My inner adult said ‘no’ to playing in the rain. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her.

Sometimes parenting is about embracing “yes” instead of always saying “no.”

My inner adult said ‘no’ to playing in the rain. I’m glad I didn’t listen to her.

Without warning, the autumn skies turned black as the heavens opened up in the land of the long white cloud. The subtropical raindrops began hammering down as my son pushed open the heavy glass door and enthusiastically sprinted out onto the deck to run around in the wet.

My automatic reaction was to shout, "Stop! Don't slip! Come back inside, you'll get cold!”

That’s the sort of thing a good mother would say, right?

But something stopped me. Maybe it was because it was my birthday. Or maybe it was seeing the wet smile on my son's happy face. Whatever it was, in that moment I chose surrender. To say YES instead of NO. And so I joined him.

Within seconds we became completely soaked through. The feeling of wet clothes against my body reminded me of a younger, more carefree version of myself. For me, parenting has been an unprecedented catalyst for self-awareness; my son is a metaphorical mirror reflecting an image that most of the time I like, but sometimes I don’t.

In our saturated clothes, I wondered when it was that I started to lose my carefree self...

Where was the girl who enthusiastically jumped out of a plane when she was 19? Who wasn’t afraid to take risks?

A girl who lived by the mantra that we regret the things we don't do more than the things we do. That we regret the chances we pass up in this one precious life of ours. In short, the girl whose default was to say YES.

Like most of us, I tend to be too hard on myself and I acknowledge the boundless promise of youth naturally fades a little as we "grow up." Yet in asking these questions and in choosing to say “yes” instead of “no,” I feel emboldened as I realize my carefree self is still there. As George Bernard Shaw so eloquently said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

My son constantly tries to shake the fun-loving child inside of me from her slumber; urging me to meet him in his magical world as he yearns to connect in the best way he knows how. So, as parents why has our default setting become NO?

I wonder if it’s because it's easier to resist. To push back. To be the responsible adult. The parent. To make logical, responsible decisions as we worry about what somebody else, even strangers, may think of us. While I'm the first to admit we can’t say YES all the time, I'd bet most of us can say it a lot more than we do. So my message is a simple one: Let’s choose to say YES.

Let's eat ice cream in the bath. Dance in the rain. Let our kids stay up after dark occasionally to watch a movie or wait for the stars to appear. Let's play. Let's get wet and dirty and messy together. Let's invite fun. Build connection. And make insanely happy deposits in our children’s memory banks.

Let’s plunge into the deep wells of positivity our children’s innocent requests promise to sprinkle our lives with and invite moments into our days that nourish our life-affirming connection with them.

Saying yes reclaims a piece of the fun-loving child hibernating inside all of us and importantly, it raises children who will welcome life. Who will say yes to opportunity. Who will be brave, courageous and fearless.

I'm far from fatalistic, but I firmly believe that our kids are sent to challenge us to be better people; to shine a light on the inner work we need to do, daring us to reclaim our childlike wonder and see life anew. The only way we can do that is by feeling more and thinking less as we step outside our comfort zones and dance in the rain.

A version of this post originally appeared on Raised Good.

10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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Our Partners

Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Earth Mama: Effective, natural herbal care for mamas and babies

Founded and grown in her own garage in 2002, Earth Mama started as an operation of one, creating salves, tinctures, teas and soaps with homegrown herbs. With a deep desire to bring the healing powers of nature that have been relied on for thousands of years to as many mamas as possible, Melinda Olson's formulas quickly grew into Earth Mama Organics. Since then, the brand has remained committed to manufacturing clean, safe and effective herbal solutions for the entire journey of motherhood, including pregnancy, breastfeeding and baby care, and even the loss of a baby.

Bravado Designs: Soothing sounds for a good night's sleep

With 28 years of serving pregnant and postpartum mamas under their belt, Bravado Designs is a true authority on the needs of changing bodies. It's true that we have them to thank for rescuing us from the uncomfortable and frumpy designs our own moms had to live with. Launched in Canada by two young mamas, they designed the first prototypes with extra leopard print fabric certain that a better bra was possible. Throughout the years they've maintained their commitment to ethical manufacturing while creating long-lasting products that truly work.

The Sill: Instagram-ready potted plants

We've long admired this female-founded brand and the brilliant mind behind it, Eliza Blank. (She even joined Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety on and episode of The Motherly Podcast!) The mission behind the business was simple: To make the process of bringing plants into your home as easy as possible, and as wonderful as the plant themselves. With their in-house, exclusively designed minimalist planters, the end result makes plant parenthood just a few clicks away.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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The 6 biggest lies I believed before having kids

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves.

Just about all of us had set assumptions about raising kids before we became parents ourselves. Some of these ideas might have been based on our own ideas of how we would absolutely do things differently than everyone else. Others, we believed what everyone else told us would happen would apply to our littles, too. But, that's not always the case, mama.

Below are six of the biggest lies I believed before having kids—and the reality of what actually happened for me.

1. Put your baby down drowsy, but awake

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