How many times do we say no to our kids? I know for me it’s at least a million times a week.
“No, you cannot have a cookie for breakfast.”
“No, you cannot jump off the 5thstep of the stairs.”
“No, we are not having mac n cheese for dinner again.”
And on and on it goes. Breaking up fights, telling them it’s too cold for shorts and crocs, telling them crocs and socks are not acceptable fashion wear. But how often do I say no to the inconsequential things? The things that won’t really make a difference…
“No, you cannot have a banana instead of an apple.”
“No, we are not listening to that song again.”
“No, I cannot roll your window down.”
Since when did I become the mom of the constant no? Isn’t that something I hated growing up?
“No, you can’t wear that.”
“No, you can’t be a cheerleader.”
“No, you can’t go over to her house.”
And every time I thought there was something wrong with me when I would ask these seemingly mundane questions only to get “no” a response. Now, don’t get me wrong, I fully believe there is a time and place for “no” – especially when you have a firery almost threenager who is socially and developmentally advanced. The child who I enrolled in gymnastics so she wouldn’t kill herself. Or my six year old who is obsessed with playing math games on my ipad… There is definitely a time and place for no… but I’ve committed in my heart to start saying no to the right things…
“No, you can’t play on the ipad any more.”
“No, we’re not going to watch any more spiderman today.”
“No, we’re not going to stay up late on a school night.”
“No, you cannot have 5 cookies for dinner.” (okay, maybe that one is for me)
Because these are things that are shaping and molding what is impacting their brains or their nutrition. Rolling the window down, turning on their favorite song or giving them a different fruit isn’t going to harm them… unless it’s hailing or they want a whole pineapple.
Recently I started following Jennifer Garner on Instagram, and she started instituting a “Yes Day!” with her kids a few years ago. Once a year, anything goes… she throws her schedule out the window and just plans to say “yes” to her kids every request… every. single. one. for a single day.
So this inspired me. What if I don’t just institute a “Yes Day!” but I just start saying yes more? Because even though it may be inconvenient or not my choice of music, they’ll only be riding in my car for a flick of my lifetime, and then they’ll be gone. I’ll only get to cook them dinner for so long, and then they’ll be making it themselves, in their own house, for their own family.
I believe that these are the years when I forge the memory they have of me into their mind, so that when the hard years come in middle and high school they know we can go grab some ice cream and talk about it. These are the years where I make that stamp in their lives that I’m the patient mom, the mom that loves to cuddle, the dance in the living room, chase them with lightsabers, eat pizza in the living room mom. Because I know in my own life – I remembered the “no’s” a lot more than the “yes’” and maybe that’s something I can change for my own kids.
So here’s to more messes, more windows down, more loud music, and more memories. If you’re interested in checking out the “Yes Day!” book, click on the link below. I promise you won’t regret it.
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