If you are a parent you've probably heard this phrase a time or two, "Be a YES Mom" or some derivative of this phrase. But, what exactly does it mean?
Several years ago I took my kids to the Zoo. I had just two kids at the time; a baby and a toddler. It's a day that has been stuck in my head for quite some time now. While walking through the Zoo looking and gawking at the animals I seemed to be in a hurry. Why? I have no idea, but isn't that what moms do? Rush? We rush in the morning, we rush for nap time, dinner time and bed time. It becomes so natural that we always feel rushed. I'm guilty of it, we all are.
So, while we were at the Zoo my toddler climbed out of my double stroller and decided to walk while I continued pushing the baby. I was telling her to, "Hurry up," "Keep up," and "You're going to have to get back in the stroller!" At that exact moment I looked over at another mom who was patiently waiting for her daughter to catch up to her. Her daughter was in lala land and this mom didn't seem to mind, even though her friends and their kids continued walking and she was left behind.
I still, many years later, remember that mom's words to her little girl, "What are doing? Trying to crush every leaf on the ground? Okay." Still while she stood patiently waiting for the girl to literally step on each and every leaf on the ground.
It made me step back and look at myself. Why was I telling my toddler to hurry up? Why was I trying to rush through the Zoo? Didn't I bring them there to enjoy and learn?
I keep that day and those thoughts and feelings in my head almost daily and it reminds me to be a "yes" mom. But, what is a "yes" mom?
Does it mean saying, "yes" to sweets before dinner or unlimited screen time?
Does it mean spoiling our kids and buying them everything they want; letting them do whatever they want?
Or does it mean saying, "yes" to childhood?
Saying, "Yes," you can stop and smell those flowers even though I'm lugging a 20 pound baby and my arm is about to fall off.
Yes, we can take a moment to try and catch that frog, then many more minutes looking and examining it. Maybe we'll even try to take it home. Or go to the library and check out a book about frogs. Why? Because this child's natural curiosity has drawn her to want to learn about frogs.
Isn't that what children are doing all day, every day, learning? Whatever it is that they stop to explore; a bird, a lizard, a flower or mushroom is what they are naturally wanting to learn about. It's how humans learn, we explore and discover.
Being a yes mom is not about spoiling our kids, it's simply about saying yes to childhood. "Yes, please walk on the curb, even though it slows us down. It's improving your balance and really, what am I in a hurry for anyway?"
Moms, let's say, "Yes!" Yes to:
Staying up past dark to catch fireflies
Picking a bouquet of wildflowers during an evening walk
Playing in the sprinkler, who cares about the mud?
Walking with the family and getting an ice cream cone after dinner
Going down the slide just one more time (again and again)
Picking dandelions and blowing them to make wishes
Staying up late to snuggle on the couch and watch a movie together
Making mud pies
There's so many excuses we, as moms, can come up with. It's too late, they'll be tired tomorrow. I'm in a hurry to get back home and (fill in the blank). That's going to make a big mess!
But what are we rushing? Our children's childhood?
Its time we all take a deep breath, step back and look at what's really important. Is it getting dinner on the table by 5 o'clock and the kids in the bath by 7 o'clock?
We must stop rushing and fretting the little stuff and start letting our children be children. Because the truth is, the laundry and dishes will always be there, but our kids just keep growing up.
Let them explore, discover and learn. They're creating memories and we'll have time to clean it up...later.