I said yes instead.

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Let’s just get right into it here, I’ve never felt like a bad mom until this virus came into our lives.  I have a good amount of patience, I live for spontaneous exploring and keeping busy, and I love my kids more than I even know how to express.  Like so many of you reading this though, our lives were flipped upside down with very little warning this spring. I found myself without childcare as a single parent, trying to work from home while also getting a new business up and running, and with two BIG extroverts stuck in the house without friends or outside interaction- OOOF.  I felt like I was just trying to keep my head above water every single day.  Don’t get me wrong, we were thankful for our health, and the life we have, but there was a sadness that we haven’t experienced before that just seemed to linger. 

It hurt me a little on the inside to be in that state of mind for so long. I’m naturally a positive person, and one who always tries to find the silver lining in everything, and it felt like a failure to not be that person for my friends and family. It really hurt when I noticed it starting to wear on my kids though.  One night, after a particularly tough day filled with arguments and yelling,  I laid in bed with my six-year-old daughter, and she said “Mom, can I tell you something? I’m not happy. I feel so sad and I miss our old life and all my friends.” 

I assured her that those were completely normal feelings and that I felt the exact same way.  We laid there and cried together until we both fell asleep. We are all a little lost, scared, and confused, but I thought I was putting on a brave face and shielding them from it. Spoiler alert, I wasn’t.  After that night, I try to be really aware of my interactions with them. Instead of raising my voice at them when they throw tantrums, I try to take a pause and get to the root of what the real problem is.  Instead of immediately putting them into timeouts, I try to just hug them, remind them that they are loved, and explain to them why what they just did was not OK. But what I noticed the most? How often I was using the word No. 

Once I became aware of it, it felt like it was all I was saying. To be fair, some of them were out of my control. Can we go to the museum? No sweet child, it’s stillllll closed.  However, a good amount of them were in my control, so I decided to have a “Yes Day” instead. 

From when we woke up until bedtime that night, I said yes to every *reasonable* request they made.  Here’s how it went…

We had cookies for breakfast. We went to pick up a new kitty for Ruby Ranch Barn (Yes, they asked for their own kitty. That one was filed under unreasonable because we just adopted a quarantine cat a few months ago). We visited our favorite neighbor/friend. We splashed and played in our basement that had gotten water from the night before.  We went to see their grandma, and when we walked to her backyard and saw the pond had overflown to make a massive swimming pool, we threw caution to the wind and ran through the puddles with the biggest smiles on our faces. They got soaking wet and full of mud and had to be hosed off in the garage when we got back. We had ice cream with dinner.  We sang at the top of our lungs on the drive home, and to end the night, we had a family dance party when it should have been bedtime.  

We all went to bed filled with so much joy that night. The three-year-old couldn’t stop talking about playing in the pond, and the six-year-old said that it was the best day.  There were so many magical moments in that day…So many moments that I could have easily missed.  

And there it was…the silver lining for me. Remembering that no matter how hard these days have been, no matter how much it feels like our world has been turned upside down or how I’ve been letting ALL the balls drop lately … THIS is what can’t be taken away. The little magic in these moments with my kids, and the people we love.  These are the moments I hope they remember from this phase of our life.