The ONE WORD You Could Be Saying More of to Your Kids

It’s almost Mother’s Day.  A day when mom is thanked for all the sacrifices she makes every day for her children.  She’s showered with flowers and jewelry, given the latest gift from Amazon, is taken out to a restaurant so that there’s one less meal to cook...All of these things are often sweet sentiments and are well appreciated by mom. 

But...inevitably, the kids will forget it’s Mother’s Day and ask mom for something.  It’s not really a day off for the majority of us.  In my experience, my kids want to spend MORE time with me on Mother’s Day than they do on any other holiday of the year.  

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could get a little break?  A little time to yourself? A little peace?  This deep desire for time alone tends to build up inside and cause lots of resentment and bitterness from tired, worn out mamas when they don’t get a minute to themselves. 

The word, “No” is a well used word in our motherhood vocabulary.  Often, a toddler’s first word is “NO” which isn’t very surprising!  They hear it day in and day out!  I don’t know about you but I get tired of hearing myself say “NO” all day...

"No!  Stop climbing! You will get hurt!”

“No!  Keep your hands to yourself.  You are hurting your sister!”  

“No!  You can't have a snack!  You JUST had a snack!  Dinner is almost ready!”

“No!  You can't watch a movie today.  It's not the weekend.”

”No!  Don’t play in the dog’s water dish!”  

“No!  Stop putting your fingers in your mouth!” 

“No!  Don’t step in that puddle!  You’ll get mud on your new shoes!” 

NO NO NO! 

and the worst NO of all... 

No!  Mommy can’t play with you right now...

Is it me or is there always a request for mom to play when she’s knee deep in housework or in the middle of cooking dinner?  *Sigh*

It’s been just about a year since I posted this picture of my middle child on Instagram.

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It was around the time I started this blog.   And, just like many, I was overwhelmed with unfinished projects, never ending housework, meal planning, homeschooling...

I had just spent the entire weekend immersed in ballet performances - 4 of them to be exact!  Phew.  Thank God that’s over!  Talk about ballet overload!

We finally pulled into the driveway after the last show of the weekend!  I looked at the clock and started calculating how many more hours there were left in the day before we could start getting ready for bed.   At that moment, my countdown to bedtime calculations were interrupted with a request from the ballerina in the back seat.  Her request was quite specific:

She wanted to play...

with her Mary Poppins Umbrella

in the driveway

in the rain

while keeping her ballet costume on.  

It’s the five year old way.  They have the playtime scenario all set up perfectly in their energetic little minds.  It doesn’t matter that they just spent hours playing with their friends that day.  They have A LOT of energy and they know just how to use it!  

I know the response she was expecting...

There was something about the way she made her request...I could feel her waiting for a NO response.  She was expecting a NO.  Then again, why wouldn’t she expect a NO?!  She usually gets a NO response doesn’t she?   *Insert feeling of mom guilt HERE*

She more often than not gets a NO to any “playtime in the driveway“ request mostly because I’m unable to keep a watchful eye on her in that location and I have a TRILLION other things to get done INSIDE the house!  That day, she surely was expecting a resounding “NO!”  from this worn out, tired, ballet overloaded, girl mom.  

Instead, I impulsively said “YES!” right away! 

My purposeful “YES” response made her face light up with excitement.  She bounded out of the car, opened her umbrella and leaped about in the puddles giggling away! 

She, unintentionally, taught me something that late afternoon.  I rarely STOPPED and really enjoyed my kids.  Do you? 

Even in my YES responses, I could never seem to enjoy the moment and actually BE PRESENT.  My head was always spinning...

Spinning with

  • unfinished projects
  • thoughts about what the next meal will be
  • how inadequate, messy and cluttered my house feels
  • how much work I’ve been neglecting in just about every responsibility I’ve committed to

My inability to actually be present with my kids was all prior to my massive decluttering rampage that changed so much for the better over the last year. I’m so thankful to be in a different place emotionally now. You can read about that HERE.

So...I stood there and watched her splash about in the puddles.  I snapped a picture of her and was reminded of why I wanted to be a mom in the first place...

It’s not an easy job.  It’s HARD physically, mentally and spiritually.  It’s exhausting on so many levels. But it’s also incredibly beautiful.  You’ll only see the beauty of it if you let yourself say YES once in a while.  

My challenge to you is to try saying yes to your children’s request just once this week. 

Yes!  Mommy will play with you. 

Yes!  We can make cookies together.   

Yes! Yes! Yes! 

A big disclaimer here just in case you think I’m telling you to be the superhero YES MOM - We can’t possible say yes all the time.  Life is full of disappointments and we would be doing a disservice to our children to give them everything they ask for.  Telling them to play independently gives them the ability to be creative, independent thinkers.  I’ve been given the guilt trip from my kids for not playing with them after I’ve literally played with them all day long.  They are really good at manipulating.  And if we’re honest, aren’t we all? 

To look at saying YES as a gift you can give to yourself and your kids might just be what you need to refresh your love for them and enjoy being the mommy you were meant to be!  Put that phone away and enjoy them.  Be present. 

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Yes!

Of course you can splash in the rain

with your Mary Poppins umbrella

in your dance recital costume!  

I don’t know why I didn’t think of that myself!?  ;-) 

Do you struggle with mom guilt?  Are you ready to commit to saying YES and be present just a little more?  Tag me @whole9family in your #YesMamaStory on social media!  I’d love to hear your stories!  We all need encouragement in this motherhood journey!