Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wellness Wednesday: Just Say Yes

Glow-In-The-Dark Bowling, Hopedale Bowl, June 16, 2009

One more birthday party is over and all the kids had fun. The adults survived. Five lanes of four players in each lane made for a very loud and happy crowd of 9 and 10 year old boys and girls! We all had fun, but I was happy to get home and have a glass of wine.

This is the first year we combined both ChloƩ and Caden's parties into one big event. With the two of them having their birthday only 3 weeks apart and now sharing many friends (especially with Caden in a split class at school this year) we figured it would be easier for everyone to just attend one event at the busiest time of year!

Caden, it turns out, is a real party planner. He decided the venue: bowling; the treat: cupcakes; loot bags: popcorn, smarties and a blockbuster gift card. I just said yes!

I just said yes. To everything.

From the beginning, I didn't even say a word about the invitation list. ChloƩ and Caden figured out the list together inviting 9 kids each. All but 2 were able to attend. Some guest choices were quite different, random enough that one little boy asked his mum to talk to me to make sure Caden hadn't made a mistake - he hadn't. I think the little guy was very pleased, and surprised, to have been asked. Caden asked him because he likes him even though they've had little opportunity to interact since they are often on opposing teams. Who was I to tell Caden any different?

Throughout the process there were many opportunities to say "no". To do things my way. Or say "no" because it's the easy answer. As a mum, I'm programmed to say "no" and the kids are programmed to hear it.

The birthday party is just one small example of the current mama re-training project. I've recently adopted the philosophy that if it doesn't put anyone in danger, there is minimal chance of blood or breakage, mess is limited or easy to clean, it does not interfere with another commitment, and it won't put us in the poor house, just say yes. Why not?

This has been a major shift. My "projects" are no longer a priority. My house is not the priority. My children are the priority. Not just in my thoughts, but through my actions. I no longer tell them to wait until I: finish this page, watch this show, clean this dish, put in this load; they now wait and then ask. It took a couple of weeks for them to get used to the idea that I would actually say yes, but now that they're hearing it, they're more patient with me. They have learned that there's a better chance that I'll say yes in a non-distracted moment then when I'm carrying up a load of laundry or writing a blog post.

This has been going on for a few months now and I have to say it's nice to say yes. The kids are thoughtful about asking for things. They don't whine and make life miserable when they hear the occasional "no".

I wish I had started this sooner.

Do you find yourself automatically saying "no"? Is it your initial response? Try saying "yes" instead. You'll be happy you did. Your kids will be happy, too.


Kyla said...

Isn't is wonderful? The response to and effect of the word "yes"? It makes life a lot more fun for EVERYONE!

That bowling alley looks like some wicked fun. I haven't bowled since I was pregnant with the oldest. I think she's getting old enough to give it a whirl though. ;)

Thanks so much for this wonderful post and the effects it has had for YOUR family!

L~ said...

looks fun! I always say, I need a bit of time to think about it, try no knee jerk reactions, sometimes, I do. Good for you being so aware of this!!