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As I’ve written before, I’m working hard on getting the children to accept me being in charge again. They’re fabulous children, but after running feral for a year they do need a bit of reigning in.
One of the things we’re working on is having them let us know they hear us with a “Yes, Dad!” or “OK, Mom!” It’s basic courtesy, really, and saves me the frustration of repeating myself in louder and louder tones until I wake a baby, only to find out they were off doing what I asked anyway. The next step will be having them acknowledge us without attitude or eye rolling.
While I was contemplating how to make this happen, I came across two different blog posts: “Be a Yes Mom” at Raising Olives and “To Be More Joyful: Be a Yes Mom” at Life As Mom. They both kind of rocked my world. Since Saturday, I’ve been asking myself Kimberly’s “Yes Mom” questions whenever the kids ask me something: Is there a real reason to say no? Are they supposed to be doing something else?I’ve added my own third question: Does it violate some sort of long-standing family rule? Because much as I love my kids, I recognize that they have a habit of pushing limits.
When I first started, I was shocked at how often I either (a) defaulted to no or (b) hedged my bets with a “we’ll see.” I think I really confused the kids, too, because they would ask me something and I would start at “no,” quickly catch myself and change to a “we’ll see” and then follow it up with a “yes” so quick it made their little heads spin.
I like to keep them on their toes.
Now, five days into the Grand Experiment, I am catching myself smiling and saying yes more often. And while we haven’t had any SuperMoments– they mostly ask for pretty mundane but lovely things, like reading a picture book or an extra chapter of our read aloud– it feels good to have my default set to yes.
I’ve noticed something else as well. The more I say yes to them, the easier it is for them to say yes to me. We might come out of this whole experience civilized after all.