Yesterday, Ella and Lukey and I were heading out for the day. She's 2 and a half and hit that, "Don't mess with my hair" phase and is trying to refuse brushing, bows, pigtails, a ponytail, etc. God did not give her that kind of hair-do! It needs HELP! Like serious help, every.single.day. It's as curly and frizzy and fuzzy and just about as big of a mess as messy hair can get. Anywho, I said to her, "Ella baby, if you will let mommy brush it and put pigtails in it, as soon as we get back home, you can take it right out." And for whatever reason, I basically hit the lottery and she AGREED!
So we went out and did our thing and the second she walked in the door, I saw her tugging at her ponytails. And of course, I'm like, "Oh Ella honey, you don't want to take down your pretty hair, do you?!?!?! It look so CUTE in those piggy tails!"
"Momma, you said as soon as we got home, I could take them out." and at that moment, I had a massive decision to make.
A massive decision over pony tails?!?!?! You ask. For real, Rhonda! Yes. For real.
I could hear the scripture Matthew 5: 37 in the back of my head, "Simply let your 'Yes' be a 'yes' and your 'No,' 'No.' The Message Bible says it like this, "Just say 'yes' and 'no.' When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong. "
Emphasis on "YOU GO WRONG."
And so I said, "You are right Ella. Let me help you take those out." And the girl had CRAZY hair for the rest of the day. Do I like crazy hair? NO! Could I live with it? Yep!
With my first strong-willed child, I would have made the exact same promise, "Oh, You can take it out as soon as we get home," but then when we got home, I'd have begged, bribed, and eventually even yelled at her or scorned her for taking it down. I'd have told her one thing to get my way, and then tried to get my way again. And again and again. And as the bible says, I'd go wrong. Those years were filled with tantrums. Frustration. Time-outs. Crying. Crying. and more Crying on both of our parts.
The lengths we go to to get our own way guys! It's embarrassing. It's pride. It's manipulative. It's wrong. And it kills relationships of every kind at every age and stage of life. Being a person of your word, Oh my goodness, that is PRICELESS.
It sound like such a trivial thing, but babies, even two year old babies are so smart. They know and learn very quickly, I can trust my momma's word, OR she is going to change her mind on me. My goal now is to be a momma of my word, at every opportunity I get, so that I can have a life-long relationship that is built on trust.
My first several years of motherhood were painful. I wanted to get it right. I also wanted it to be all about me and my ways and my ideas all the time. Of course, I did not think that at the time! Sometimes it was as silly as, I want her to look cute so people will think she's adorable and I'm a "good" mom, and I'd do anything to prove that. Sometimes I'd say YES and then for no good reason at all, other than my pride, change my mind. Just as often as I'd say "NO!" and then quickly change my mind when the tantrumming was something I didn't feel like dealing with.
The best advice I have is this, PAUSE. Stop and think before you speak, if I say "Yes" can I stick to my word? If I say "No" am I willing to stick to it, no matter what. KIDS ARE SMART! Way Smart!
If we truly said Yes and stuck to it, and said No and stuck to it, think about how much more joyful our homes would be. Think about the nagging we would NOT have to hear.
Sometimes I simply say, "I can't give you an answer now, but I'll tell you as soon as possible. Don't keep bugging me or the answer will be no."
I am writing this because I have the knowledge to know what I NEED to do, but if I'm honest, Mike and I struggle to let our 'Yes' be 'Yes' and our 'No,' 'no!' It's like everything else that the bible teaches us, often so difficult to do, but the reward of sticking to it is PRICELESS!
Of course, there are always exceptions. Sometimes we say yes before we have all the information we need to make a good decision and vise versa. There are certainly times that things change and the right thing to do is change our mind. Kids need to be taught how to roll with a change of plans when a change of plans can't be avoided. Chances are, they will model our behavior and how well we roll with a change of plans, (a post for another day!)
When you can, let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no,' 'no' so that you can have more Joy and less Chaos in your home!