Sunday, June 24, 2012

Learning to say yes

Learning to say yes

I've somehow managed to avoid some of the classic mothering pitfalls. I don't struggle overmuch with guilt. I don't spend a lot of time angsting over the recently-trendy topic of "having it all" or torture myself over my work / life balance. Something I have had to consciously teach myself, though, is to say yes more. Not in a spoiling way or a going back on the rules way, but in a "let go of the Type A personality" way. If Nico asks for one more bedtime story and it's not much too late, what's one more story? If he wants to scribble all over his coloring page with every green crayon he owns instead of mixing it up a little, no worries. If he does silly things with his toys but isn't tearing them up, more power! And the biggest one lately, if he wants to run through the garden hose every evening…well…I think that's okay.

At first it was kind of contrary to what I thought we should do. He'd get messy, I'd have to change him into a whole new outfit. Then I realized, who cares? He's a kid, he's fully washable. He has many, many outfits. And even better, if we go out pretty close to bedtime, I can just strip off his wet clothes and put him straight into his pajamas. Sure, it's messy. Sometimes it's inconvenient. But ten, fifteen, twenty years from now when we both look back, what are we going to remember more fondly? The nights he went calmly to bed with dry hair or the times he got to run wild in the water? I think I already know that answer.

May 27 hose
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  1. Anonymous12:12 AM

    My mom used to say, "It isn't hurting anything."
    And I'm so glad that I remembered that philosophy when my daughter was little.
    Yes, someday, you'll both be so glad you said yes.

  2. Amanda7:24 AM

    Oh, I've definitely struggled with the same thing - letting go and saying yes. There's something in the back of my brain that thinks that children are supposed to OBEY, and you can't just go around saying yes to things, or all of a sudden they'll think they're in charge or something! Which is silly, and not how I'd actually want to raise a kid, but I have to fight the kneejerk reaction. My fiance is very flexible with his daughter - while still being firm and setting limits - and I've learned so much from watching them together. I think you're right, it's a totally weird Type A thing.

  3. I've made my peace with having a messy house, because I won't have my girls home with me forever and I work full time. So on weekends we leave the mess and go out and do things. When they're grown, I want them to look back and say, 'Mum took us everywhere -- the beach, the pool, to play soccer, nature walks, to feed the chickadees, drive-in movies, to visit friends in other cities, to spend a weekend in Old Quebec City. I don't want them looking back and only being able to say, "Well, the house was always nice and clean."

    Nico will have lots of good memories of you playing with him. And as for the mess, a dirty kid is usually a happy kid. :)