Wonder Why Wednesday: Yes! Edition

This is my final post for Momalom’s Five for Ten. Sniff. I’ll be reading other Five for Ten blog posts for weeks. If you have the time or inclination, hop over to Momalom and check out some of the amazing writing out there.

Since it’s Wednesday, I’m combining Wonder Why Wednesday with today’s topic, Yes.

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When my oldest was around 16 months old, he was a Yes Man. The answer to every question was, Yes! The word escaped in a burst, with emphasis on the s. Yes! A small, quick head bob, chin to chest, seconded the motion. I’m all in. Yes!

Of course, he didn’t know yes from a hole in the wall and we were forever managing toddler tantrums resulting from our inability to read his mind. You said Yes! We thought you meant it! But, really, you do not want to swing. You want to slide. How could we have been so thoughtless as to take you at your word?

Occasional tantrums aside, living in a world of Yes! was infinitely better than the world of No! (a phase that came on the heels of Yes!).

Until I was an adult, I don’t think I agonized a lot over Yes! vs. No! decisions. I think my life was more black and white then. Yes! I will spend the night at your house. No! I will not get in the car with you, strange person. Yes! I’m going to my first choice college. No! I will not go to a party instead of studying. (I totally went to that party instead of studying, but in my head I was saying, “No!”, and I told my parents I said, “No!” Thankfully, that muddled choice worked out just fine in the end.)

Flash forward, I’m out of college – in spite of choosing the occasional party over studying – and I have to decide if it’s Yes! I’ll take the job. Or No! There’s something better out there so I’ll wait.

Yesses (Yeses? Yessi? What is the plural here?) and No’s. Deciding between them is suddenly a process. The choices suddenly have ramifications beyond a semester grade or a summer job.

Somewhere along the line, I think I got kind of caught up in all my serious adultness and forgot the unadulterated joy of living in a Yes! world. I forgot to bob my head, chin to chest, and shout, Yes! Instead it started coming out, head slightly tilted, with a question mark instead of an exclamation point. Yes?

I suspect there are lots of reasons for the shift from ! to ?. A couple that come to mind:

I’ve been burned by too many yesses. All of a sudden the calendar was packed with committee meetings, events, work commitments and very little time for activities that I chose, or for free time with friends and family.

Then I had kids and the me time went way, way down, so it was hard to say Yes! too many times. Yes! meant a lot of coordination on my end and not enough time to manage it all (at least not the way I thought it should be managed).

And one day, even the hesitant Yes? disappeared entirely, becoming No. Before long, I realized I was lonely. Perhaps I was even feeling just a tad unfulfilled with all of my carefully organized me time and family time.

So I started to say Yes! more often. My family started to say Yes! even when our knee-jerk reaction was No, thanks. The payoff? I cannot quantify or qualify it, except to say that Yes! absolutely pays off. Certainly, like my toddler realized during his Yes Man period, sometimes we say Yes! and wow, are we disappointed in the result. Usually, however, wow. Wow. We end up with unique, fulfilling experiences. We have moments, days even, of fun that we would have missed by saying No.

Saying Yes! to putting ourselves out there, to helping someone else, to going out of our way (what we consider out of our way – that’s kind of relative, no?) for an event, social engagement, or activity, gets us out of our own heads. It gets us out of our isolated, small world. Sometimes we learn something. Sometimes we meet new people. Sometimes we see something completely absurd and hysterical, providing us with years of “Do you remember?” moments. Sometimes it’s not that grand. Sometimes it’s just a way to break the routine, to get away from the day-to-day, same old, same old.

Whatever the impetus for answering in the affirmative, whatever the result, I’ve learned that the Yes! phase is better than No!

Except for the times when No is absolutely necessary, I’m going to work being a Yes Woman. So here’s my Wonder Why Wednesday: Yes! Edition:

I wonder, why do you say no instead of yes?

Are you a Yes Man or a No Way? What’s your first instinct?
Do you think life’s better in a Yes! world or am I oversimplifying, Polly Anna-ing the subject?

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Just a quick addendum – the topic of Yes was inspired by Aidan over at Ivy League Insecurities, in honor of her debut novel, Life After Yes. Go get the book! Read it! Then join us over at Motherese to talk about it! Just a suggestion…

15 Comments

  1. The yeses to you children and family time will fill your life with irreplaceable memories. Just be careful not to let other people get so many yeses from you that it comprmises your time and memories with them. I think that is what happened to me. I was everybody’s yes person. Glad I finally figured it out. Now go say yes and create some more memories!

    • Wonderfriend /

      Amen! It’s all about balance. For me, that takes constant work – balance is not my gift (physically or in Life).

  2. Yes to kids, no to time sucks. That’s where I’m trying to get to (I say, as I go through my morning blog prowl.. ;) )

    • Wonderfriend /

      Thanks for making me part of the morning blog prowl!!

      I have not quite figured out the balance for blogging yet. I wholeheartedly agree on no time sucks, though! (So, clearly, blogging is not a time suck!)

  3. Such a thoughtful post, Missy. (And thanks, by the way, for your link to the book club. So nice of you!)

    All of these Yes posts are making me veer back and forth between wanting to say Yes more often and then wanting to be careful to say No when I really mean it. For me, I guess it’s about the mindfulness that I put into each that’s been lacking. As the mom of a baby and toddler, sometimes the days feel full of No, No, No, No, No. And, in that respect, I certainly want to embrace more Yes and reserve No for when I really mean it.

  4. Wonderfriend /

    I think mindfulness is a perfect word for it. Sometimes No is necessary – the right word for the situation.

    There are a lot of no’s in a life with children, aren’t there? Aside from the MANY no’s directed AT the kids, there are all the no’s we have to dole out to other people just so we have enough time/energy to handle life.

  5. I am SUCH a yes woman, but sometimes it gets me into quite a pickle because I wind up with way too many committments! I need to find a better balance with “No”, I think.

  6. I think No is so much easier, safer, and Yes can be such a wonderful risk word.
    I’m with you, trying to be more of a yes woman :)

  7. What a great post. I think that is awesome that your baby was a yes man before he turned to no. BOth of mine were in love from NO from jump. And I loved what you wrote about how when we become adults suddenly the consequences of our decisions are so much more serious. That is so true. And something I am always trying to talk to my 5 year old about, so that he can understand better why we have to have consequences now so he can learn before the real serious adult consequences come.

    Anyway, great post!! So happy I found your blog and look forward to reading more from you!

    • Wonderfriend /

      Naomi, thanks for stopping by! We just experienced some unfortunate consequences over here after a bad decision by the 4-year-old. ;) It’s tough, but I agree with you – it’s such an important part of their development.

  8. It seems easier and safer to say no sometimes…

    Stopping in to welcome you to SITS!
    .-= Shell´s last blog ..Custom Greeting Cards Giveaway =-.

  9. After my daughter was born I used no! way to much. There were schedules and bonding time and family time and I started to feel to isolated. Then I seemed to say yes! way to much, even now. I need to find a better balance. This was such a great post.
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..The Mommyhood vs The Daddyhood: In the Trenches Together =-.

  10. I think we can all benefit from a yes once and a while. After reading so many insightful yes posts, I made a commitment to myself and my daughter that I would say yes to one of her questions at least once a day (within reason). Yesterday she wanted to wear a dress – I usually say no, not really knowing why, but yesterday, I said Yes. And you know what? We were both happier for it.
    .-= Rudri Patel´s last blog ..Congratulations . . . =-.

  11. I try to say yes, but the mommy in me says No way too much!

    I came by to welcome you to SITS! We’re happy to have you with us!
    .-= greedygrace´s last blog ..Mailbag Monday =-.

  12. I love the idea of the the “Do You Remember?” moments. And you are so right that we don’t have those when we are stuck in the NO.

    Saying Yes, I’ve found, is like just letting go. And even when I get hung up on the fact that I’m giving in to someone else (answering THEIR questions, wishes or wants with a YES), I then realize that, in the end, I’m really truly saying YES just as much to myself.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..What was I thinking getting in front of the camera? =-.

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