The other morning before the sun had even risen, my very charming four-year-old ran into our bed room and shook me awake. Our conversation went like this:
My son: “Mama, Mama, I have a great idea!”
Me: “Oh yeah, what’s that?” (In my mind, I’m thinking, “Do you really have to be up so early on a Saturday morning?”)
My son: “What if we had CANDY for breakfast?”
Of course, like any good mother, my instant reaction was, “absolutely not!” But shockingly, before I could stop it from coming out, I blurted, “Why Not?” My son looked at me with a shocked expression, as I don’t think even he thought that he was going to get away with this outlandish request.
We went downstairs to the kitchen and found the jelly beans stashed up high in the pantry. We picked out 12 jelly beans. Six for him and six for me. (I wasn’t going to miss out on the fun!) Then we made our regular old steel cut oats, and instead of boring apples and cinnamon on top, we placed the six sweet candy in each bowl!
My son’s eyes were brimming with absolute delight as he contemplated which color he was going to eat first. I laughed out loud at the questionable nature of my parenting skills and the sheer fun we were having. We sat at the table eating our jelly bean-topped oatmeal and talked about how crazy it was to eat CANDY for breakfast, and what a special treat we were getting to share. Before I knew it, my son had eaten an entire bowl of nutritious oatmeal and six measly jelly beans. More importantly, we had created a memory that I hope he’ll never forget.
A few days after our candy breakfast, my son said to me, “Remember when we had jelly beans for breakfast, mama? That was the best breakfast ever!”
Of course we won’t have candy for breakfast every day or even every month. But I learned a great lesson that day. Being a “good mom” isn’t about always following the rules. It’s also about creating memories and instilling delight and a sense of wonder in our kids. Since that day a few weeks back, I’ve looked for more opportunities to say, “Why Not?” when my son asks to do something that may not be a part of the “good mom” rule book. What I’ve found is that by not saying “no” all the time, I am a lot happier and my son is a lot more reasonable when I do have to draw the line.
So here’s my mom challenge to you: Give yourself permission to say, “Why Not?” more often.
Do you have a “why not” story to tell? Please share in the comments below!