How Yes Might Set Me Free

There is a book out there you may have read by tv writer-empire-creator Shonda Rhimes titled Year of Yes, where Shonda writes about her transformative life choice to say yes more often. I have ADHD and use my library to read most books, so I didn’t finish reading it BUT I just got to a recorded episode on my DVR of Oprah’s show Super Soul Sunday (which I love) and she was interviewing Shonda on this book. 

During the interview Shonda explains how life changing one “yes” was for her, which was saying yes anytime her young daughter asked her to play. She goes on to describe the choice as both freeing and life changing. Freeing? To say yes to every play time request? It struck me as counterintuitive.

If I want to feel free I leave the kids with grandma and catch a movie, I don’t give in to every whim and request. But maybe that is the problem. I find myself stretched thin because I am constantly resisting. When he asks me to play I say one more minute, because in reality I DO have to get some work done and I DO have to wash dishes and clothes. The thing is with my toddler is that the more I say “just a second” or “can you wait for mommy to do this” it creates a cycle of unmet needs. These begin piling up and before you know it I’ve got an irritated toddler with his figurative cup barely half full and a mommy who’s already so burnt out she doesn’t want to play Legos for the millionth time. It’s not working for us.

  1. I’m causing a lot of my own stress. I’ve been searching for a way to make these toddler years easier and none of it really involves me giving up control. I love control. I have anxiety which goes hand in hand with my desire to control all aspects of our lives. Still, what we do now is not working for us. Me being constantly in control is not working. 

I wonder what will happen if I give up my control, give into the fear of  it getting my to-do list done and give into the whims of my babies. Shonda says it relieved her of her mom guilt and strengthened her relationship with her kids. Those are two areas of my life I could improve upon, so I see it as a no brainer. I already play with my kid, this is more about stopping what I am doing when I go into to-do list task mode and allowing him to bring me into his world. A world where he’s learning anout everything and excited about the tiniest things. A world where playing with dirt and rocks is fun. A world where I’m his playmate and he cares about my attention. One day he will not need my attention. One day he will not be living in my house. I’m LUCKY.

Maybe if I can actively engage my toddler more, his behavior will improve. One can only hope. I want him to feel loved, to feel seen and heard, and to feel worthy of attention. It’s incredibly difficult to do that with an infant to care for also (and also give the infant attention) but resisting only harbors resentment. We need more love and happiness in our house and in the world. If making this choice can get me in that direction I’m going to try it. 

Wish us luck!


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