If You Tend To Be A “No” Mom… (Fun Ideas And Resources For Moms Part 1–Around The House)

Last week I shared with a local group of women about being a
“Yes Mom”.

You know–
one of those fun, creative, inspiring moms who looks for ways to say “yes” whenever possible.

But in many ways, being a “no mom” is what comes naturally to me,
especially if I’m feeling wiped out or overwhelmed or I’m sick or…

Or if I don’t want to create more laundry.
Or if I don’t want to deal with playdough crumbs.
Or if I am not in the mood to add to our bug collection.
Or if it’s raining and I’m tired of puddle-drips across the kitchen floor.
Or if sidewalk-chalk-fingerprints on sweatshirts make me cringe.

Or if my daughter’s banana bread will mean more dishes.
Or if the Lego creations are taking over our family room.
Or if I’m out of wall space to hang new artwork.
Or if the neighborhood pals mean more bodies in our already body-filled-house.

You get the point.
I can usually think of some reason to say “no”
There are way too many situations when
I need-to-must-don’t-have-a-choice-absolutely-am-forced-to–
say no.

So, I’ve made it a personal parenting goal to say “yes” as often as possible when I have the opportunity to say–

Photo by my special friend Kim

 So the talk ended up more being about–


Because that’s more what I can relate to.
And I promised several of the women that I’d follow up with a post sharing a few of my top favorite resources and ideas:

Part 1–  Around the House:

–Our theme for around the house is: 

“Make good things accessible and leave time for them to actually be used.”

While there is a definite benefit to involvements and activities outside of the home, children are less likely to dig in and really create, imagine, construct, finish, and play in their home environment, if they don’t have good chunks of time around the house. 


If their daily home time is constrained to ten-minute-increments of down time in between basketball practice, piano lessons, dance recitals and karate…they are not likely to really dig in and devote time to in-depth play.

And honestly, I’m the same way.  If our family is overscheduled, it’s more difficult for me to say “yes” when they want to pull out the playdough. 

But in an age of constant activity, it takes effort to swim against the current and “do nothing” so that I feel the freedom to say “yes” when the kids want to do a lot around here.

–It also helps me to think in designated areas… 

If we have a designated area for Legos and Lego creations, I’m more excited about them building massive Lego alien ships or ginormous Lego castles (that they’re going to want to leave out for days-and-days on end).  For us, it’s the same with puzzles. 

No child (or person) enjoys starting a complicated puzzle, only to be told after an hour of hard work, that it must be packed up and put away. 

Our puzzle table and Lego shelves

 So, we have a designated puzzle table that stays out year-around.  Creating specific locations for artwork, photos, trains, dress-up clothes, books…all of that helps me say “yes” when our kids want to access those different options. 

We installed a mailbox unit under our kitchen counter for letters-to-and-from-kids-family-members to be delivered.

–Another “yes mom” idea for around the house involves toy choices.

Rather than allow the kids to accumulate random toys (which to some extent is unavoidable), we try to stick to some of the long-stage-lasting-classics like: 

Playmobil, Legos, puzzles, art supplies, Zoobs, Snap Circuits, books, magndoodles, doll houses, rock collections, play kitchens, marble runs, dress-up supplies, books, tools, dolls…

Toys and collections that can be added to over time and that will last through many stages of childhood can help encourage me towards saying “yes” because I sense I’m helping them invest in something that will last for a bit longer.

–Our garage-to-playroom-transformation has been so helpful in helping me say “yes” more often. 

I’m much more willing to have over crowds of kiddos now that we have an open, easy space for them to play in when they can’t be outside. 

It has also really helped me to move all of the kids’ shoes and jackets into the garage, where we most often exit and enter. 

Saying “yes” to a rain walk it more appealing when the rainboots are lined up and it’s easy to drop their wet gear in the garage before we re-enter the house.  I know not everyone has a space like that available (or a husband who is ready to give up parking indoors)…but even just considering giving up a portion of a room, or maybe an unused “dining room area”, might create a kid-friendly space that would help inspire a willingness to say “yes” more often.

Dissecting owl pellets on the trays

–And finally one random idea that has helped me tons…cafeteria trays. 

When our children were all really little, we purchased some cafeteria-style trays and started using them for everything.  We use them for playdough, bead work, painting, craft projects, stamp art, L.H.O.T.P. night (dinner & a show) and for so many other activities.  They contain the mess, are easy to wash out…and remove many of my excuses for saying “no”.

For other around-the-house-organizational ideas–check out Reclaiming Your Walls…Fun Decorating Ideas!

And if you don’t want to miss the next 4 posts in this Fun-Ideas-And-Resources-For-Moms Series, please take a moment to subscribe by email, follow along, or join us on Facebook.

Part 2– Educational
Part 3– Outdoors/Nature/Physical Activity
Part 4– Family Traditions
Part 5– Spiritual/Parenting

“…do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
~Colossians 3:21
“For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds,
and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?
Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him
So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them…”
~Matthew 7:8-12
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights
with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”
~James 1:17

Would love to hear what helps you say “yes” more often…

*Sharing with thanks at Finding Heaven.

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  1. Fantastic tips, I’m a childminder in the UK and really agree with compartmentalising activities, this really does help you say yes more often. Our toys are all separated into theamed boxes, this helps with tidying up, finding what you need and toy rotation. Saying yes more than no saves on tantrums and encourages children to use yes more than no too! A positive attitude is a happy attitude :-)


  1. […] and invite over a household of busy-little-people-things. Our house is used. I try hard to be a “yes” mom. And our mini van with its stale-french-fry-cranberry-cracker-filled-cup-holders, would probably […]

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