Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the yes mom

Last week I stumbled upon this essay.  I have read and reread it, knowing that it held an answer to make me a better mother.

I say "no" way too much. 

My negative responses come for much the same reasons that she listed in her essay.  "Yes" means mess.  It means work.  "Yes" means effort.  Some days it seems like there's just not enough of me to say "yes". 

So what do I do?  I say "no".  In fact, in the days surrounding my discovery, I was somewhat shocked to realize how much I really do say "no".  It's almost like I find it coming out of my mouth before my kiddos even finish their request.

"Mom, can we pai. . .?"  "No."

"Mom, can I have a . . ?"  "No, not today." 

Yikes!  I really am a fun-hater, aren't I? 

So.  I'm trying to turn over a new leaf, and I'm posting it right here for all (ie: the whole 3 people who actually read this blog) to see in hopes that it will actually become more cemented in my mind.  I'm going to try to become more of a yes mom.  After all, isn't this whole gig about a little mess?  A bit of effort?  A truck-load of work? 

I'm thinking that's what I'm here for, my friends.  In fact, as I recall, no one ever mentioned anything about a 5-star resort vacation when I signed up for motherhood.  However, every so often I notice something about this job.  When I put a little bit of extra effort into my days- perhaps set aside a moment or two for laughter with the rascals- I have a lot more fun!  I'm thinking there must be some connection:  Kids having fun= mom having fun.  Hmmmmm.

Yesterday I gave it a good go.  When Emmy asked if I would color a page from her Tinkerbell book with her, I said "Yes!"  After reading a book to Claire, I stayed in the rocking chair and we had a tickle fest for a good five minutes.  Fun!  When Emmy wanted me to get the costume box down from the garage (a definite "no" request two days ago), I obliged.  What's more?  When the costumes found themselves all over the house, I refrained from nagging to pick up the mess so long as they were still playing with them.  Best of all, last night at dinner when Ryenne was telling us a funny story, I found myself relaxed and hanging on her every word, genuinely enjoying her tale.  So often, I listen with one half of my brain while the other thinks ahead to what we need to get done in order to move our night along at the proper pace.  Last night, I listened with everything I had.  I was present, I laughed with my family, and I loved every second of it.

A little progress, eh? 

As I have pondered on the changes I would like to make in myself, I was reminded of a statement I once read.  When asked about her parenting philosophy, Marjorie Hinckley once responded that she "Tried to never say 'no' if she could possibly say 'yes'," and encouraged mothers to "Have joy in your mothering". 

I guess I never realized that the two pieces of advice went hand in hand. 

So, there it is.  I'm going to try to say "yes" a little bit more.  I hope to at least slow down, listen to what my children are asking, and give a good try to making it work if at all possible.  I did talk to them last night about my new goal, explaining to them that I wanted to say "yes" more often.  Then, we had a little chat- deciding in the end that if I am going to say "yes", then they also have a responsibility to say "yes" too!  If we decide it's okay to do something crazy like getting out the Halloween costumes, then when they are asked to clean up they will need to obey without complaining.  If we make a quick detour to the park, I'll be more encouraged to do it again if I know the girls will come when I ask. 

We'll see how it goes, I guess.  For now, I have a lot to work on.  I need to lengthen my stride, I suppose.  Stand a little taller, dig a little deeper, and listen with both sides of my brain.  I hope to laugh more, smile often, and have fewer regrets. 

Have joy in your mothering. 

Pretty good mantra, eh?  


Darcie said...

great post and advice kelly, i'm excited to read the whole article. i'm actually pretty good at saying yes, and i wish it was because i'm naturally super fun and good at basking in motherhood, but the real reason is that i absolutely can't handle the whining that follows "no." so i put up with the mess later to save myself some whining now... so noble of me. :)

Sam and Kathryn Rose said...

This is great advice.....I wish I would have learn it has a young mother.....I will have to try it more with Sadie.....I love you blog and the fun things that you write about....And believe me you are a GREAT mother.....

D'Lonna said...

There is a book called Yes Day by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Basically, once a year this little boy's parents give him a day of all yeses.

My mom, the brave woman that she is, did a "yes" day with my four boys. They had SO much fun and still talk about it. Good cereal, movie at the theater, video games, pizza for dinner, what more could a kid ask for.