Was I slightly hesitant to do a “Yes Day”? You bet! Did I go for it anyway? Yes!
I don’t know why I’m such a restrictive mother. I don’t want to be. I had a million restrictions growing up. When I left home for college, I did whatever I wanted, whenever I could, because there wasn’t anyone around to tell me “no”. I reveled in that freedom. Yes, I probably went a little overboard, but even when I was making questionable decisions, I felt amazing because I was figuring things out on my own.
I always swore that I would let my kids experience more things than I was allowed to. I wanted to be an easy breezy mom. Yet, here I am, handing out “no’s” like Oprah Winfrey. “You get a no! And YOU get a no!” I want to say “yes” more than “no”. I am desperately working on it.
When I was asked to a try a “Yes Day” (a day in which I said “yes” to every single thing my children asked) I decided to go for it. I wanted to see what it did for me AND my kids.
My husband and I set the day for our “Yes Day” experiment. We chose a weekend day, so we would be around them a lot more than a typical school day.
The morning started off really easy! Yes, you can have pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. Yes, you can wear that. Yes, you can play video games. So far, so good!
Then, we remembered that we were going to a friend’s Halloween party that day. My instinct told me that my kids were going to ask me for every piece of candy and every treat in the house, but we stayed resolute in our decision to agree our way through the party.
Yes, you can have a hot dog. Yes, you can take your costume off. Yes, you have have candy. Yes, you can have candy. Yes, you can have candy. My ridiculous need to say “no” to everything felt like it was choking me. WHY AM I LIKE THIS?? My kids are doing fine, if a little sugar saturated.
The day progressed and we stuck by our plan. We talked about it periodically and we noticed that our kids seemed less irritable. We, as a parenting team, FELT less irritable. It was obvious that they felt happier and more in control of their little worlds, which made us feel good. By late afternoon, my husband and I were both feeling pretty guilty for leaning toward “no” so often.
Fast forward to bedtime when my kids asked if they could stay up past their bedtimes. Begrudgingly, I said “yes“. That “yes” was the straw that broke the camel’s back. They were too over-tired and too over-candied for what they wanted. Two of the biggest meltdowns in family history started right then. Meltdowns that took a good thirty minutes to come back from.
As we were bringing our precious little demons back from the clutches of bedtime doom, we looked at each other and winked. We both knew right that second that, while it’s important for our kids to be given more freedoms and permissions, we have to stand firm with certain boundaries because their little bodies can only deal with so much.
We left our experiment feeling good about our day. I can see that, unless they are going to bring harm to themselves or others, we HAVE to lighten up. We have both agreed to take a hard look at how often we say “no” and why. We both recognize that saying “yes” more often is completely harmless and something we want to do a lot more of. I’m looking forward to it and I can tell that by bringing about these small changes, they will make a big impact.
Have you experimented with a “Yes Day” in your house? We would love to hear how it went! Please comment below.