“Mom, you were the nicest mom today!” My little boy proclaimed this as he grinned from ear to ear, his wet clothes dripping puddles onto my kitchen floor.
What brought about this declaration of love? I had said yes to splashing in the creek behind our home. My three darlings squealed with delight when I gave my approval from the back gate, and they plunged feet first into the muddy water. Their laughter and fun could be heard throughout the neighborhood. Just because I said yes.
My children are not the type to sit still for very long. They are also not the type to keep their clothes clean. Or keep their shoes on outside. Or keep their feet on the ground (as was evidenced when my son got stuck on top of the playhouse!)
But after that day in the creek, I wondered if I had begun to say no to too many things. Life gets busy, and we have places to go on most days. So cleaning up the children several times a day is just another task on the to-do list that will make us late. Saying no to mud puddles and swimming in the creek and getting out the finger paints often becomes easier than letting them be kids for awhile.
It is so easy as moms to get caught up in keeping our house clean, getting the kids to extracurricular activities, and overall staying busy. In fact, we often have a sort of fear that if we stay home for too long, the children will destroy the house! Along the way, we become slaves to saying no, and we become uptight and quick to lose our temper.
I want to be set free from the no master. I want to be a mom who can say yes. I want to see that pure joy on my little boy’s face when he is allowed the simple pleasure of playing in the dirty creek.
I have noticed that the days I am most short-tempered with my children are the days when I have planned too many activities for us. In the rush of getting everyone together, with shoes on, out the door in a timely fashion, it is easy to feel my blood pressure rising and my temper shortening. But on the days when I keep our schedule simple, I find that my children are the happiest. They love the simplicity of being allowed to be kids.
My desire is to have a peaceful home. More than anything, I want my children to not see their home as a place we were always leaving but instead as a place where we enjoyed one another and spent our best moments together. They are only children for a little while, and I want them to have memories of a mom who said yes.
There are times when I have to say no. It is my responsibility as their mother to make sure that we say yes to the right things. But I think that a lot of the time, my no has more to do with selfishness than anything else. I don’t want to have to mop the floor. Again. Or wash the clothes. Again. Or clean up splattered paint. Again. But when I focus on myself, I take away a little bit of their joy. And that’s not the mom I want to be.
What about you? Do you find yourself saying no more than you say yes? Do you feel stressed out and frazzled all of the time? Take a look at your schedule. Do you have too many “things” planned for your kids? Are you saying no just because it is more convenient for you? Perhaps it’s time you said no to extracurriculars and yes to muddy feet and happy faces.
Try it out this week and let me know if your home becomes a happier place. Make this a week of yes!