The Stay Awake Challenge: Week 8

Week 8 is about saying yes. Read the entire post here.

It sure seems like I say “no” an awful lot these days. That probably has to do with the fact that I have an 18-month old who is both insatiably curious about everything around him and a tad aggressive when playing with others. (In his defense, he does have 2 older brothers, so maybe he learned aggression in order to protect himself?) In any case, it seems as though I am constantly saying “no.” It’s wearying.

I would like to say “yes” more. In fact, I would really like it if my kids would just get along with each other all the time, behave like perfect angels, and never do anything they know they shouldn’t, so then I wouldn’t have to say “no.” But that ain’t never gonna happen, so “no” will remain an oft-used and necessary word in my vocabulary! I think most good parents live in the tension of wanting to say “yes” more often, while at the same time recognizing that rules and boundaries (a.k.a. “no’s”) are good for kids and also an expression of our love (although they may not interpret it as such at the time). We want to allow our kids a certain amount of freedom and the ability to make their own choices, without being lax and permissive. Striking that balance is what is so, so difficult.

And then there are the times when I could say “yes,” but don’t because — well, because I’m lazy. I say “no” because I don’t want to be inconvenienced. I don’t want to deal with clean-up, so I say “no” to getting out the play-do or the craft supplies. I don’t want to get myself and 3 kids ready to go out the door, so I say “no” to going to the park. I’m busy with some project of my own, so I say “no” to playing a game. These are the kinds of things I need to say “yes” to more often.

Trying to be more of a “yes mom” is one of my survival strategies for coping with my seasons of single parenting. It really does make things go so much more smoothly. Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on my kids and their needs and wants. I’m not just saying “no” automatically or because it’s the easy thing to do.

The picture I chose for this post is one I took of Alex and Rusty playing some Mario Kart a week ago Friday. It was the morning after Rusty had come home after being gone for a week. Normally, since Friday is a homeschool day, screen time would not be allowed until after he finishes all his school work. But on this morning, he asked so sweetly if he and Stephen could play Mario Kart with Daddy after breakfast, and I said “yes.”

And I was glad I did because I captured this sweet picture while they were playing!

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One thought on “The Stay Awake Challenge: Week 8

  1. I am also struggling with that balance. It is SO hard, especially since Jeff and I often have different ways of striking that balance. I wonder if I am too lax/permissive, and Kate knows that she can get away with more with me? Or am I giving her an appropriate amount freedom to learn to make decisions and explore her world? Thanks again for putting words to something that I haven’t been able to express in words.

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