As parents we tend to place huge expectations on ourselves. We want to ‘get it right’, be all things to our children and pile our plate high. We say yes, to doing this, going here, making this, perfecting that, and then the yeses lose their joy.
We’re investing energy we don’t have into things we feel obliged or pressured to do. We may not even want to do something but are more afraid of not doing it.
We evaluate yes with caring, and no with being ‘lazy’ or uncaring. But it’s just not true. We need to drop this story we carry around no, and allow ourselves to make our plates more manageable (and palatable).
Saying NO is positive
Here at The Heart School we don't see saying no as something negative. You'll know kindness is our core value, and still we have learned to say no to the things that don't suit us.
The amazing thing is that saying no more often actually frees you up for more genuine yeses.
Saying “no, not right now” to volunteering on committees you aren't passionate about leaves space for yes to family dinners and evening board games.
“No, I won't” to feeling pressured to stage the perfect party allows us to say yes to celebrating our child with friends and family in a relaxed, less pressured way.
If we dislike finicky food prepping, bento lunch boxes need a no from us. We can still love our children with a more simple style of lunch. No frees us up for yes to more time with our children instead of in the kitchen.
The freedom of choice
Having the right to choose is an important human quality. When we feel pressured as parents to just do what is asked of us, or follow the pack, we are forgoing our power to be selective.
If we say yes to everything we are not showing what we really value.
Part of our individuality is that we lean toward some activities over others. This is so valuable for our children. They'll learn that while all parents feed their children, some love putting their all into it, and others do ‘enough’ and leave space for their real joy.
All parents care for their home, some with huge enthusiasm and heart, and others with a do what's needed and move on to what really lights them up.
We don't have to do it all and be it all, and our children can see that they don't then either. They'll have their own yeses to follow if they witness that permission.