If this pandemic has taught families anything it’s how to (sometimes successfully, sometimes poorly) multi-task. Tackling daily to-dos, work to-dos, and remote learning to-dos simultaneously has been no easy feat. My husband and I pause between work emails and calls to toss our four month old back and forth like a chubby little football while also attempting to prep my 5 year old’s trillionth snack request of the day. We’ve had conversations with her about what work is and why we can’t always be available to play every time she requests. In my personal drive to get work done while maintaining some semblance of order at home, though, I discovered that I was developing a trigger response to her requests. She asks for something “Want to – watch a movie, play this game, read this book” and I immediately respond with “Maybe in a little bit” or “I can’t right now”.
I found myself saying this on weekends or in odd moments when I did actually have the time. So I started to remind myself that I could actually say “yes” to my kid. On a recent Saturday I made a point to do this, as much as possible. “Mom watch this!” …Okay! “Mom want to have tea party?”….Okay! “Mom want to build something with my legos?”…Okay!
The thing is, it was so much easier when I said “yes”. Meaning, when I gave her the time and attention, she was happier, I was happier, and I actually found myself with more time to tend to other tasks. Instead of my daughter spending every nano second trying unsuccessfully to get my attention, I offered it up readily. She was emotionally satisfied and was more inspired to do solo playtime throughout the day as a result.
Rather than having the same lame conversation with her about needing to focus on a task for a bit (and somehow expecting my 5 year old to say “Oh my gosh I totally get that you are super busy right now so I’m just going to hang quietly to help you focus for a bit”) I met her where she was at. I said “yes” quickly and easily, I participated in whatever insane activity she presented (which candidly was usually fun and lasted for a solid 4 minutes) and then we moved on. The day ebbed and flowed naturally versus my feeling like I was manually shoving a freight train down the tracks.
So today, if you can, say “yes” to your kid.
In an attempt to do a hundred things at the same time, we may be forgetting why we are doing these things. It’s because we have activities and goals we are passionate about. We have family members we adore. We have a life we love. It should be fun. It should also be hard. These two sides of the coin work in tandem and make the other more pronounced and satisfying. It seems safe to say we’ve all got the hard aspect down. The past 6 months have been a MASTER CLASS in hard. Now let’s take a second to explore the fun part. It truly can be as easy as saying “yes”.