A personal goal of mine is to be a “yes mom” as much as possible for my kids, so that when I say “no” to something, it makes my kids stop and think about what they are asking and why I said no to it, rather than just ignoring me because they hear it all the time. It may not be as important right now, but I’m looking at the longterm goal of when they start making more significant requests – driving, friends, dating, etc. So, I made this resolution a while ago when I found myself not being able to give Eli a good reason for saying “no” when he followed up my response with his usual “why?” question. It was a rainy afternoon and the kids asked if they could take the cushions off the couch to build a fort. I immediately thought of the mess it would make getting the cushions (and inevitably pillows and blankets) out, but when Eli asked why I said no, it hit me that I didn’t have a good answer ~ no one was coming to visit, nothing would be ruined, it wouldn’t hurt anyone….so I changed my answer to “yes” and I’ve been trying to do more of that ever since. We had a great time building and playing together!
Fast forward to last week when Eli asked if we could please please please go to Chuck E Cheese like his friends at school talk about, like he has seen in commercials, like kids in YouTube videos go, etc. We’ve said no to that request for literally 2+ years because I had in my mind that it was a dirty, germ-infested, gross place. However, after hearing from a few other moms and dads that it was in fact clean and bright and a whole lot of fun, I decided to put on my “yes” attitude and as Eli put it, “make my dreams come true.” 🙂
So, off to Chuck E Cheese we went yesterday and it was AMAZING!!! Not a speck of food on the floor, the games all worked and weren’t sticky, not crowded at all, and we all had a great time. The squeals of happiness from Ava when the first game she played spit out her winning tickets was something I will never forget. Pure joy! Eli never stopped talking and smiling and running from game to game, and Sam and I had just as much fun playing the games, too.
When Eli asked about going, instead of saying no right away, I told him I would think about it. Being a “yes mom” doesn’t mean you ignore common sense and it doesn’t mean you are a lazy parent or that you are spoiling your kids; it means you think about possible consequences of saying yes and evaluate the seriousness of the consequences. For Chuck E Cheese, my biggest fear was my kids would get sick from there, but you know what? We were all sick for Thanksgiving last year and didn’t get to go to family dinner and while it was disappointing at the time, life carried on, we got better, and we saw everyone the following week. That situation alone taught me to stop fearing germs and letting that fear get in the way of having fun. My kids sit next to other kids every day at school, they share crayons and markers, they use the school bathrooms and touch doorknobs and handrails, and they have sports and dance activities with even more kids. They are surrounded by germs all. the. time. So, in this instance, saying yes to Chuck E Cheese was no different than saying yes to them going to school. We wash hands at home, use hand sanitizer when we are out, stay away from people who are sick and crowds during flu season, and don’t lick grocery carts ~ we do what we reasonably can. I personally do not like crowds, and I knew Eli and Ava would not be as comfortable around tons of kids, so we picked a day and time when crowds would be minimal, and it turned out great.
I say YES to breakfast for dinner, using the couch cushions for forts and stair slides, sprinkling glitter on art projects, having a picnic on the family room floor while watching a movie, splashing in muddy puddles, leaving dirty dishes in the sink so we can go to the playground before it gets dark, and even going to Chuck E Cheese 🙂
P.S. Eli said Chuck E Cheese was better than our trip to Disney World and Legoland a couple years ago….guess we can save a whole lot of money on future vacations! Haha!