Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Creating small moments

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.


Mommy, Esq. said...

Wonderful post. I'll file it away for when my kids start talking/asking for activities. I do try not to rush in the AM but bedtime is always a scramble because Husband and I are so beat. I think at the age of my kids currently routine/schedule is most important and we can introduce spontaneity a little later on. They'll have to get used to spontenaity since my job is very feast or famine (currently in a "feast" period so not seeing much of the kids).

Joanna said...

I easily fall into this trap. I'm so used to planning everything, making everything efficient, making the most out of the little time that I have that I forget that sometimes those things don't really matter.

HeatherV said...

Loved Sarah's post. Something to think about as I spend my work life much like my life with preschooler saying NO to someone.

One of the many things I am working on is "just letting it happen." without micromanaging or feeling guilty. If a student doesn't make up work and takes a zero, they made the choice.

For Ben I am working on building confidence with the small things. Last night it was holding the dog leash as we walked then helping make his own dinner.

As summer comes I really hope we can use the time to be spontaneous. While a challege for me, I think it would pay dividends for our family happiness and the larger accomplishment of building up confidence in Ben.

Susan said...

Love this post. If we could record what we say all day to our kids....I think we would be surprised. This goes with raising teens too.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I am so glad that it is working for you too! It is impossible to do every day, but I try to still say yes more often and it makes a huge difference.

Thank you for your kind words.

Megan said...

Great post! Great ideas! I am guilty of the "hold on" comment because toddlers want things instantly. NOW! And learning patience is actually a good discipline. But saying it all of the time is trying too. Having kids is one big excuse to be a kid (sometimes) and just going with the flow! Love this!

Bren said...

What a great post! It's so hard to take that moment sometimes when everyone is so tired from the day or so rushed. It is definitely something I will think to do more often and really let Maggie experience things more! When the YES makes their faces light up and they are filled with joy - no upset schedule really matters does it?

Quadmama said...

I've had to remind myself to say "yes" more often, too. It's the small things that make a difference. I realized it one night when I came home from work and had a zillion things to do. Maddy asked if she could sit on my lap. I told her to wait a minute... then I turned back around, picked her up and plunked down on the couch. We spent a long time snuggling and it was delightful. She won't want to snuggle much longer... none of them will and I don't want to miss out.

Julie said...

Its the small moments that are the most cherished! Your picnic sounded like so much fun.

I love that you got this idea from another blogger. When people ask me why I blog, this is exactly it--we get great ideas from one another, things we can actually use!

Wendy Willis said...

I'm enjoying your blog Laura; thanks for introducing me to it. Love this reminder, but will definitely have to write it down and keep by my bed to keep it fresh. I will give it my best shot in a few minutes when picking up my 4 y.o.

Becky said...

Great post! I try and do this. I always tell myself that they are only this age once and I can't get it back however schedules can sometimes get in the way and it is always nice to have a reminder.

I think as a parent of twins it is hard to break the "routine" because it is what saves you in the beginning. I guess it is all about balance.

Erin said...

Love this post!

It made me think of one I posted about this time last year. I looked it up....and you had commented that it was your favorite post of mine EVER! Great minds think alike :)

Here's the link:

Funny how we "learn" these lessons as Mommies over and over and constantly need to be reminded that the small things really are BIG!

Thanks for this today, I'm going to say "YES" all day!

Goddess in Progress said...

I've also had that post of Sarah's in my head. I think, when you have multiples and therefore probably have a stricter schedule/routine than many other people might, it's easy to get too rigid. And rigidity leads to a lot of NO. I've been trying to say fewer "no" "not right now" "hold on", and more "yes." It's a work in progress, of course, but a good one.

Shawn said...

I love nights like that!! Of course, we say yes too much, which is why I'm ALWAYS late for work. : ) Everything in moderation. lol

Except candy. I draw the line at too much candy ... and TV. : )

Carrie77 said...

Great post and I agree, I need to say yes more.

Helene said...

This is such a wonderful post! And it really made me think....I, too, am guilty of saying no an awful lot for the reasons that I don't want us to be late getting somewhere, or I don't want to have a huge mess to clean up or I don't want to be bothered with something the kids want to do.

You make such a good point and I really need to incorporate the word yes into my daily vocabulary. I'm probably missing out on so many wonderful opportunities with my kids by saying no all the time!

Sandra said...

Okay so now I'm ready to say YES, not sure to what, my husband is gone, don't have any kids . . . I could say yes to my dogs but they may not understand . . . I will say YES to myself!!
I totally agree about the empowering impact that kind of thinking and mindset can have!!