There is a quote that I find myself coming back to time and time again. It isn’t a revolutionary quote, a motivational quote or anything profound, so why do I keep coming back to it? I wish I knew because maybe then I could stop quoting it. It is the quote most of us heard in our childhood and possibly you have been caught uttering it yourself. Following in my mother’s footsteps my favorite quote seems to be…”Because I said so!”
So many times I swore I would never say those words. When I had a child I would explain to them why they should or should not do something. I would listen, negotiate and reason with my kids. No way was I going to be a dictator that just demanded something from my kids.
Yet here I am with three kids and a long history of repeating my mother’s favorite quote “because I said so!”
“Alex don’t sit on your brother”
“Because I said so!”
“Josh don’t put that up your nose”
“Because I said so!”
I know there are better explanation for why not to engage in these activities such as “ because you will hurt him and if you don’t understand that you will probably end up in jail someday for being a violent sociopath” or “because it won’t come out and you will look like an idiot walking around with an eraser stuck in your nose.”
Some may say it is lazy parenting, taking the easy way out. I used to say that but too but really it’s just plain survival. If I answered of every why question my children asked I would become stuck in a never-ending cycle of questions much like being stuck on a spinning merry-go-round holding on for dear life while trying not to lose my lunch.
“Don’t eat the dog’s food”
“Because you will get a tummy ache.”
“Because the food is made for dog’s tummies not little boy’s tummies.”
“Because doggies need special food to make them grow up to big and strong.”
“Because doggies bodies are not like people’s bodies”
“Because that is the way God made them.”
“I don’t know maybe he had a bad day with a pain in the neck little kid who wouldn’t stop asking him why!”
So you see quoting my mother with “Because I said so” was actually a gentler approach to child rearing than I could have taken.
I can’t say that I am moved by this quote but I can say that it has kept me sane. It has probably helped my children develop a much higher self-esteem. I can’t imagine how scarred they would have been if I had actually said what I thought rather than using my go to quote of “Because I said so.”
Let’s be honest it could be much worse I could have chosen one of my mother’s other favorite lines such as “just wait until your father gets home”, or “your face will freeze that way.” Really mom, dad never did anything when he came home and at six I thought it would be kind of cool if my face froze into one of those crazy faces I made.