Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Trust. — Just Say NO to Grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum.

on May 7, 2013

I might be wrong. It is true. It does happen sometimes. (More often than I would like to admit, actually.)

I have been preaching the virtues of PLAY MORE. I have been encouraging Moms and Dads round the world (well, round my little blogosphere) to say YES more. Say YES. Build the fort. Play the game. Toss the ball.

But I might be wrong.

Because what Moms and Dads may really need to be saying more of is NO.

I think maybe we might all need to be saying NO just a little bit more.

Sure. NO is so much less fun and exciting than YES.  You make no friends by saying NO. You do not win the popularity contests by saying NO.

But fun and friends and popularity are not the reasons we signed up for this parenting gig, right?

Tonight I was reminded why ‘NO’ is still such an important word in a Mom and Dad’s vocabulary.

It all comes out at bedtime, doesn’t it? I’m winding them down, I’m tucking them in, I’m seeing the end of the day is almost within my reach …when here she comes back into my room in tears. With a confession.

Earlier this week, sometime, she can’t remember when, she was watching TV. She stumbled upon an ‘Emergency Room’ type show that she knows isn’t on her ‘approved’ list of watching. She watched parts of it. And now she’s scared and can’t go to sleep.

I know I’m not telling you anything when I say, “This parenting gig is a tough one.”

My first overreaction is to want to remove all TVs from the house. My next reaction is to fuss at her for watching something that she shouldn’t have been watching. This is quickly followed by a dreaded thought of … OMG, what did she see that is now in her little head forever? Finally landing on, I need to update those parental controls on the TV. Or … just get rid of the TVs all together.

Y was then ridden with the mixed emotions of scared, overtired, and guilty… a terrible concoction to partake in as you are trying to go to sleep. We talked for a long time. She cried. I tried to think really fast and stay calm through it all. She cried some more. And I tried very hard to be supportive, yet firm, without making her feel worse than she already did. She is her Mother’s daughter by the way, so I’m fairly sure the guilt she will feel will outweigh any punishment I could hand out.

It is just like the Hubba Bubba bubble gum story.

hubba bubba

(Would you like to learn more? Well, since you are curious now, I’ll tell you…)

When I was probably in third grade or so, just about Y’s age, my Mom told me NOT to chew gum after brushing my teeth at night. Makes sense to me now, but at the time, I couldn’t get past the NO of it all. So, you know how this goes…I brush my teeth, I go to bed, I oh-so-secretly pop in a piece of grape Hubba Bubba bubble gum and proceed to enjoy its sugary yumminess, damn the consequences of cavities. I thought if I chewed quietly, no one would be the wiser.

The only problem is, you can smell grape flavored Hubba Bubba bubble gum at least a half mile away. I think the manufacturers did that on purpose to sell more gum, maybe.

I imagine my Mom saw the purple haze from my room just as she smelled it. She peeked her head into my doorway and simply said, “Are you chewing gum?”

Cue the drama and guilt and tears and shame and embarrassment and disappointment … and that was all me. I’m sure if I asked my Mom about it,  she might remember it differently. But this is how I have written this story and I remember this — Our conversation included these words:  “I just want to be able to trust you.”

Just the thought of someone not being able to trust me, much less my own Momma equaled utter devastation.

But come on. She was right. Duh. One shouldn’t chew massive amounts of artificial dyes and a million grams of sugar at night. The answer was always NO. As it should be.

Too many kids never hear NO. All they hear is YES. For whatever reason.

It is easier to say YES. It is more fun to say YES. It is more popular to say YES.

When, in our parenting heart of hearts, we know the right answer is NO.

Because there are things they shouldn’t do. There are places they shouldn’t go. There are things they shouldn’t see or hear.

This parenting gig is a tough one.

I may need to adjust my philosophy a little more: Eat Well. Play More. (Say NO more.) Choose Happy. It’s a work in progress. I could be wrong again.

I did end the evening with Y with very wise words that were once shared with me:

“There is nothing you can do that can make me love you less. There is nothing you can do that can make me love you more.”

Because I love you that much.

Even when I say NO.

(P.S. Not to worry, I got those parental controls updated tonight. Nothing like a little motivation from a 7 year old.)


10 responses to “Trust. — Just Say NO to Grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum.

  1. Jan says:

    I do remember that bubble gum episode and what I said. I also remember overacting like I always tended to do. Sorry about that…and all those other times. Parenting is tough.
    Being aware of what you are doing and saying IN THE MOMENT makes you a super great mom. Good story mommyverbs. 🙂

    • MommyVerbs says:

      I’ve said it before…I’ve learned from the best! I wouldn’t call it over reacting. It was a powerful lesson and one I didn’t forget. Sneaking and being dishonest is just wrong. Who knows where that could have led…it could have started with sneaking a piece of gum, then I would have been sneaking cigarettes and then sneaking out of the house. You made a big deal out of the stuff that was or could have turned in to a big deal. It was foundation work. Good work there, Jan. ❤

  2. sanstorm says:

    I am a very “say no” mum. But I balance that out with trust – in that I send them off to their own clubs and social things and try not to enquire too much about what they get up to. So… I’ll see how that turns out as a strategy…

  3. Felix says:

    I give her some (italic) credit for watching a show about medicine and what happens in the ER… She’s curious. It’s exciting. There can be powerful stories… That’s why adults watch. This wasn’t CSI Miami, or NYPD Blue… but how does a good parent balance the tv value of “science drama” with young, but smart, maturity?!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      I think you already named it Felix, (which is but one of the reasons why I love you.) Balance is the key. I’m with you and I want her to be able to learn about things she is interested in….but balanced with some guidance to help her process what she doesn’t understand right now. ❤

  4. […] Trust. — Just Say NO to Grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum. May […]

  5. 43fitness says:

    “There is nothing you can do that can make me love you less. There is nothing you can do that can make me love you more.” Love this quote – can I steal it? You are so lucky to have a fesser-upper. I’ve got a stubborn one who would not only deny chewing the gum, but would, despite her obvious grapiness, deny it with such confidence, fortitude and “you-don’t-believe-me tears”, that it would stun even the most evil mommy dearest.

  6. […] Grape Hubba Bubba Bubble Gum. First, that is just fun to say. Next, this is one of those life lessons we all need to learn: Don’t lie to your Momma because she can smell nonsense from across the room. Seriously, she can. All Mommas can. And it is good for all Mommas to set boundaries and say No more sometimes, too. […]

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