Monday, March 19, 2012
Something that I've always struggled with is whether or not I can be a "Yes!" mom. I'm not. Somedays I really want to be, but not every day. And some days it's just not practical.
You know what a "Yes!" mom is...she's the one who never tells her kids no. Ever. Some of these moms are afraid to tell their kids no because they don't know how their kid will react. But she may be that way because she truly believes it encourages confidence in her kids, it encourages them to share their new ideas, to discover and explore, to think creatively, to learn and grow. And I agree, it can do all of those things. But I have also seen many occasions where it teaches the kids that they are equals, they can talk back, they can disrespect, they can interrupt, ignore others, demand, expect in excess and have a sense of entitlement.
In parenting my kids, one of my goals has always been to find a happy medium. To say yes as often as I can, meanwhile maintaining a semblance of order and security. To say yes within the limitations that provide for safety and encourage out of the box thinking. I strive to have a good rapport with my kids. I want them to be able to talk to me, to tell me anything and everything, to trust me and know that I'm always here when they need me. I also want them to know that I am their mom, and I expect a certain level of respect in this role.
I try to say yes as often as possible. I want my kids to live freely, to know what it feels like to be a kid, to avoid being bogged down by the unrealistic expectations of many adults...experts...who have forgotten that kids can grow, develop confidence creativity, that kids can LEARN on their own.
Several years ago, I stumbled upon an idea in a parenting magazine that inspired me. I created a "Yes!" jar for my kids. It comes in handy on days when I have a million things on my to do list, but their budding curiosity doesn't have a "pause" button. They come to me and ask if they can do something, I tell them, "Today isn't a good day, but add it to the 'Yes!' jar." They pull out a slip of paper, write their idea down, and deposit it into the jar.
Fast forward to a day when we have a bit of free time (we're finding more of that these days due to my New Year's resolution), a rainy day when an outdoor field trip has been canceled, or a day that I mark "YES!" on the calendar. This is the perfect time to dig into the jar and find something fun to do. Some days I randomly pull a card out. Other days I let them choose, or if we have time I let each kiddo choose something.
These days are fun, but my favorite days are those that are so empty of obligations that I can say, "Yes!" right away. Especially the days when they have friends over and ask to do the experiments in the Disgusting Science activity kit. I say, "Yes!" and they all stare, wide-eyed, to make sure I wasn't bluffing.