with his plans, his eight-year-old daughter finds an injured reindeer that she’s convinced is Prancer. Hiding and stealing food for this reindeer puts Jessica even more at odds with her gruff father.
This precious movie reminded me of the innocence and unconditional love of children. It almost made me cry while leaving a big, Santa-inspired smile on my daughter’s face. For a Christmas movie that speaks to the reality of hard times and the magic of the season, treat your family to Prancer
. Be sure to treat yourself to A Sister’s Promise which provides a Happy Ending with a Twist. For a chance to win a free autographed copy of “What Happiness Looks Like”, click here. Please "like" and "tweet."