Yes Mom or Day of Yes

A yes man is by definition a weak person who agrees with everything their boss suggests.  Also known as a doormat, lackey, or follower.  I am not a yes man, or for that matter, a yes mom.  In fact, I think of myself as a mean mom.

I say no to almost any request thrown my way.  When my daughter asks me a question, my mind sometimes automatically defaults to no, before I even have time to think about it.  To the point that even I became annoyed at all the “No’s” coming out of my mouth.

Yes Mom or Day of Yes

I’ve always been the disciplinarian in our household, but since I’ve become a single mom, I’m even more so.  It’s my favorite thing about being a single mom {insert eye roll.}  When my daughter’s with her dad they do “fun stuff,” while at home she has to do chores, homework and other not-so-fun-stuff at the hands of her mean mom who makes her complete said tasks before she can watch strangers apply make-up on YouTube.

I hate it.  But I know that kids need boundaries and structure and one day all my saying no is really going to pay off when she is a functioning member of society who knows the real world is not always going to say yes.

About a year ago, Ella found out about Yes Day.  Yes Day is based off a children’s book by the same name written by Amy Krause Rosenthal. The premise behind it is that parents say yes to every request from their kids for one day only.

Side note – Amy Krause Rosenthal wrote some of Ella’s favorite children’s books.  She died of ovarian cancer in 2017 and wrote this gut-wrenching New York Times piece, You May Want to Marry My Husband, prior to her death to announce her cancer battle.

Jennifer Garner got on the yes day bandwagon and it’s well known that she gives her kids one day a year where she says yes to everything.  Her Instagram post went viral last year and she was recently given a Netflix film based on the concept.  Basically, it’s a popular parenting thing.  In other people’s households…

When Ella came to me with her request for a Yes Day, here’s how the conversation went:

Ella: Can I have a yes day?

Me: No

Ella: Why?

Me: Because if I give you a yes day, you’re not supposed to know about it.

She begged and pleaded and finally I said yes.

Ella: When?

Me: I’m not telling you.

Ella: You have to tell me.

Proceeds to describe her yes day filled with expensive gifts, new pets, activities, and lots and lots of junk food.

Me: Exactly why you’ll never know what day it is.

That was last summer. I never did give her a yes day.

Flash forward to a couple weeks ago.  A friend of mine, Amy Klene, wrote a book called Everyday Joy and Tacos: A 28 Day Guide to Create A Joyful Life.   The book gives 28 “activities” to complete each day.  Every day has a different Intention, Mantra, Mindfulness activity, Treat Yo’Self suggestion, Haiku poem and Phone Journal topic.  The tasks are quick and easy to accomplish and it gets you in a mindfulness way of thinking.

I had added it to my self-help arsenal and had just finished reading it, so when Ella was having middle school drama, I thought I could do some of the exercises with her as well.  Each day we read the Intention, the Mantra and the Phone Journal, and we talked each of them.

On day 4, the phone journal exercise was: “What does a perfect day look like to you?  Who is with you and what are you doing?  Get really specific so the Universe can respond with more of what you love.”

As we laid in my bed on a Saturday morning, she described her perfect day.  Making pancakes for breakfast, eating lunch at Chick Fil A, going to the mall with her best friend and buying clothes at Old Navy, taking the train downtown for dinner, then watching a movie and eating popcorn.  I told her I thought that sounded like a pretty cool day. Half way through getting ready, it dawned on me that I could make most of those things happen for her on this particular day.  This would be her yes day.

She made pancakes for breakfast then I asked her if she wanted to go to Chick Fil A for lunch. She had a school activity that day, so we went to lunch and I dropped her off at the school for a few hours. When I picked her up I asked if she wanted to go to the mall to get some summer clothes.  Her face lit up and she said, yes.

She asked for a smoothie when we got to the mall, and I said yes.  Then we shopped and I said yes to all the clothes she picked out even though I didn’t want to.  Ironically, we ran into her best friend at Old Navy {see how that works, she told the Universe what she wanted and there it was}, then we went home and made popcorn and watched a movie in my bed.  Half way through the movie I said, “Ella!  Today was your yes day!”

Her response: “What?! No fair!  I didn’t know it was the yes day!”

Not the response I was hoping for, then again she is a tween.  I explained to her how she had described her perfect day to me, and how I had made almost all of it happen.  I had said yes to every one of her requests that day.

She argued that she had to go to school for a few hours and that was not included in her perfect day. She wanted a do-over.  Ummmm, that’s a no.  And just like that, I was back to my old ways.  But I am going to be more mindful of my responses and try to throw in a few yeses here and there.


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