Every Thursday I have my Mama Day, and today it was my Thursday with my lovely kids Noam (boy almost 4) and Misha (girl, 2). Although after several hours of being a lovely mindful parent to my lovely kids, the loveliness started to fade and turned into annoying children and annoying mom. You know the moment when you feel the kids are either hungry or tired and they are all over the place while wearing invisible headphones with loud techno music on?
Same goes for me. I start feeling more tired and uncontrollable and my tolerance level goes from 7/8 (on a good day) to let’s be honest 2 maybe 2.5. And today that happened around 11am. You see, while I was having my 1 minute toilet break these two monkeys started taking all the plates from the kitchen cabinet (luckily most of them were plastic) and putting them in the hallway on the floor. As you can imagine, after seeing everything spread all over the floor, my first instinct was to say (or shout), ‘What are you doing??? The plates will get dirty and we have to clean all of them! Why didn’t you ask me if this was ok’!
Luckily, before the fear voice broke her silence I caught myself and asked, ‘So what’s the problem here? Aren’t they just being super creative’? So, I managed to twist the fear into an opportunity to create a Kitchen game. I took away the few breakable items they took and the game started. Both of them wore a Chef’s hat that we created by putting a diaper on their heads and towels all around; turning the two lovely monkeys into incredible creative and funny looking chefs. We played our chef game for an hour and the restaurant guest (me), who was extremely hungry and just wanted to have all the meals possible, would overeat but then suddenly get hungry again…and again…and again. It was really fun!
When I look back on this moment, I realise how often I say NO to Yes moments. In saying NO I’m not only disconnecting with my kids, because a No is never nice to say, but equally important I’m missing out on a spontaneous and creative moment with my kids.
Especially when a person is tired or hungry it is so easy to go into automatic pilot, and I realized that often when I am on this automatic pilot, a NO is just an automatic reaction. I don’t have to think much or do anything complex if the answer is NO. But actually, a NO is doing the opposite, because you spend time explaining to your kids why you said NO. You have to deal with opposition from you kids, and eventually, deep down inside you are not being particularly proud of all the NO’s you throw out there because let’s face it, it’s not really something that brings your kids closer to you. I also believe that this does not only apply to kids. This definitely applies to many areas and relationships. It applies to all people in general.
I would like to encourage you to pay attention to your NO’s, and see whether you can become more mindful when you throw them out there, does it really have to be a NO or can you use the NO-situation to create a fun and creative activity?