Wednesday, I got home from working after a long day. I wanted to hug on my boys and face the, “What’s for dinner?” million dollar question. We finally decided to grab some dinner at a local place because I sure wasn’t cooking, and we all headed out the door together to the restaurant of choice. As we approached the car we usually take for family trips, Nathan pitched a minor hissy fit. Jason and I both knew what he wanted. He loves to ride in the “other” car – the magical one Daddy takes to work (well, maybe he thinks Daddy actually works in the car – it’s unclear). He had gotten the chance earlier in the day while adventuring around town with Daddy. It wasn’t enough. He wanted more. Instead of saying, “No” because it would have been more convenient to stick with the routine or because he was asking in a less than gracious way, I immediately said, “OK.”

I know that most parents think giving in to children in these situations is a poor parenting decision. It can teach kids that they have control. It can undermine your authority. It can… yada yada yada. I’ve heard it. I know. I’ve been paying attention to parenting advice for at least 15 years. But, I disagree.

In fact I rejoice in my freedom to parent differently. I rejoice in my freedom to say yes to my boy. My belief is that every time I say “Yes” when Nathan asks me for something, I’m depositing trust in his Mama-bank. “Yes, we can have cereal instead of eggs.” “Yes, we can read one more book before nap – OK, two.” “Yes, we can stop at the playground after we stop at the grocery store and yes, Curious George can come too.” That way, when the answer has to be “No,” he knows that he can trust that, whenever possible, Mama will give a “Yes.” And one of the biggest payoffs? The laugh of triumph I get every time. It’s not the laugh that says, “I got you.” It’s the laugh that says, “Yay! Mama said yes!”

Yes, my darling. Your Mama said “Yes!!”