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“Yes Day” – A real-life family tradition

By on March 21, 2021 0 1102 Views

It seems like actor Jennifer Garner is creating another “Yes Day” buzz with her latest Netflix hit. It was only a few years ago, back in 2017, when she first told the world to pick up Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s children’s book, where the new film adapted. This is how I learned about it!

On Friday, Garner made an Instagram announcement that the family comedy was on track to be seen by 53 million households in the first weeks of its release, so I’m expecting this to become a trending tradition. In our home, we’ve been celebrating it for three years now. 

As described in the book, “Yes Day” is the one day of the year when kids get the positive response they want to hear from their parents/guardians — YES! Things like ice cream for breakfast become a reality for them. An endless day of play and staying up late — all get a YES.

Our 2021 Yes Day

Our household just wrapped up our third annual “Yes Day” yesterday. (It was 11 PM, and it had only been an hour since I received my last YES request, which was my middle child asking for a marshmallow before bed and me saying, “Seriously?” Because he knew how many sweet treats he had all day.)

There are rules and some may vary. In our household, you can’t ask for anything that costs money and you can’t ask to do something that is unsafe. 

We watched the movie on our “Yes Day” — this isn’t our reality. And, of course, it’s Hollywood, so things are dramatized and overzealous. We don’t spend money or go anywhere that’s not within walking distance. But we do take part in many at-home activities and spend good bonding time together because of it. That’s why I decided to start it with my children. 

Why I Say YES to the Day

I wouldn’t say that I’m a strict mom. Even before the pandemic, I let my children stay up late on weekends and during the summer. When not at school, schedules fall off my radar. I let them play on their iPads and watch TV without tracking hours. I think I say YES to the majority of their requests. Maybe?

I can be a little bit of a helicopter. I don’t let the kids run around the house or throw things aside from balloons because I am the “someone is going to lose an eye” kind-of-mom. It was only this week that I’ve been letting my eight-year-old shoot balls inside with his new toy. 

I have my reasons. The main one, I was an accident-prone kid and was in the hospital multiple times growing up due to my adventurous mishaps. 

I’ve climbed trees and fallen out of them. I had my arm trapped in a snowmobile belt, which resulted in a broken arm. After jumping on a bed and falling off, I was hospitalized, and the concussion caused me to lose my sight for hours. So, yes. I may be a little more cautious than others based on the life experiences.  

But my biggest reason for having a “Yes Day” is because it lets me give the kids a full day of my undivided attention. So, we can play and do whatever they want. 

My Biggest YES Reason

I have mom guilt from being a workaholic. I’ve been working from home since my oldest was in diapers ten years ago. All my children have grown up seeing me with a laptop in front of my face. 

Many of you now know this life that I’ve lived for a decade with the pandemic changes. It has its pros and cons. But the reality is, the kids see me working the majority of the time. And often, it’s not that I’m saying NO to things. It’s that I say I can’t because I’m working. I have always voiced the family-first mantra, but I’m somewhat of a hypocrite at times. 

Thankfully, I’m managing things better. As they grow older, their needs have changed, and they need more of my social attention. I’m also learning how work can wait. So, if you’re in my position and still struggling with that guilt, this is where you can lavish with the word NO. I am still learning but trust me, that’s the “no” our kids will thank us for.

So, “Yes Day” for me — is all about us! It gives us all the opportunity to make a full day of uninterrupted fun, splurge on silly requests like this year’s ask for rootbeer floats for breakfast or my six-year-old daughter dressing me up and doing my make-up.

Kids grow up fast! The day will help slow the rush – for parents, at least – because waking up to dozens of ongoing play requests while the kids ask to eat sugary sweets makes the day seem like it’s 700 hours long. LOL! 

Our 2021 Yes Day List

I compiled a list of some of the things we did on “Yes Day” this year. As you will see, much of it doesn’t cost a dime. No money spending is one of our rules. 

However, this year, I spent less than $10 on a few surprise “Yes Day” activities. It included cake mix and icing from Dollarama. (If you can bake from scratch, you can probably do this at a little-to-zero cost.) I also picked up a springtime-themed paper colouring mat, which was only $2 and gave us something to do throughout the day as we took breaks.

The 2021 List of YES:

* Can I have a rootbeer float for breakfast? YES

* Can we eat bowls of ice cream with whip cream and chocolate syrup for breakfast? YES

* Can you create an account on Roblox and play with us? YES

* Can we play hide and seek? YES

* Can we play pretend candy shop with dolls? YES

* Can we build a LEGO forest and homes for it? Yes

* Can I pick out your clothes? YES

* Can I do your make-up and paint your nails? YES

* Can we have our electronics at the table while eating? YES

* Can we decorate our house? YES

* Can we watch how-to-draw videos and draw together? YES

* Can we play outside in the rain? YES

These were some of the main things asked. It’s pretty simple stuff; their asks are not ridiculous or over-the-top. They did ask for a lot of sweets. However, my daughter requested tacos for supper, so they all got some lettuce into them.

My most fun part of the day was making a cake with my son and daughter. (I’m not a Martha, and box baking is my jam. Lol! I buy my kids birthday cakes from the grocery store, which are actually incredibly delicious and some very creative.)

We created what I believe to be a masterpiece! It also gave me extra confidence that maybe I can start trying this cake baking thing more, and they can help me. Perhaps, a new family tradition?


About the author

Editor-in-Chief at | dawn@balsom.ca

Dawn Booth is the Editor-in-Chief of YMM Parent Magazine and Your McMurray Magazine. She has actively worked in the Wood Buffalo region's media industry since residing in Fort McMurray in 2007.

Her passion is writing poetry and puts it at the forefront of the community through her volunteer work as the President of NorthWord Magazine. Most important, Booth puts her family of five first, which includes her husband Ryan and their three children, Landon, Dawson and Tessa.