Sunday, March 3, 2013

Just say yes

I read this blog entry this week. And it got me thinking.

So I began to count the number of times that I say no on an average day.  My friends, I give you an infographic:

Wednesday's no grand total: 23.

Let me break those 23 nos down.

3 were for reasons of general safety/avoidance of great bodily harm, as in "No, you may not climb on top of the dishwasher to reach the top shelf of the pantry", or, "No, the dog is not a small horse", or my personal favorite, "No thank you, I can put the sharp kitchen knives away myself."

3 were related to acts that were destined to make a mess, such as pulling out the glitter glue, a 50 piece puzzle, or "helping" mommy roll out pastry dough.

2 were for instructional purposes, such as "No, it's not polite to pick one's nose in public"' or "No, we should not comment on a stranger's appearance, even if it does look like he/she got struck by lightening".

One was just because I'm the mom, that's why.

14 were because I was busy and couldn't be bothered with one. more. demand. right. this. minute.

Can you guess which category bothers me most?

Sometimes I say no because I'm texting/reading/blogging/emailing and need a few minutes to focus.  I know, it's important for kids to learn to wait until a parent is finished with a task before asking for something, but when I really look at the numbers, I see a bigger problem.  Telling my kids 14 times a day that I don't have time for them is not OK.

And really, what's the worst thing that can happen with glitter glue?

I was reminded about my earlier post about French parenting.  French parents rarely say no.  That's because they set up some general guidelines but give their kids autonomy within those guidelines.  French children don't get to do anything they want, but they get to do things provided they can do it independently, as in getting the materials, completing the activity, and cleaning up after themselves.

It's my goal to raise smart, independent, lifelong learners.  But how can I do that if I don't let them get a little dirty every now and again?  How will they learn to pick up after themselves if I don't teach them?  How will they learn how fun it is to make homemade pop tarts if I don't let them help roll out the dough and get covered in flour?  I want to girls to learn natural consequences now, when the stakes are low, so that we can avoid bigger problems as they mature.

I want to say yes more.  I want to enjoy time with my kids.  I need to stop taking myself so seriously.

Are you a no, or a yes?  

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