"Yes" Days

McKenzie and Aiden Murphy at the beachHappy September!

Yes, that is a hint of happiness you are reading in that salutation! It’s just the start of my favorite time of year - fall in Wisconsin! Cozy fires, sweatshirt weather, and those lovely fall colors are right around the corner. Also in just another week is the Fox Cities Marathon! Lots of things to look forward to in September!

For those of you who know me personally, you may already know that I am the youngest of three, and all of my older siblings jumped into the parenting game long before my husband and I. There are obvious advantages and disadvantages to be the last one to join the game. First, the disadvantages of being the last to have kids: everyone is kind of excited when your first one comes along. There’s a lot more faked excitement by your third. Just while I am very enthusiastic about my house being diaper-free within the next year, my older siblings are comparing notes on how life will change as empty nesters. Just like when we were growing up as kids, I remember things go a certain way when your siblings are at one age, and then you get there and the rules all change. Like the “I can’t travel because I have small children” excuse that oddly disappears once the youngest in the family has small children. Oh well.

Now to the advantages (there are a few). The best advantage is that there are babysitting cousins ready and waiting to provide free childcare while you and your husband enjoy an adult night out when visiting family. Hand me down clothes from the older cousins always come in handy too. Finally, hopefully I can learn from my siblings’ well-earned advice on child-rearing. My favorite advice I recall was during a trip to visit my sister’s family in Boston on a Labor Day weekend over a decade ago. My brother-in-law told me he loved to give his kids “Yes” days. Days when whatever the kids requested, they got. Now the key here is to give your kids very few of these days, otherwise this advice will become an everyday annoyance of asking for things they assume they are getting. But “Yes” days can be lots of fun. Let’s go to the beach. Okay. Ice cream? Sure. Pizza for dinner? Why not. Movie night with popcorn? Sounds great. There will be lots of smiles to go round for the whole day and then some, because let’s face it- we tell our kids “no” ALL THE TIME! And by the way, never tell your children that the day IS the yes day. That’s the beauty of it. (So PLEASE DO NOT SHARE this story with anyone in my family under the age of 18 - thank you!)

As I write this letter today on the way to our “Yes” day of the summer, with our last family trip to the beach, a visit to a storybook garden, and a dinner out at a "beachy-themed" restaurant, I hope that my kids can look back on this and all of their unknowing “Yes” days with fondness. It’s so easy in this busy life to get so overwhelmed by getting through the day or looking forward to the next big summer vacation, that we forget to take advantage of every day and even just a special hour of a day to engage your kids (or your spouse) in a fun and out of the ordinary activity.

Living large, one hour at a time,
Jill Murphy
Owner/Physical Therapist
MotionWorks Physical Therapy