Best of 2010: Be a Yes Mom!

For the past two summers I’ve ran a post on being a “Yes Mom.”   

It’s proven to be a very popular post that I thought would also be appropriate during Christmas break. 

Last summer my boys ran inside and said, “Mom, mom…it’s so hot outside! Can we see if it’s hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk?”

The practical side of me started to say no, but then I caught myself. What would it hurt for them to try it? Why couldn’t I say yes? Is it “wasting” an egg, or simply using it for a different, but just as valuable, purpose?

After that quick argument in my head, I finally said, “Sure. If you want to try it, go ahead! Just make sure you wash off the sidewalk when you’re done.” They got an egg from the refrigerator and ran out of the house to try their science experiment.

Over 24 years of mothering, I’ve finally learned how to be a “yes” mom more than a “no” mom. It wasn’t an easy transition…but it was an important one. For years my interactions with my kids looked more like this:

“No, you can’t fingerpaint.” (It will make too much of a mess.)

“No, you can’t bake cookies today.” (I just mopped the kitchen floor!)

“No, you can’t have a friend over today.” (I don’t want to go anywhere today and I’d have to go get them.)

“No, you can’t play in the sprinklers.” (I’m not in the mood for wet swimsuits, towels, and grass tracked in the house.)

“No, you can’t go out and play in the snow.” (I don’t want to deal with the snowsuits, boots, gloves, scarves, and hassle of it all.)

Over time, however, I started paying attention to the “no’s” and my reasoning behind them. It usually had something to do with my selfish reasons. I didn’t want to deal with a mess. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced. I didn’t want to have more work to do.

That’s not fun to admit, but it was true. My selfishness was robbing my kids of some of the joy of just being kids!

I remember one afternoon many years ago when a couple of the kids asked, “Can we blow bubbles in the house? I initially said no because bubbles have always been an outside activity. But then I thought about my answer. Why couldn’t they blow bubbles in the house? We even have the bubble cups that don’t spill! Why do I always say no so quickly? Finally, I called my kids back into the kitchen and said, “Yes, you can blow bubbles in the house. Have a blast.”

And they did.

And I started being more of a “yes” mom, than a “no” mom that day.

Now I’m not talking here about permissive parenting. I’m not talking about the times that we need to say no because our kids really do need us to set boundaries. I’m talking about the times that I say no out of selfishness, or default, or habit.

May you have many “yes mom” moments this year!

Have you had any “yes” moments this week?

Mark and I are tucked away from technology for the remainder of this week enjoying some time with our family. This will be a short post from my phone.

We hiked today at Turkey Run State Park. I worked hard to be a “Yes Mom” when the boys wanted to climb rocks and explore.

How are you doing this week on being a “yes mom?”

The “yes” mom opportunities continue…

It’s the last week before school starts so this week I’ve really tried to be conscious of the “yes” mom opportunities that come my way.

Tuesday night both boys had a friend spend the night. “Mom, can the four of us sleep on the trampoline tonight?” There was a meteor shower that night and they wanted to see it for themselves. I was concerned that they wouldn’t get enough sleep (they didn’t). And I was concerned that we would all pay for it with some irritability the next day (we did). But I’m still convinced that they made a memory Tuesday night that was worth the trade-offs!

How are you doing with your commitment to be a “yes” mom?

We have a "Yes" Mom winner!

July has been a good month for all of us who have participated in the “Yes” mom challenge. I’ve loved reading your “yes” mom stories…they have encouraged me and challenged me all at the same time! My hope is that some of us have started some new habits. I know that sometimes I get in the “no” habit and need to be reminded of the joy that follows a “yes” response to my kids. If you didn’t get to read through the “yes” mom stories, just click on the “yes” mom challenge button over on the right side of my blog. (If you get my blog in email form just click on the title of this post and it will take you to my blog online.)

Because Kolya helped me put all the names into the drawing, I asked him to pick the winner. Because we had so many participants in the “Yes” mom challenge, I decided to pick a first and a second place winner. The first place winner will win a Hearts at Home gift package filled with wonderful mom resources. The second place winner will win a Hearts at Home book of their choice.

The first place winner is….Deb Strom! Congratulations Deb!

The second place winner is….Devin! Congratulations Devin!

If you’ll both email me at with your mailing address, I’ll send your prizes out this week!

It may be August, but let’s keep being “yes” moms!

Busy Day and a “Yes” Mom Moment

Today was a busy homemaking day. Kolya and I froze 8 gallon bags of summer squash and zucchini from the garden. In the past I’ve given away our excess and not really taken the time to freeze it, but this year I’m both giving away and freezing. There’s plenty for both!

I had a “yes” mom moment tonight…with my 18 year old and my 24 year old who is home visiting the family! I baked 5 loaves of pumpkin bread tonight with the intention of having one for breakfast in the morning and freezing the other five for hospitality purposes (I love giving bread to a new mom or a new family in the community!)

But Erica and Anne asked if they could have some warm bread tonight. My “yes” meant one less loaf in the freezer but two happy girls enjoying home.

Tomorrow (Friday) is the last day for you to share your “yes” mom stories to be entered into the drawing for a Hearts at Home gift basket. If you haven’t read through the submission yet, take a few minutes to do so! I know you will be encouraged! Read and share the stories here!

A Change of Plans

A few weeks ago my husband’s employer changed health insurance companies. That’s a bummer when you’re in the middle of a diagnosis/treatment program like Erica is. Knowing that Mayo was not “in network” I submitted an appeal to allow her to complete the program “in network.” The difference is thousands of dollars.

Yesterday morning the insurance company finally answered the appeal with a “no.” I won’t get started on what I really think about that. But we had to make the decision yesterday to not complete the week. We met with the therapists and asked them for as much homework that they could provide. They were very accomodating.

After we made the decision to go home, I had the opportunity for a “yes” moment. “Mom, since we’re so close, do you think we could go to Mall of America?” This “I hate shopping” mom wanted very much to say no. But remembering my own “yes” mom challenge, I said yes. So today we’re heading to Mall of America. I don’t love shopping, but I love my daughter!

How are you doing on the “yes” mom challenge? Share your stories here!