I want to say yes more.
Yes to pitchers of lemonade.
Yes to one more lap around the neighborhood on bikes.
Yes to popcorn for dinner.
Yes to bowls of water carried outside for toy “car washes”
Yes to digging in the mud with my wooden cooking spoons.
Yes to little hands flipping the pancakes.
Yes to jumping on the trampoline for “ten more minutes.”
Yes to jumping on the trampoline WITH you.
Yes to “just one more” book read aloud.
Yes to staying up “just a little bit longer.”
Yes to the jar for collecting worms.
Yes to stopping for ice cream.
Yes to tables covered in brushes, paint, and masterpieces.
Yes to putting on swim suits and turning on the hose.
Yes to crumbly, gets everywhere Play Doh.
Yes to those alluring Rolos in the check-out line.
Yes to binge watching the Brady Bunch.
Yes to blanket forts.
Yes to playing outside long after bedtime.
Yes to the cousin sleepover.
Yes to decorating the table with flowers picked out of my flower pots.
Yes to looking into little eyes and listening to “just one more thing.”
Yes. Yes to being more intentional about finding things to say yes to.
This momma has found lots of reasons to say no far too often. Too much to do. Too distracted. Too much to manage. Too tired. Too messy. Too unhealthy. Too unsafe. Too hard. Too risky. Too time consuming. Or, I’m too grumpy.
I have four young kids. I am crossing very few things off my to do list beyond meals, laundry, and homework. I am not in the get ahead stage in my parenting life. I’m just squeaking by and trying to make it to bedtime without too many tears or too many household items destroyed. I know the season that I’m in, yet I still make an idol of order. I still expect so much productivity that I miss yes moments. Moments that would bring joy, but are avoided because I fear the chaos and dread taking off my “manager of all things” badge.
It doesn’t feel like I have margin for more yeses. It’s much easier to manage and control my kids with lots of nos. Because I am still tired, still have too much to do, and still can be on the grumpy side, sometimes saying yes is a stretch. But I still think there is more room for saying, “Yes, kids. Why not?”
They’ll always be nos. Moms of little curious boys can’t possibly not say no and moms of creative girls have to set limits. And I’m still that momma who places high value on creative, outdoor play, minimal screen time, respectful behavior, and healthy eating. But I’m planning to say yes more. Not all the time, just more.
I want to think through what I’m saying no to. I want to embrace the “picking my battles” mentality. Is it really a big deal if my six year old sits on the arm of the chair? Really impossible to wipe up the table after little Monets beg to paint? Really that damaging to add sprinkles to scoops of ice cream? There have been too many nos.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been actively looking for yeses. It requires brief releases of my grip on order, my task list, and our schedule. The results? More smiles. More belly laughs. Theirs and mine. Fun mom shows up more often and my kids learn lessons about surrendering to the moment.
I have this window of time with my kids. This crazy gift of days lived with creative, silly, adventure loving little people. This life is bursting at the seams with moments that I can miss or seize.
More yeses, fewer nos. It’s as simple as that. No twelve step plan, just intention.
“Whenever possible say yes. They are only kids once!” -Marjorie Pay Hinckley