YES! It’s a donut eaten with a spoon.
About two years ago I came up with the idea of gifting my Child 12 hours of YES!
(If by “came up with” you mean I’m sure other parents do this which I do. The older I get the more I realize there’s nothing new under the sun.)
Our initial YES! Day was born out of the realization I’d been on a NO-rampage.
- Some NO’s! stemmed from a desire to keep her safe (NO! You can’t balance the chair on the stool to reach the plate!).
- Other NO’s came from a desire to save my sanity (NO! We can’t yank down all the extra blankets & pillows and make a fort two minutes before bed on a school night!).
- And a few NO’s!, while sorta said in the name of self-care, were just because I was tired. Tired of being solo with her. Tired of being the fun, creative mom. TIRED.
One morning, after a particularly NO-filled day, I spontaneously decided we BOTH needed a *fun* day.
“Yesterday was rough,” I said. “Lets make today a Day of Yes!”
“AWESOME!!!” She shouted and broke into a full-body smile.
years later. same full-bod smile.
“You already know what I mean?” I asked, surprised, as I’d thought I’d just created it.
“No!” She answered immediately. (I love kids. They completely vibe off us & our moods. The mere fact *I* was excited about YES! Day filled her with glee.)
I explained to her the Yes! Day rules
while simultaneously making them up.
- Everything was a yes! as long as it was safe (May I ride my bike without a helmet? NO!).
- Everything was a yes! as long as I could make it happen (May we see the movie Inside Out right now??? No. It’s not showing right now.)
And our day began.
Not only was it fun for her as I’d hoped it turned into a lot of fun for me, too.
Yes! we can take the Doodle on the slide.
I was gifted a day OFF from focusing on roots & wings outside of just keeping her safe.
I was gifted an opportunity to watch her decide what to do, what to ask for and learned about what *she* valued in the process.
This first YES! Day wasn’t just fun for her.
It turned into a subtle lesson about the power of identifying and asking for what you want.
After that inaugural day, many mom-friends told me they’d be terrified to offer their child a Yes! Day.
Mine would ask for a puppy! one shared.
Mine would ask for all the American Girl doll accessories I won’t buy! another guessed.
Mine would eat sugar until he was sick. And guess who would really be punished then?! another joked.
movie and cake for dinner? YES!
Here, I shared with them, it wasn’t really any of those things.
It was a reminder she just wants my time and for me to be wholly present with her.
When I’m honest with myself—then and now—I can see most of my NO’s, when not intended to keep her safe, are to make things easier on me as a mom.
And, here, easier often means less fun and less effort.
This approach to parenting is passable most of the time and yet some days both of us need a spontaneous break.
Around here that YES-break is happening today.
I’m surprising the child and am eager to discover, as a new 9 1/2, what she chooses to fill her 12 hours.
Typically, at the end of our Yes! Days, even the child is ready to return to routine (<—unexpected gift of the day!).
Typically, at the end of our Yes! Days, as we pray before bed her prayer is a version of this:
Thank you G-d for my mom did not say no today—she said yes.
This year, for some reason, I think that prayer will not be hers but my own.
Thank you G-d for I remembered to pause and say YES!