Being a mom of two toddlers sometimes leaves me feeling extremely frazzled. I have laundry to keep up with, a house to maintain, schedules to keep, emails to return, dinner to cook, and oh, yeah, kids to raise! Often times, the mundane daily tasks can feel overwhelming. These tasks cause my temper to run short and to say “no” to a lot of good, albeit inconvenient things.
What does inconvenient mean to a child, though? Do they know that I can’t stop everything and blow bubbles with them because I have a pile of laundry the size of the Sandia mountains in the hamper? Or do they just notice that I don’t have time to play? And that I don’t want them to make a mess?
I’ve given a lot of thought to the things that I remember from childhood. And all of my fondest memories are of moments where my parents said “YES” to something that I didn’t expect.
Running in the rain creates dirty laundry and dirty floors. But the memories of running and playing in the rain and mud with my family are some of my very favorites. It wasn’t convenient for my mother to let us paint at her beautiful farmhouse dining table, or start a puzzle there right before dinner. But she let us. Because she knew that by saying yes in those small moments, she was facilitating a love of learning, curiosity and adventure!
So I choose to say yes to my children in small ways.
I don’t let them enter harm’s way. But I choose to say yes to a mess or a slight inconvenience if it means making memories. The emails can wait while I let them put eyeshadow on me. (Blue is NOT my color!) While we do a messy science experiment. Or while we jump in muddy puddles a la Peppa Pig. I say yes to my two year old wanting to hold my hand while we watch a movie. (And I could also be folding laundry). I say yes in moments where my gut reaction would be to say we can do that activity later or we don’t have time for that right now.
Don’t get me wrong. I still say no. Pretty often I say no because two- and three-year-olds want to do a lot of dangerous and expensive things! I say no when it will help my kids to maintain their safety, help me to maintain my sanity, or teach them that its okay to not get everything you want.
But I say yes to little moments of magic that I would miss if I focused solely on my to-do list.
With all of that being said, here are some fun things that I chose to say yes to. (And you can too!):
- Taking a spontaneous trip to A Park Above.
- Doing this fun experiment with baking soda and vinegar.
- Baking cookies (have you ever watched a two year old mix batter? It’s hilarious!)
- Making fun chalk art.
- Going to Explora to blow giant bubbles.
- Running in the rain and using the gutter to teach my kids about rivers and currents.
- Building a fort to play in.
- Run through the sprinklers – and not just watch, but get wet!
I think we often get so caught up in our responsibilities that we forget to enjoy the simple moments. The sweet sighs after a busy day of playing. The giggles while we watch a grasshopper hop. The “WOW” when a toddler sees their first hot air balloon.
These are the moments I will remember.
Not the laundry I did, the floors I mopped, or the cleanliness or my toilets.
So maybe those things can wait for an hour or two while we make messes and memories!