Hi. My name is Abby and I’m a rule-follower. I like order and tidiness. Shocker: Sometimes my kids don’t. Have you ever noticed that so much of what it means to be childlike goes against order and control? If you like structure like me, do you wonder how to connect with your child when it feels like motherhood is so much about keeping life in order?
I think that if I look back at these 18 years and only see that I kept my kids in line, I’ll have some major regrets. But there’s a 3-letter word that can change our relationship with our kids. It’s going to take some stretching on our part, rule-loving moms. Here’s what it is and how to use it.
Be a Yes-Mom.
Did that just give you anxiety? It does me. I think about my sons asking to make slime (again) when I just cleaned my kitchen. I think about them asking for more dessert when I know one already has a cavity and he’s only 8. All of these “but I don’t want to’s” pop into my head and I get scared, and a little lazy if I’m being honest. But then I think about my parents’ relationship with my kids. They don’t supervise them with an agenda or fear. They just want to be with them. What a great way to connect with your child—show them you enjoy living life with them.
What a Yes-Mom Is
A Yes-Mom knows you have to let kids be kids. She recognizes that sometimes it’s OK to bend the rules. She knows that what matters to her doesn’t always matter to the kids and that this is their life too. A Yes-Mom knows that too many “no’s” can squash a child’s sense of adventure, wonder, and creativity. And she knows that giving children freedom within boundaries helps them grow. Yeah, I want this to be me, but it’s not.
What a Yes-Mom Is Not
But this makes me breathe a little easier. A Yes-Mom is not a kick-back-and-let-the-kids-run-wild mom. She doesn’t say “yes” to everything. Wait—so if you don’t say yes, then you must say no? Not exactly.
How to Be a Yes-Mom
Say “yes” more.
This will help your kids build confidence and independence. Plus, when you do deny them something they want, they will throw fewer tantrums and accept the “no” because they’ve had other opportunities to exercise their will.
When they ask to stay up 10 more minutes, say yes.
When they ask to help make dinner, say yes.
When they pick out an outfit that looks like they got dressed in the dark, say yes.
Use alternatives to “no.”
Being a Yes-Mom doesn’t mean you allow everything, but instead of saying no, you have to get creative. For example, when my sons want to ride their bikes when it’s late and they’ve already taken showers, instead of, “No. It’s too late to ride bikes,” I could say, “Yeah, let’s ride tomorrow. We’ll do it right after breakfast.”
No, don’t ignore your kids. Saying nothing means holding your tongue when you want to react by telling them to stop or be careful. I’ve stopped my kids from walking through puddles way too often. Let them go through the puddle. Let them wrestle without a warning. They’ll learn when they get hurt or when their socks get wet and it’s uncomfortable.
Do you think you can try it for a week? What holds you back from being a Yes-Mom?