Several months ago, I was inspired by an essay called "The Summer of Yes" from a blogger for Parents magazine.
So this is my new philosophy: say yes when it’s easier to say no. It’s these little things that I feel like can make me a better parent, even when I’m tired, even when I’d rather not deal. For example, this weekend, AM was begging me – at what should have been her bath time and after a very long afternoon in the park – to take her bike out while I walked Pedro (for those just tuning into the blog, that’s our 9 yr-old very entitled black lab/bloodhound mix). Now. It is such a ginormous pain in the butt to take her bike out with me while I walk a 100 pound dog who often bolts off at the scent of a french fry three blocks south, not to mention that I was tired after the day and didn’t want to deal with the hassle. BUT. I considered it, and thought, “Well, just say ‘yes,’ it’s only a few minutes of your life.” And I did. And she was SO delighted to be able to join us that it made it all worth it. She obliged with everything else for the rest of the night and planted a giant smacker on me at bedtime. SO WORTH IT.
I think about this author's philosophy when I am tired and T says "Chase you Mama" and he looks at me with that little face of his, anticipating a fun chase around the table. Instead of saying, "No chase, honey," I make it a point to say "OK!" instead, as much as I can. My sister told me this once about Disney World: it's expensive, it's exhausting, and it probably would not be her first choice for a vacation spot. But seeing the look on her daughters' faces with every Mickey spotting or ride on "It's a Small World After All" makes it more than worth it. I picture my sister's face light up just telling about it.
Of course, there are times that you must tell your children no, and those are for their own safety or to keep them from believing that every whim will be granted to them. That's not what this is about. This is about saying yes when your friend with another toddler calls you shortly before bedtime and asks to meet for ice cream across the street. Yes! We'd love to. It's about playing trucks with him on the floor instead of watching the movie I wanted to see. Yes! It's about giving him some Goldfish crackers because he loves them so much. Yes! It's about giving up the Today show in favor of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse because T loves to dance to the theme song. Yes! Every day yes.
It's my goal to unplug, be offline, and be present when I'm with my son. With all of the distractions in the world today (read my favorite blogger HandsfreeMama on this topic), it's more important than ever to choose wisely. He's only going to be little for a short time, and I want him to remember Mama and Daddy engaging in activities with him and not checking the phone for social media updates. Being the type A personality I am, I have to safeguard my time and ensure that I am not overcommitting myself for activities away from my family. In the long run, they matter most.