This post is part of the 31 Days to Flourish in Motherhood series. Click here for the whole list!
Our annual trip to visit my in-laws over Labor Day weekend was a delicate business this year. We usually try to plan various activities for the weekend: the zoo, the botanical gardens, family walks around the neighborhood, window shopping in a town of local shops… this year, I was aware of my limitations. I knew that multiple walking-heavy activities weren’t going to work for me. We decided to give the science center a shot, and I survived, but clomping around all morning in the air boot certainly exhausted me.
Late that afternoon, the adults were starting to get things together for a barbeque dinner. Little G was still napping, but E was up and ready to roll (how does he have that much energy all the time???). I entered the kitchen just in time to hear my father-in-law say to him, “That’s up to your mom.” Ahh, those words… E ran over to me and excitedly asked if he could please play in the sprinkler because Granddad was watering and the sprinkler was on and it was hot outside and it would be sososoFUN.
I paused, considering. E didn’t have swim trunks. He didn’t have sunscreen. We didn’t really have that much play time before dinner. I didn’t have the energy to go out with him, and I always feel a bit guilty just turning my little tornado over to the sole care of someone I’m not paying.
But. Granddad was offering. And E was waiting…
“Yes,” I said, “I bet that would be a lot of fun.”
E stopped in his tracks, surprised. Holding his breath. Almost certain he had heard me wrong. I think I saw a look of surprise flicker over my father-in-law’s face, too. Their reactions told me something: I’m really good at saying no.
But what did it hurt to say yes? My little love got wet and dirty and worn out and had the absolute time of his life, and at what cost? A little bit of water and probably some tiring out on the part of my father-in-law (a man who loves doing things to make my children smile). E came inside in plenty of time for dinner, washed up, and changed clothes. He was achingly exhilarated by the whole experience.
The only difference it made for me to say yes was that my E received an extra measure of joy. More happy memories. Quality time with the Granddad he adores.
A few days ago, I wrote about how important it is to flourish as the mom that you are and not try to meet everyone else’s expectations of you as a mother. So let me clarify: I didn’t say yes to the sprinkler in an attempt to be Fun Mom. I said yes because I knew it was the best thing to do at that time. Saying yes to fun things is something I’m trying to do more often. I want to incorporate that into my style because it benefits my children and adds sparkle to our days.
Over the next few days, I’m going to be writing a mini-series within this series. Will you join me as I step outside my comfort zone and say yes to flourishing through fun?