Just say “Yes.”
This is my mantra.
“Mom, can so-and-so come over?” Eli texts after school.
“Yes!” I say.
“Can I go to Shake Shack?” Oscar asks after school.
“Yes!” I say.
I want to get in as many yeses as possible for the moment when they say “No” to me.
“Can you [fill in the blank]?” I ask, and am so often told “No.”
“No I can’t walk the dog right now,” or, “No, I don’t have time to fold the laundry.”
So I like it that I am armed with yeses.
“Do I say ‘No?’ ” I ask, and they usually have to shake their head no.
“I guess if you say ‘No,’ then I’m going to have to say ‘No,’ ” I say, and they often change their tune.
But to say “Yes” means being expansive and I don’t always feel expansive. Sometimes, I’m stressed and tired and my brain is filled with a million crazy things, and I just want to spit out, “No! Come home and wash the floors and clean up your room you little ungrateful…”
Um. Hmmm. That’s not nice. And it isn’t helpful. And it just serves to make an enemy of someone living in your house.
So the big question is how to get yourself to feel more expansive, to feel “Yes!” instead of “No!”
Oh gosh, I don’t know. I said I was fearless, not a genius. And, truth be told, I don’t even think geniuses know what is going to help you. I’ve had the great gift of being able to afford to dabble in the healing arts, on occasion visiting a great Reiki healer, an amazing astrologer, a multitude of therapists from marriage counselors to a Jungian psychoanalyst, and still. There are lots of days when I’d rather say a mean “No” than “Yes.”
But if all the time and money spent on dealing with my crazy hang-ups has taught me one thing, it is that I need to say “Yes.”
I need to say “Yes” to myself, I need to say “Yes” to my husband (no rude jokes, please) and I need to say “Yes” to my kids.
Saying “No” is boring. Saying “No” is mean. Saying “No” is like putting a big red stop sign up in your house.
Yes. A big red stop sign. Big. Red. Stop.
Why? What is the point? Count how many times in a day you say “No.” Start thinking about turning it in to a “Yes.”
Okay, so lots of stuff has gotten broken in my bedroom as two, three, four, maybe five boys wrestle amidst my belongings. But stuff isn’t important.
Okay, so sometimes the kids are up a bit late, maybe even a sleepover on a school night. There’s plenty of time to sleep when we’re dead.
Sometimes it would seem you can’t say “Yes.” If there’s a big test and they want to stay up to watch a show. But, even then. I think the stress that builds before exams is insane. All you can do if you already paid some attention in class and kept up with your homework is to go in with the confidence that you know the information.
I like saying “Yes” the most because my kids love me for it. Eli says it almost every time, “I love you mom, you’re the best!”
OMG. Heart, throb. I am a total sucker for love and they know it, so they know I’ll do almost anything to try to say “Yes.”
My fingers are crossed, because I know this is going to get harder. It has already gotten harder as Eli has turned in to a teen, especially because things come up that I should really say “No” to, but it turns out they’re not actually my choices to make at all, so I might just offer my opinion.
But I hope and pray that being on the same side, being in agreement more than we’re in opposition, is going to help us navigate through this process of life together with love and some harmony.
Just note, boys, that I said “some” harmony.