Parenting

Ann Compton On the Art of Saying No

The White House correspondent on how paring down her schedule made parenting easier.
Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph by Kip Dawkins. Photograph courtesy of Grooming Lounge. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Shutterstock. Illustration by Ted Slampyak. Kelly Rogers Hale in the water teaching her swim-float-swim technique devoid of flotation devices. Photograph by Kelly Rogers Hale. Andre, Lily, David, Jasmine, Charles, and Lucas in the family room of their Glover Park home. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph By Blend Images/Alamy. Photograph via Shutterstock. Illustration by Ted Slampyak. Photograph by Shutterstock. Photograph by Kate Warren. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Image Source/Getty Images. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Rick Gomez/Corbis. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph by Cultura/Getty Images. Image via Shutterstock. Photograph via Shutterstock. Photograph of Lesli Foster by Sarah Kaupp Photography. Photograph of Jessica Silverman by Stephanie Snapkopski. Photograph of Compton by Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images.

“When our four kids were young, in grade school and dizzy with activities, I used to feel as though I was skiing out of control. I was making it down the steep, icy slope of life each day, but at dangerous speeds, and with much of the joy of raising kids overwhelmed by the clock.

Then I learned the joy of saying ‘no.’

No, we cannot make it to that lovely embassy dinner, or the Opera Ball; no, the laundry can wait until Monday; no, thanks, I cannot speak at your convention in New Orleans, I just want to be home with my kids that weekend; no to other fun things we would otherwise like to do; no to commitments we would have dreaded.

Every ‘no’ was a breath of fresh air.

My energy increased; we laughed and played and enjoyed the hours of the day so much more. Just as many of us now get a sugar high from de-cluttering a big closet or the playroom toy shelves, I felt the same thrill of victory every week that I pared down our schedules to what really, in the end, mattered most.”

– Ann Compton, White House correspondent. Mom to: Bill, 34; Ted, 33; Annie, 31; Michael, 29.

Don’t miss a new restaurant again. Subscribe to our weekly newsletters.

More:
Questions or comments? You can reach us on Twitter, via e-mail, or by contacting the author directly: