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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Saying Yes

I am a 'yes' person. I want to do it all - volunteer work, photo sessions, writing gigs, committees, events, play dates - yes yes yes!

I find many of these activities very enjoyable, though sometimes I do feel pressured to say yes even when I know it's more than I can handle. And taking every opportunity that crosses my path brings with it stress, fatigue and burnout.

Brenna's addition to our family has forced me to say no. Not only do I not have the time, now I am finally realizing where my priorities lie and I am focusing on those. My children are small and they need me right now as their mother - to care for them, to teach them and to just plain be there for them.

It has felt SO GOOD to say no this year. It's been a new revelation for me, to clear my schedule of obligations and to make my family's needs not only the first thing on the list, but many times the only thing on the list.

And in learning to say no to the outside world, I'm also learning to say yes at home.

"Yes we can get the play-doh out!" ...even when I know it will end up smashed in the high chair and the colors pressed together in one big brown blob.

"Yes we can paint!"...even though I know that Connor will end up with red streaks on his cheek and blue globs in his hair and his arms coated in paint, requiring a bath immediately after.

"Yes we can read books!"...even when there are dirty dishes staring at me and I really wanted to do some dinner prep and the house is a wreck.

"Yes we can go play outside and pretend to dig for fossils in the dirt!"...even though I know this will create more laundry and scrubbing the grime from under Connor's nails.

"Yes we can build a fort!"...even though I know this will mean having to fold up all those blankets yet again at the end of the day.

Sure, saying yes to getting out the art supplies and play-doh, building forts, playing games and running around outside means more laundry and more messes to clean.

But saying yes also means making memories. Saying yes means building my relationship with my children. Saying yes means prioritizing my children's learning and happiness over a clean house.

It's not easy for me sometimes (OK - almost always). I am generally a pretty tidy and organized person. It's not easy to push aside the dishes that need done or house that desperately needs picked up.

But there is nothing more rewarding than your child asking you to read him books, or to play cars with him or have a pretend picnic, or to explore your backyard. I am my children's best friend right now, and I know that won't always be the case.

And someday, there will be no play-doh smashed in the high chair or forts to be made or fossils to be found. So even when I feel pulled to do a million other things, I am teaching myself to say yes to my children right now, while they're young. And it makes my heart happy to know that years from now, they won't think 'my mom never let me paint because it was too messy'...they'll recall the awesome forts we'd make together and the way it felt when we snuggled up to read book after book. Just as I do with my parents, my children will remember that I made time for them.

I love that I can be a 'yes' person again, to the most important people in my life.


  1. Good for you for realizing this before your kids are grown. AND, a big thumbs-up for learning how to say no. I was very much like you when it came to volunteering. That, too, took until I "matured" to accomplish. I think you need a "mom-of-the-year" award! If nothing else, you are your children's hero :D

  2. Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to hear today because I have been struggling with the same thing. I need to start saying yes to my kids more because they are only this age once. What a great and encouraging post to read this morning! You are a wonderful mother! :)

  3. You leave learned one of the most valuable lessons ever right when you needed to - while your children are still young and will benefit from it forever! Many do not learn this until it is too late. Just another way you have all been blessed by Brenna!

  4. I so see homeschooling in your future. LOL :) I never dreamed my kids would be homeschooled. Anyway, I needed to read this today. I am also an organized, tidy person... well, was before having 4 kids! I still try to be, but now it's an overwhelming task. I tend to say no to a lot of things just because of the work load I know it will create for me. I need to say yes to fun things more!

  5. What a lovely post, and what fun and big imaginations your children will have :)

  6. Oh how this found me when I needed it the most. I am in the midst of cleaning up the messes of me overextending myself. Sometimes I think that saying "yes" too often even when we mean no can mean MORE messes to clean - Especially mental messes...Thank you for this post:)

  7. I am in tears reading this! So well put and really pointing out the purpose of staying home with your help them grow and learn and be great kids. Thanks! Happy thanksgiving :)

  8. Yes! I needed this too . :)

  9. Yes! I needed this too . :)

  10. Awesome post, your kids will not remember dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piled high, dinner prep not done, but they will remember the fun activities! Enjoy!
    Vancouver, BC

  11. This post really spoke to me. I need to learn to say yes more, enjoy my kids while they are young. Thank you for allowing me to reflect on what is important.

  12. LOVE it!!! favorite: "And in learning to say no to the outside world, I'm also learning to say yes at home."


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