About a month ago, I read this beautiful post on Sarah and the Goon Squad about saying yes to your kids more often. With two full-time working parents (one of whom travels frequently) and two kids, it seems like we are often rushing through our days. The morning scramble is strict: get up, pick out clothes, eat breakfast, change clothes, sunscreen, out the door in just under 60 minutes. The nighttime routine is strict: wash hands, eat dinner, clean up, play, bath, bed.
There is so much NO in our house: from me, from Jon, from the kids.
I can not stop thinking about that post. I can not stop thinking about how I can incorporate YES into my day without feeling resentment about the lost time.
I've been working on this in small ways. One night last week when Jon was traveling, I took the kids to the shoe store. When we left, the boys were getting cranky so I thought about how I could say YES to life. I grabbed McD's (I never do fast food when Jon is gone which is DUMB, I know!) and told them we were going on a picnic.
We drove to downtown Cary, sat on a bench in front of city hall facing the train tracks, and had a picnic. And I was very much surprised to learn that about a million buses go in and out of the Cary train station. And I was so very glad I said YES because Nate and Alex were in little boy heaven. Mommy, another blue bus! Mommy, let's go see it!
I said YES again. We walked to the train station and watched people pour on and off the buses. Nate wanted a train schedule and I said yes. They wanted to walk to the library and I said yes. Along the way, they saw some dogs and said they wanted a dog. I said yes they could have a dog, and Nate pulled an imaginary puppy out of his shirt pocket. This was the first imaginary friend we've had in the house. After picking out books at the library, they didn't fight me when I said we had to go back to our car and go home.
It was one of the nicest nights I've had with the boys, and I have that wonderful post to thank.
Since then, I've found myself saying yes more often. Last night we took Jon to the airport and saw a baby deer in the grass in front of a business. On the way home, I stopped the car so we could all sit and watch the deer. This morning, I let us run late because there was a mom and baby rabbit in our backyard. They get so excited every time they see this duo back there. And when we got to school this morning, the first thing they told their teacher was there was a Mommy Bunny, a Nate Bunny, and an Alex Bunny in the backyard chasing each other.
What I've learned is by saying YES to my kids, I am also saying YES to myself. What I've learned is that by creating these moments for my kids, I am creating moments for myself. I thought I would doing this for them, but I've gotten so much out of it for me.
Try it. Say yes today.