Fellow moms, I’m trying to change my ways. These days, I’m more Grinch than great, and I want to reform. I want to become a “YES!” mom, and I need to be held accountable. What is a “YES!” mom, you ask? Other than presumably insane (I mean really: All caps? Exclamation point?). I simply want to become a mom who says “yes” more than “no,” and who does so with gusto.
You see, if you were to spend a typical day with me, you’d find that I’d wake up bright-eyed, optimistic, and full of energy and patience. By lunch, I’d be a little testy, though I’d still be trying to maintain a caring but firm tone. And by dinner, all will have deteriorated and my goals of gently redirecting will be out the window. Enthusiasm will evaporate. What you’ll hear most by bedtime, folks, is “No!”. To the point that my husband will come home, hang out with me and our son for five minutes and immediately ask if I’m OK. Yes, my patience has run that thin.
When I first became a mom, I only spoke in gentle sing-song tones, lovingly hand-prepared gourmet, organic baby meals, and scoured Pinterest for every messy sensory table idea that my kid might enjoy. Then the perma-sleep deprivation set in and my beautiful baby became a defiant toddler. Now, I notice that many times, when my sweet, joyful 3-year-old asks me to go to the playground or play trucks with him or bake something, my answer is often “no,” “not now,” or only a halfhearted “sure.” For a while, I told myself this was fine, and this was the best I could do. But I can do better.
I’m starting to see that my lack of enthusiasm for activities he loves takes away some of my son’s joy, even if it comes from a place of genuine exhaustion. And it breaks my heart. Even though I committed to doing less this summer, I want to find opportunities every single day to give a wholehearted “YES!” to things my little guy wants me to do with him. Even if they’re annoying. Even if I’m tired. Even if it gets messy. I know my time with him is precious and I want to keep his spirit bright.
Something that’s helping me stay motivated to be a “YES!” mom is the idea that children might not remember the details of their childhoods but they do remember how they felt. They remember the joy, the excitement, and the love. And that’s why I’m going to do my best to be excited. To dive into the messy and the annoying. To share in my kiddo’s giddiness. This is the part of motherhood that I’ve been neglecting and frankly, missing out on. I can embrace a little more chaos in my life if it means adding a lot more happiness and connection.
There’s a lot more to being a mom than taking care of basic needs, providing moral education, and providing love and comfort. I also want to create magic and memories. And that’s what I’m going to work on, exhausted or not.