Recently I made myself a promise. More importantly, I made my daughter a promise: to say yes. In a sea of one thousand Nos, I would say yes.
Yes to finger painting and walks in the park. Yes to baking blueberry muffins and making silly faces in the rearview mirror.
Yes to Can I walk through the puddle Mama? and Let’s pretend to be kitties!
Yes to bubbles in the backyard and entire days spent in our pajamas.
I haven’t crunched the numbers, but I’m willing to bet that for every “Yes” I used to tell my toddler, there were at least 10 “Nos”. No you cannot have ice cream for breakfast. No we’re not playing Play Doh for the third time today.
So for the past week I’ve said yes. I’m starting to notice some changes in my relationship with my daughter as a result.
What’s changed, you ask?
I’ve gained a better understanding of my daughter and her behavior. We’re home together all day, every day. Despite this, this summer she’s been exhibiting signs of separation anxiety and insecurity. Since I work from home, her “neediness” has been bothersome at times, especially when I have an important call or a deadline to meet. It’s during these times that she has requested my attention the most, and it’s during these times that I’ve most often told her No. I understand now that what I labeled “neediness” was really just an appropriate response to not having her needs met.
I have more “me time.” Since I’ve adapted my attitude, my daughter is getting the attention she needs when I’m able to give it to her. She’s much less demanding when I need time to myself. I’m more productive, less stressed, and happier to be home with her.
Yes is more fun than no. We’re enjoying each other more. Seizing the moment. Splashing in the puddles and jumping off the diving board. We’re delighting in the simple moments that make life so sweet.
And those blueberry muffins? They’re delicious.
Mary Lauren Weimer is a social worker turned mother turned writer. Her blog, My 3 Little Birds, encourages moms to put down the baby books for a moment and tell their own stories. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
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