Saying yes is hard. Really hard. It’s no wonder that “no” is one of the first words spouted by infants everywhere because it’s literally all they ever hear. Sure, many of the “no’s” we as parents are throwing around have more to do with fostering a safe, injury-free environment for our youngsters than with our general closed-mindedness, but the negativity flourishes even in our rare child-free hours as I will soon exhibit.
In my nearly two weeks of experimenting with saying yes I’ve done little more than create a heightened awareness of all my nay-saying. I can think of only one specific case where I turned a “no” into a “yes” and it was at the suggestion that we take our kids to a (gasp!) public restaurant for dinner. A sit-down restaurant, with real servers and lots of other grown-ups (read: not McDonald’s Play Place). Sean has a much greater tolerance for putting our children in front of the world at large than I do. I prefer to keep them confined to our home or at least to a park where there is certain to be one other child behaving more irrationally than mine. My first response was, of course, “no,” but with a smirk and an eyebrow raise from Sean I quickly recovered and flipped that “no” on its head and into a convincing “okay…um, sure…really?…alright, fine, let’s do it.” And that’s how I ended up at the Texas Roadhouse with my entire flock (Stop judging, Chicagoans, these are the dining options I’m faced with in Colorado Springs, okay? Also the ribs are amazing and you know it.). I’m happy to report that K & K put my negativity to shame! Granted they were stunned into submission at the fact that they were allowed and even encouraged to throw peanut shells on the floor, but nonetheless it was a family breakthrough in the dining out department. Dare I say, I actually enjoyed myself.
Where I find myself struggling the most is not in agreeing to things I would otherwise have disagreed with, but in my overall resistance to and judgment of people, places and experiences. I tend to create snap judgments and find myself unable to back up and reassess the situation more openly. This is especially true when it comes to people that I just don’t like. For example, I’m currently signed up for a 5-week yogi training that has about 15 students and 3 coaches in the group. Due to the negative judgments I’ve made about a particular individual in my class, I now find myself unable to learn from and collaborate with this person. In fact, the judgments keep piling up. The irony of this as it relates to “the path of a yogi” is not lost on me. A part of me knows that the answer to my dilemma lies in powering through the negativity and getting to know this person on a deeper level so that I can better relate to them or at least be able to approach the relationship from a more compassionate place. Uh huh. The bigger part of me still thinks this sounds like a pretty shitty idea. Do I have to like everyone? Does my personality have to “say yes” to every other personality out there? What if the person, in addition to sucking overall, has toxic breath? Do I get a pass then? Ugh…I knew this was going to be way harder than going phone-free.
I’m nowhere closer to letting go of my expectations of how things should go either. This became evident over Mother’s Day weekend. After having corrective eye surgery on Friday, I expected to be mostly blind and bedridden for the majority of the weekend, thus having no real plans in place. As it turned out, I was more than a little bit functional post-op and this completely threw me for a loop. Most of you are probably out there going, “but your surgery went better than expected, isn’t that a good thing?” Not when you have a crippling addiction to making and having plans. And when Plan B involving a babysitter on Saturday night fell apart due to the weather, you can imagine what that did to my mindset. I actually lost my mind altogether, and by Sunday was either crying or in a sleeping pill-induced coma. Happy Mother’s Day! By Monday I had realized what an insane person I was and would now like to publicly apologize to my husband and children. That being said, I’m not even sure how I begin to change the part of myself that doesn’t like to roll with the punches. How do I say yes to unexpected change? Or at the very least, not let it ruin my weekend? Some people, even some mothers I dare say, embrace changes to their best laid plans gracefully. If anyone out there has a 12-step program for my special type of addiction, or hell, even an article you think I should read, bring it on.
Here’s to the next two weeks of saying no…I mean, yes. 🙂