I've heard for years that I should try to be a "yes mom" rather than a "no mom". My first reaction should not be to immediately say no, but to stop and consider. Is there any valid reason not to say yes? Am I just not wanting to bother with it? If there isn't a valid reason, then I should say yes.
But I've realized that I've fallen into an equally bad habit. I basically say "yes, but ..." .
"Yes, you can. Later."
"Yes, but after you clean your room."
"Yes, but not until I finish this task."
"Yes, but not now."
Sometimes I say this and there really isn't a valid reason for the procrastination. Sometimes the request is so small, that it would only take a minute, but I still say "in a little while."
I was doing it again today ... repeatedly telling my 5 year old we'd do it later. And then I stopped. Why was I putting her off? It would only take 5 minutes to paint her fingernails and I was already in the bathroom.
I called her back into the room, and it really did only take me five minutes ... even with the time involved in prying the glued-on lid open. Yet, I'd been putting her off for two days. Why?
Why didn't I step away from that email I had to send? Why didn't I insert "paint L's nails" into my mental to-do list BEFORE the next important project I had to do? Why did I put off something so small and simple that would bless my daughter and make her feel special? Why did I think my list of things to do was so urgent that five minutes couldn't be spared?
It's the same as saying No without a valid reason. Maybe even worse, as my "not nows" and "laters" continue procrastinating the thing I've told them they can do, the thing I've said I will do. Am I teaching the children they are important to me? Am I showing them I love them? Am I lying to them, and teaching them to lie?
Lord, forgive me for all the "not nows" and "laters". Help me to keep my priorities straight, and spend time with my children. Help me not to be just the care-taker meeting their basic needs and supervising their overall safety. Help me to be their loving mother, who meets their emotional and spiritual needs, as well. Help me to build our relationships, and not just tackle a list of tasks. Amen.