When your children ask you a question is your first response more likely to be yes, or no? For many years my first response was always no.
“No- you cannot have a snack, no – you cannot paint, no – you cannot play outside, no – you cannot get out such and such toy…”
A few years ago I read an article about saying yes to your kids more often than you say no. The article made me realize that sometimes when I said no it was because of my own desires, selfishness, or laziness.
I am not talking about saying no to playing with matches or riding their bikes across the interstate. These were little things they wanted to do, that might have inconvenienced me, just a tiny bit.
The more I thought about it, the more I wanted my no’s to be about big things, so that my children understood that my no’s were a big deal.
Sometimes, we say no to our children with such frequency, that they stop asking, or even worse don’t take our no’s seriously.
I wish I could say that after reading the article, I immediately began saying yes more often to my children, but that would be untrue. I struggled with putting their wants above my wants.
Instead of saying no I would say; maybe, in a minute, perhaps in a while, or let me think about it. Then one day my young son responded to my “in a minute” by looking at his older brother and saying, “you know what that means….. no!”
I realized I hadn’t changed my ways at all, I just changed my method.
I still am not the yes mom that I would like to be, but I say yes a whole lot more.
- I am more open to painting projects, crafts, baking, science experiments, and play-do.
- I am more willing to stop what I’m doing and watch a puppet show or read someone a book.
- I have learned to draw princesses and fairies and can color a mean picture.
- I have even put aside my fears and helped catch bugs, lizards, frogs, and other critters my boys find fascinating.
I might never have a love for all things green and slimy as they do, but my interest lies in them and what makes them happy.
Today, when your little one asks you a question and you are tempted to say no, say yes. Your children will be pleasantly surprised.
I’ve seen wonderful changes in my family since I started saying yes more than I said no.
As I mentioned before, I did not become a “yes mom” overnight. Being a yes mom is a lifestyle, and it takes time. But it is worth it. Being a yes mom is freedom, creativity, and abundance.
But it is also hard.
Here are 10 practical ways you can start becoming a Yes Mom.
Schedule in fluff time- stop being so busy.
Allow time to say yes. When you are overwhelmed with activities, projects, appointments, and life in general it is easy to say no and almost impossible to say yes. Build in fluff time to your schedule so you can say yes to your kids.
Get control of your home. An organize home makes it easier to say yes.
When my home is out of control I’m a “no mom.” I can’t handle one more mess, one more “disruption,” or sacrifice any of my time.
When my home is in order I’m able to say yes to my kids because I’m not running around just trying to keep my head above water.
A routine makes it easier to say yes.
Just like an organized home makes it easier to say yes, so does a routine. When my kids have completed their school work and finished their chores I’m able to say yes to all sorts of things.
These things are more easily accomplished when we have a routine.
It’s okay to say yes- but later.
Being a yes mom doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, every time. It means saying yes to things that are the best for our children. I often get questions such as:
- Can I have a bowl of chips? Yes, after you finish your lunch.
- Can I play a game on the computer? Absolutely, after you finish your chores.
- Can I go play basketball with my friends? Yes, as soon as you turn in your school work.
- Can so-and-so spend the night? Yes, as soon as your room is clean.
My kids know I want to say yes to them, but they know that they have responsibilities too. They know if they complete their responsibilities I will most likely going to say yes to their questions. This has transformed our family.
When you say no for no reason kids are deflated, unmotivated, and stop asking.
Say yes to something different.
8am: Mom, can we build a giant fire in the back yard, roast marshmallows, and sit outside and do our school? (true story)
My response: I would love it if you gathered sticks for a fire, found the bag of marshmallows, and worked on your school (outside) so that when daddy comes home we can have a bonfire.
You don’t have to say yes to everything. My kids have some crazy ideas, and sometimes they aren’t the safest ideas! I try to find something in their request I can say yes to, and guide them in a better direction. Remember you aren’t saying yes to everything, just the best things.
If you need activities for your kids check out the Mom I’m Bored Jar.
Be prepared to say yes.
I want to be able to say yes when I can, so I try to set myself up for success. Keep a bag in the car or stroller of snacks, juice boxes, bathing suits, towels, sunscreen, etc so you can say yes.
Plan for spontaneity. I’m more likely to stop off at the park after a long morning of errands if I have snacks in the car.
I don’t want to feed my kids fast food all the time, so I know that hungry kids will force me to say no. If I have a box of crackers, fruit snacks, or granola bars in the car I can say yes and be a fun mom.
You initiate the activity.
When your kids are little what they really want is you. (Big kids want their parents around too- especially if you start when they are little)
They want more of your time, attention, and influence. If your kids ask for outrageous things (like my kids) take the first step and initiate the activity.
I’ve never had a child turn down the opportunity to play a game, read a book, build with legos, play play-doh, or have a tea party with me.
Get your attitude in the right place.
Why are you a “no mom?”
For me it came down to priorities. I didn’t want to deal with the mess, inconvenience, or time it took to say yes. When I examined my heart I realized that my attitude was out of whack.
If I say that my priorities are my family, then I need to live it. I work from home and I have to get work done during the day. That means sometimesI have to say no to my children when I’m on a conference call, creating presentations, or responding to emails.
But, when my priorities get turned upside down and all my activities come first, I’m not living right.
I use to say no because I simply didn’t have time to say yes. Then I realized that when I say yes to my kids I’m so much more productive.
My children’s hearts are filled and when I need work time they understand that work does not come before them. If you believe it you have to live it.
Now is a great time to get started.
Being a yes mom is hard. I didn’t become one overnight. It has taken me over FIVE years to make these changes in my life. I hope you learn faster than I did, because it really can transform your family.
Currently most of us have lighter schedules. Extra-curricular activities have come to a screeching halt. Use your time wisely to start making changes that will help you say yes more.
Remember mess is temporary, memories are forever.
My friend Heidi says we’re on the diapers to diploma’s track, which means I had a child in diapers and a child graduating in the same year. One of the benefits of having young and old children is that you realize how precious the time is.
When I had two children, hadn’t slept in two years, and was up to my eyeballs in poop and spit-up I just wanted to survive. There was no thriving going on in my life. I spent my days trying to avoid mess at all costs!
Now I have three children who have moved out, two who are married and three beautiful granddaughters.
There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look at younger kids and think, it seems like just yesterday I was peeling the skin off the apples for her big sister, pushing her on the swing, and answering all those “why” questions.
I know every older mom says this, but we say it because it is true.
Time goes so fast, enjoy these moments with your kids!
I wish I would have invested more in memories when my older kids were younger. I love a clean and organized house. I tremble at words like paper mache, play-doh, and glitter. I don’t like dirt (especially on my floors), bugs, or science experiments. God made me this way!
But I love my kids.
In order for my kids to grow, develop, and learn what God has for them (not me!) I have to let them be a little messy, create, and thrive. I need to say yes.
And sometimes it is hard.
But it is worth it. Being a yes mom has transformed my family, from youngest to my oldest. My husband says yes more, my kids say yes to each other more. We have more fun, we learn more, and we are happier.
It’s crazy that saying yes could make such an impact. But it does.
So try it. Be a yes mom.