Mommy Downer

Am I the only Mommy who knows she’s a total buzzkill?

Hide-and-seek under the new curtains? We don’t do that, Alex. Bust a move in the bathtub? We don’t do that, Alex. Yank the tail of the unsuspecting family cat with anger management issues? We don’t do that, Alex.

Boy, oh boy, do I wish I could say the word “NO!” But we don’t do that.

It’s hard being Mommy Downer with a “no” handicap.

Alex understood the word “no” early on. He listened at first, and I always praised him for not biting an electrical cord, shattering our flat-screen, or yanking my earring through my flesh. But then he adopted this little sh*t eating grin especially reserved for “no” occasions. He’d make eye contact, smirk defiantly, and ignore me altogether. “No” for him was like a gym membership for me–easy to overlook.

So, I consulted my Mommy Mavens, read several Internet articles, dusted off some baby books…and decided to eliminate the word “no.” Was it easy to do? No, no, no, no, no. Like an addict, I’ve relapsed quite a bit. Mostly, I substitute we don’t do that for “no”, and explain why we don’t do that, but it’s a constant challenge. It’s like choosing a frozen Lean Cuisine pizza over a fresh Neapolitan pizza over and over and over again. Sure, we don’t do that provides the substance needed, but it’s not nearly as satisfying as “no.”

Reasoning with a toddler, showing him empathy, and delivering the “no” message in a we don’t do that sort of way is the route to take, I am told. A “no” free zone–except for extreme emergencies–ensures the word carries weight when it’s needed, and helps protect Mommies from toddlers who adopt “no” as their favorite word. Am I right about this one? I’d welcome a “no” if it means I could start saying it again!

Here’s one dish you will not want to say “no” to: Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. They’re incredibly healthy–stuffed with protein-packed quinoa and a medley of fresh vegetables–and hearty enough for a meal. Both of my boys loved them. Yes!

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

4 large red or green peppers (I prefer red)

1 zucchini, grated

1 package pre-sliced mushrooms, chopped

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes with basil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 palmful of Parmesan cheese

About 2 cups shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese


Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Steam hollowed out peppers in salted water until soft (but not overcooked!), and set aside.

Coat a large saute pan with EVOO, and cook onion, garlic, mushrooms, and zucchini until vegetables soften and onion turns translucent–about 10 minutes. Add Italian seasoning and a little more than half the can of tomatoes. Fold in quinoa. Toss in a hearty handful of Parmesan, and season generously with salt and pepper.

Cover the bottom of a baking pan with some of the remaining crushed tomatoes, and thin it out with some water. Line peppers up and fill them with the vegetable/quinoa mixture. Drizzle the top with more crushed tomatoes, and bake until almost done–about 45 minutes. Take them out of the oven, cover the tops with mozzarella and cheddar cheese, and return to the oven until melted. Serve immediately.

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10 Responses to Mommy Downer

  1. Kelly says:

    I used a different approach rather than “No”…I think I read babycenter about disciplining and different phrases that work a bit better such as “That’s not a good idea” or “You need to stop!” Then after the backlash and bursts of crying fits I had to later try to explain why, easier said than done in the early toddler years! I find myself ALOT lately saying, “Are your ears broken Brady? Do we need to have the doctor look at them because you’re not listening!” Not sure if that’s the greatest phrase but seems to get the job done for the moment until he laughs at me and calls me coo coo and struts off his merry way to play with his cars! Just wait! 🙂

    • Mommy Dish says:

      “Are your ears broken?” Pure brilliance. Seriously!

      I read the same article…hence the we don’t do that over “no”. I still miss “no” even though I know it’s a no-no.

      I am sure it’s going to get worse before it gets better! Just make sure you keep giving me much-needed advice!

  2. Lisa says:

    I don’t say no either, and it’s so hard to retrain yourself not to say it!! Even though it’s annoying I do think it’s best to not say no. My kids can learn the evil word from someone else!!

    • Mommy Dish says:

      Glad someone else is rocking the “no” boat with me. I hope I am rewarded with a toddler who doesn’t scream “no!” every other second. Only time will tell!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Just remember – you probably heard the word “no” a million times when you were a toddler, too. And you turned out just fine! It’s the job of the parent to keep the children safe, and telling them “no” is one of the ways we do it. If you find that you can’t stop saying “no”, maybe try altering your tone of voice to indicate the level of danger. But in general, “no” is one of the first words kids learn to say and one of the last words they choose to understand!! 🙂

    • Mommy Dish says:

      Great advice…different “no” tones. So maybe me dropping the “no” bombs once in awhile isn’t so bad.

      I also appreciate you saying I turned out alright despite my mom’s many “no’s”…Personally, I think that’s debatable. : )

      • Jennifer says:

        LOL. One other thought (yes, I’ve been thinking about this!) is to say “no thank you” for the smaller issues and use “no” with a loud, beaming voice for the “running into the street while dodging cars” type of situations!

        • Mommy Dish says:

          No thank you rolls off the tongue easier than we don’t do that! I might try it. And a booming NO for other situations is just ingrained. Good tips, Jen!

  4. Cheryl M. says:

    Thanks for the reminder about using “no”! I read all that stuff when my now 5yo was a toddler, but have completely forgotten most of it!

    I’m also thinking this post has the word “no” in it more than any post I’ve ever seen! I wonder if it will show up in Google if someone starts typing something and gets lazy…;-)

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