Mum’s viral post reminds us life’s too short to always say 'no'

 Photo: Facebook: Rachel Ann Carpenter

'No' tends to be the default answer when you're a mum. No, you can't watch more TV. No, you can't go to your friend's house after dinner. No, you can't stick your sister's shoe in the toaster (is that one just me?).

Saying no and being the 'bad guy' can be draining sometimes, but we tell ourselves it's to keep our children safe, and to make sure we're raising responsible, happy adults. But Rachel Carpenter wants us to rethink all those no's.

Rachel's 10-year-old daughter Nevaeh wanted to dye her hair pink before she went off to summer camp in the USA but Rachel said no. A few days later, at camp, Nevaeh was involved in an accident involving a campfire, and she suffered burns to 70 per cent of her body. Her family gathered around her hospital bed, not knowing whether she would live or die.

"It was three long months," Rachel told Scary Mommy. "She went through countless surgeries and a demanding recovery period."

So this year, when Nevaeh asked her mum if she could have pink hair, Rachel said yes. "Life is way too short to say NO all of the time," Rachel wrote in her Facebook post. "That experience taught me you never know how much time you have left, with anyone. So say yes more often."

"Navaeh is an amazing child," Rachel said. "She has been through more than any adult I know, that's saying a lot."

Rachel says Navaeh still struggles mentally with what happened, but that she is "still the most outgoing, silly, wild spirit that I know. I can say she has handled this way better than I would have."

I have let both of my daughters have pink hair. I put several semi-permanent rinses in my eldest daughter's hair when she was 10 – and received a fair few judgemental comments about it. She's in high school now, and school rules won't allow coloured hair, but she's looking forward to graduating so she can have some more fun with colour.


And my four-year-old daughter is a massive fan of pink hair chalk, which tends to hold in her hair for a couple of weeks. As far as I'm concerned, it's a bit of fun, and it has no bearing on the kind of person my girls will grow up to be – except that I hope they're comfortable expressing themselves and having some fun with their appearance.

My 6-year-old son is yet to show any interest but if he did, I'd be open to that too.

Rachel told Scary Mommy that even when our children are testing our patience and we're feeling stressed, it's important to hug them more, tell them we love them, and just say yes more often. "Life is so unexpected, tomorrow is not promised," she said. "Pick your battles and enjoy your children and let them live a little. You don't have to justify your parenting choices to anyone, as long as you have a happy, healthy child."