This Summer, I’m Saying Yes.

This Summer, I’m Saying Yes.

Most of the year, my default setting is “no.”

I love my day-in, day-out, ordinary life. I love the flow of our regular days, and I love nights in, when the kids hop in bed right on time and we grown-ups have hours to spend alone.

I really like home, and so does the rest of my family. I wouldn’t trade that for the world. But it gives me lots of good reasons to say no.

We say no to baseball games and fireworks displays, community festivals and cookouts that go way past their bedtime. We skip concerts and dinners out and too many playdates in one week. We even skipped our beloved farmers’ market last weekend because taking 4 kids is so much work.

I say no because the kids whine and cry when they’re hot and tired, and piling six of us in the minivan is hard (but not as hard as when daddy’s at work and only 5 of us are climbing in) and the sun is so hot and their bedtime is so early and they’re allergic to everything and why don’t we just stay home.

I have good reasons to say no, but I think I might be saying it too much. Especially for summertime.

So this summer, I will say yes–and we will hit the splash park with friends in the hot sunshine and spend too many hours at pool. We’ll stay up way too late for ballgames and fireworks displays. We’ll hike and play and maybe even fish. We’ll pick berries and chase and run and visit. We will take the long way.

Many of you already lead lives packed full with activity, and you probably think I’m crazy. I hear people talk a lot about how they need to learn to say no, but I need encouragement to say yes.

So be it.

This summer, I’m saying yes.

Is it harder for you to say yes or say no? Does that change in the summertime?

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  1. It is definitely harder for me to say no to things that I should, so that I have time and energy to say yes to other things. This summer I am saying yes to family and friends, and no to a lot of peripheral activities.

  2. I can totally relate! We have an early bedtime for the kids. I am not a huge fan of big playdates, etc… I’m sure my friends think I am the most boring person! We still will mostly do stuff as a family, but I am planning on regular outings to the zoo, the pool, the splash park, etc. We’ll do it with friends sometimes, too, but it will mostly be family outings.

  3. Kerry says:

    For inspiration you might like following Jenny Meyerson’s blog. She talks about life lists, she has 4 kids and she seems to be busy with her kids. Her link is here:

    I love your blog and enjoy your writing!! We try to get up and get out every day, I blog about that on my site as well, but I only have two kids, they are under the age of 7. I tyrannize them to make them do what I want as retribution for the many years of sleeplessness. πŸ™‚

    • Anne says:

      “I tyrannize them to do what I want as retribution for the many years of sleeplessness.” Hahaha!

      Thanks so much for the kind words, Kerry! And I know Jenny from twitter and have stopped by her blog (which seems to mean your recommendation was right on target!)

  4. It is so much harder for me to say yes – I’m a total homebody, and dragging the kids out (especially when it’s hot) is so much WORK. And I only have 2!

    My husband is usually good at pushing me to say yes more, but it’s one of the hardest things about having kids for me. My son always wants to go somewhere – anywhere – so I have to balance what he wants with what I can handle (and work around his sister’s naps too. ha!)

    • Anne says:

      Oh, naptime’s a killer.

      I had to push myself to say yes even before I had kids. Having kids gave me more reasons to say No, but they definitely weren’t the only cause of this tension for me.

  5. I can really relate. I have to force myself to say yes sometimes- especially when I’m tired, especially when it’s a lot of work. I think it’s worth it. Otherwise opportunities get missed; there’s often no ‘perfect’ time to do things with kids.

  6. Jennifer Haddow says:

    I tend to say “no” a lot, too, but not as often as my husband, unless I say “yes” (think Spring Campout). My “yeses” are often on my terms. “No, we won’t go to the pool at 2 pm when it’s so hot outside, but yes, we’ll go after dinner for an hour.”

    Maybe I need to think outside my box, too.

  7. Tim says:

    Anne, we were careful with the kids’ time growing up too. Still, there are occasions – seasons even – when yes is the mode to follow. I saw this in action at a conference at Mount Hermon this past weekend. One of the seminar leaders was in the snack bar with his family. He and his wife had their four girls (age 10, 8, 6 and 3) at the ice cream counter and they were selecting flavbors and sizes and cones. This was 9:00 at night and they were having a blast.

    The next morning I asked him how it was putting the kids to bed after that sugar load. He said being at camp was when they threw out all the rules, figuring it was more inportant to make memories than to adhere to their bedtimes. Now that’s good parenting.


    • Anne says:

      Tim, the idea of making memories is something I’ve really grabbed onto in the last couple of years. I’m willing to mess up everybody’s schedule (including mine) if we’re busy making some good memories!

  8. Rebecca says:

    “Mornings are for mom, afternoons are for adventure” But then my kids are 9-14, so I’m not sure I count πŸ™‚ We tend to keep our evenings out church (2x a week) and having a campfire, which is pretty low key.

    • Anne says:

      Wise words, Bekki! I think evening campfires sound awesome–and it’s not something we ever do where we live. The closest we can come is making s’mores on the grill πŸ™‚

  9. Jayne says:

    When your kidlets are grown and gone, you’ll be so happy you did! They will recall fondly of all those magical summer moments spent together, outside their normal routine. I, too, am a nester and would prefer to be home most of the time. But I need to think carefully why I’m saying no instead of yes. Listen to your heart. πŸ™‚

  10. Michelle // To Mother With Dignity says:

    My son is still pretty little, so there aren’t many scheduled things yet, but I have a feeling this will be me in the future. I’m definitely a home body, but it’s good to get out of the shell sometimes! Being an INFP certainly has a different set of challenges.

    I hope I can remember this in a few years!

  11. michele says:

    Me. Too…. I just told my husband tonight that we need to do a better job of saying “yes” whenever we can, hopefully to balance out all the “no”s I seem to be tossing around. Blessings to you in this journey! Keep us posted!

    • Anne says:

      Michele, I’m reminding myself today that this is my summer to say Yes, as we think about going to Day Out With Thomas (the Tank Engine) this weekend. It would make our little boy very, very happy–but it’s so much work!

  12. Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama says:

    I go stir crazy if we are at home too long, but I hear you on the bedtime/ nap time thing. Those times are sacred… no questions asked! But I have found myself saying YES more… even if it means skipping bath because we were out a bit late. (Skipping bath is huge for me because I am such a routine person.)

  13. We try to say yes a lot to all sorts of things. This is why naptime and bedtime have never been sacred in our house. I’m not about to skip a fun family weekend outing since it might mean someone doesn’t nap at a certain time in a crib. I think as a result our kids are pretty flexible. Sometimes there are meltdowns. But they can deal with a lot of change and they’ve had a lot of great experiences. I think sometimes we get very excited about nap time and bedtime because they give us a break. But there are other ways to get breaks too (babysitter, family, trading off with partner, etc.)

    • Anne says:

      “I think sometimes we get very excited about nap time and bedtime because they give us a break.”

      This describes me very well. I’ve finally realized it and have been much more proactive about scheduling breaks for myself–ones that don’t happen at bedtime or naptime.

      We’ve definitely had our share of meltdowns, but I’ll agree–I’m willing to endure a few meltdowns in the name of great family experiences. I’ll probably have to remind myself of that a lot this summer πŸ™‚

    • Ana says:

      I need to internalize this…we are very very routine creatures, and schedule our lives around nap times & bed times & making things “easier”. In some ways it is fine…we are happy in our routines & definitely have fun parts (park time, sunday morning bagels at the coffee shop, etc…) but we shy away from more “adventurous” plans. I give myself the excuse that my children are so young now, but I know you have the same age baby Laura so I have NO excuse!

      • @Ana and Anne – it helps that my husband has an even more adventurous streak. Last night, he decided to take the two older kids out for a drive at 9pm. Yes, they got to bed late. On the other hand, it was the last day of preschool, and it was fun. Isn’t summer supposed to be fun?

      • Anne says:

        Ana, adventurous plans are fun, but each family’s different. My friend has two autistic boys, and breaking routine to go out for ice cream after bedtime wouldn’t be fun for them–it would be horrifying!

        Do what you think is best for your family–and have a great summer!

  14. Virginia says:

    Love this Anne! I think I have leaned toward “no” as well. Mine usually has to do with naptimes, but I’ve given a little on that and have moved them back an hour for a play date and it worked out fine. & the farmer’s market – I feel ya. I’m always hot and sweaty after fishing through the crowds with the little ones πŸ˜‰

  15. Pingback: Summer Sundays
  16. avital says:

    I just found your blog and after reading two entries I think I am in love with your blog! (I refuse to read 50 shades of grey, and love love love lattes.)
    I am a step mother to two young yummies and often end up being the “no” parent because my husband can be a bit of a “Disney” dad (feels guilty about the divorce and therefore has difficulty saying no to his children that he loves endlessly.) He has been working on this and I am very excited about the prospect of being able to say “yes” more often this summer!

  17. Jeannie says:

    I could really relate to this post. Our son has some disability issues incl. autism spectrum, and we have had so many difficult outings (even ten-minute drives to Grandma’s house can be disastrous) that my default position is definitely no. My husband is much more likely to say “Oh, let’s try it” while I say “No, let’s not bother” — particularly since I’m very much a homebody as is my daughter. We find too that some activities work better if only one parent goes (I’m not sure why that is) so we have learned not to hold “Let’s do it all together as a family” up as an ideal all the time. The balance between honouring our son’s comfort level, encouraging him to be a bit more flexible, and remembering our daughter’s need to have some brother-free time is one we constantly strive to find. This is definitely something for our family to keep in mind as summertime approaches; thanks.

  18. Shana Norris says:

    It is harder for me to say yes, when it comes to keeping the kids out past their bedtimes, or interrupting our schedules, because I’m a routine person, I love being home, and my kids are NOT fun when they’re tired. AND, no matter what time they go to bed, they’re up at 6:00 AM. If they go to bed on time (around 8:00) or three hours late, they’re still up at the crack of dawn.

  19. Shelley says:

    We are tending to go a lot more this summer than usual. Typically we schedule to have friends come to our house (we seem to be the drop-off house) or we hit our local pool for an hour. We are still doing those things, but I’m finding the unscheduled downtime loooong this summer. I mean, I can only clean, read and workout for so long, and now that my kids are a bit older (9, 10 and 13), they help out. So I try to schedule 1-2 fun outings (museum, waterpark, book club, berry-picking) or activities per week, not on consecutive days. We keep mornings free to do quiet times, workout, clean up the kitchen, etc. and then we head out. In between we are home or have friends over to play a bit post-lunch. And while I feel I’m a full time social scheduler (not an easy job :)) I am enjoying the new experiences with my kids. Heck, I think I’ll corral the kids and head out for a bike ride this morning and maybe a trip to the library! πŸ˜‰

  20. Sophia says:

    My children are allergic to everything. All common foods, perfumes, you name it. When we go to the beach, I pack three days worth of food (cooked and uncooked) with us. I take a hotplate and a cooler full of ice. When we are out and about with our homeschooling buddies, our food is already with us in the car. No stopping at some fast food restaurant for socializing after the event. So, I totally get it. Some days, I just don’t feel like cooking ahead, loading all the stuff and driving somewhere, so that I spend hours unloading later that day. We enjoy our own little piece of land though. The kids can run outside all day long (well, until it gets very hot, anyway).

  21. Brittney says:

    My default has become saying no… because it turns out play dates and other people’s expectations cause me undo stress. I adore staying home and saying yes to the sweet simple requests of my little girls. And I always say yes to cousin time πŸ™‚

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