Once Upon a Time, I had a blog. . . . . when my kids were still in preschool, kindergarten & elementary school. These are "diary entries" from then. I'm so happy that I documented along the way. These memories and thoughts are precious to me. They'll be mixed in with modern day musings as well. I hope it helps you know that all mothers are both perfect & imperfect in their own ways. . . . . and we're all just doing our best and trying to raise productive, happy humans.

Learning to Not say "No"

Diary Entry ~~ january 8, 2011

There are a lot of books and articles out there that teach women how to say “No”. Which can be a good thing if you tend to overextend yourself. I on the other hand need to learn how to say “Yes” more often. I’m not talking about every day commitments and volunteering. I do that stuff. I’m talking about saying “Yes” to my kids.

All too often, as soon as my kids begin to utter a sentence that starts with “mommy, can I. . .” or “mommy, will you. .”, my automatic response is “No”. Before I even listen to the rest of the sentence, the “No” comes out of my mouth. It’s like a programmed response. As part of my first challenge for this year—spending quality time with my kids—I am trying to change different things that I do. I’ve already written about making them my priority by stopping whatever I’m doing and listening. Right then and there. Now, my next step is to not automatically say “No”. I will say “yes” to everything within reason.

That means that if I have to listen to “Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer” 8 times in a row in January, I will. It’s not hurting me! And yes, I will let Future Fashionista pour her own water and make her own sandwich. Yes, FF can wear yellow thermal pajama pants, an inside out pink tulle skirt, a black velvet top and pink snowboots together (in public). Yes, The Builder can change clothes behind the rocking chair. After all, it is warmer there. And yes, I’ll sit on the floor and play. And yes, we can read a book. Right now. Not that I didn’t do these things before. But, now I will make a conscious effort to listen to their whole question (whatever it is) and make a decision based on what they need, not on what I need.

As part of my third challenge, I’m trying to grow closer to God. As a Christian, I am supposed to try to be selfless. Which is very hard. Although I might be a Christian, I am still human. But, this act of selflessness is what my kids need. And it is ultimately what I need. Because trying to be selfless will bring me closer to my kids and closer to God. But, just so that you know, trying to be selfless does not mean that I will never take time for myself. That is still necessary. But, that would be a completely different blog post.

So, I’ve created two new rules for myself so far this year.

#1—When the kids want/need me, I will stop what I’m doing. And listen.
#2—I will really listen, and not automatically say “No”. I will give them a chance and let them know that their needs are important to me.

Do you have any mommy tips? Anything that you’ve tried with your kids that works especially well?

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