In all the years I’ve been a Mom I have never been great at saying yes. Obviously, from time to time I “let loose” and give in to whatever they request but it is never easy for me.
You see, I am the keeper of the tribe. The CEO, the healer, the accountant, the supervisor, the nourisher, the mender, and the entertainer. I keep a close watch on everything and carry the weight of it all. I don’t know how or why it is this way but it just is. From what I see around me and from past generations it is not an uncommon phenomenon for the Mother to lead in this way.
This makes me view it all from a very pragmatic place. If I say yes to an extra treat, she might not eat dinner which has an impact on her nutrition. If I allow her to run down the basement stairs, she may fall and break her arm. What will it cost? How long will it take? How will I fix it? Who is going to replace this? Is there enough time? What about naps? I don’t get to enjoy what is going on around me when I am so busy planning it and worrying about it. To be fair this is not 100% the fault of motherhood. My anxiety contributes greatly to this feedback loop but the weight of my responsibility doesn’t make it easier.
I hardly ever say yes. It is just easier to say no and stay “on track” – within our routine, on budget, on the meal plan, and within our boundaries. I never used to be like this, I used to be a very “caution to wind” kind of soul. It was glorious to be open to whatever might come next. I remember being so excited to show the world to my littles through exploration and adventure….but I have no idea what happened to me. Maybe the weight of life changed me.
A few years ago I took my eldest daughter to London, England. For 10 days I said yes to everything. We went where we wanted, did everything we wanted, ate and bought whatever we liked. It was incredible but most of all it was so free. My daughter is very humble and took things with grace which was amazing to witness. We didn’t even really overindulge. We just felt free to do, take, buy and adventure at our will. Can you imagine that freedom in everyday life? I can’t but I am trying.
I am saying yes more and it feels great. It can be hard and takes some adjustments but it is changing things around here. There is a lightness to our days when I feel a little bit more freedom. I have an uphill battle with anxiety so changing things can more difficult than it needs to be but every day I try a little bit harder.
It isn’t all about candy and treats. It is about impromptu movie nights (that extend past bedtime), unplanned trips to the park (that change our lunch plans), day trips to the beach (without 3 days of research about the local area), leaving the house regularly (hello anxious behaviour), buying a pretty dress (that isn’t on sale), and yes, sometimes a donut that might ruin their dinner.