Jennifer Garner made headlines last week for posting a selfie of her exhausted face after a “Yes Day” with her children. Now it seems she’s inspiring her fellow moms to have a Yes Day with their own families ― a day when parents respond to all their kids’ requests with “yes!”
Amy Betters-Midtvedt of Appleton, Wisconsin tried the concept with her youngest son, but made it a little more parent-friendly. The mother of five imagined that a full-on Yes Day with all of her children might lead her to bankruptcy, so she came up with “the next best thing:” The Yes Half Hour.
On Monday, Betters-Midtvedt, who blogs at Hiding in the Closet with Coffee, posted a photo on Facebook of her 6-year-old son Sam enjoying his Yes Half Hour.
Betters-Midtvedt told HuffPost she realized she’d been saying no to Sam’s random requests pretty often and decided to finally indulge one of them.
“He sometimes gets lost in the shuffle with four older siblings and I just really wanted him to feel like he had a voice in our family,” said the mom. “What he wants to do doesn’t always match up with what the big kids want to do, and I wanted him to know that he gets a say too.”
Lately, Sam had been asking to buy new Halloween decorations, so she decided to prioritize that wish. After school on Monday, they went to Walmart together. “I decided that the entire half hour shopping trip I would say yes to him and see what happened,” she said. “I decided to choose him and really just focus on this gift of mine for 30 minutes.”
In her Facebook post, Betters-Midtvedt explained that she told Sam about the shopping trip before school. “At the bus stop we talked about what a budget meant and how he’d have to make some choices and that he should think about what he most wanted (a spooky grave) and off he went,” she wrote.
“He was beside himself with joy when he came out of school. And as we pulled up to the store he asked if he could pick out a scary dinner too. I said yes,” she continued. “And decided I was going to say yes to whatever he wanted as we shopped as long as it was within reason. The joy in this kid the whole time we were shopping was awesome.”
Betters-Midtvedt listed the things she said yes to, like mummy hot dogs, two kinds of Doritos, Halloween-themed mini soda cans, “those annoying string spider webs that will never come out of my bushes,” and more.
“Yes to him...my boy,” she wrote. The mom added that Sam was “a gem” the whole time and loved getting back home to hear cheers from his older siblings for the fun dinner he chose.
“He felt heard and proud and loved being in charge,” she wrote, adding that she plans to do a “Yes Half Hour” with each of her older children as well.
Betters-Midtvedt concluded her post, “Here’s to the YES HALF HOUR, my friends. It can happen anywhere and any time. You don’t have to be a planner or a millionaire and I’m guessing you’ll be a little less tired afterward then our friend Jen looked to be. We can all rock the yes for a half hour and the look on our kids faces will make us feel cooler than a Hollywood mom (I’m guessing).”
After sharing her post, the mom’s Facebook followers shared some other ideas for a budget-friendly Yes Day, like going to a dollar store. Betters-Midtvedt told HuffPost she loved these ideas and has also realized that a Yes Half Hour can mean going to the park, playing a favorite board game, going for a bike ride at your child’s pace and preferred route, or treating them to ice cream.
“There are endless options and what seemed to resonate was the idea that we don’t have to do something big and crazy to connect with our kids and let them know we love them and really see them and hear them,” she said, acknowledging that parents live hectic lives.
Betters-Midtvedt was also happy to find a way to make Yes Day work in some capacity for her family. “I loved the idea of saying yes to my kids for a whole day, but pictured utter chaos in my world if I tried this with my five kids. Would I do separate days? Do this all together? Take out a second mortgage to pay for their requests?” she recalled thinking after seeing Garner’s post. “It sounded cool but like madness.”
Ultimately, saying yes for a half hour was an amazing experience for Betters-Midtvedt and her son. “Who knew it would be so fun to watch a 6 year old’s eyes light up at picking out two kinds of cream cheese or buying a bag of those crazy cheap spider webs?” she said. “The little things really do mean a lot and I think they might add up to everything.”
She added that Sam “stood taller and taller” each time she said yes and learned a lot about budgeting and making good choices. “I also didn’t directly tell him it was Yes Half Hour, I just went with it,” she explained.
Betters-Midtvedt said she hopes her experience shows other parents that they can “do great things with their kids through the little moments in life.”
“I hope they see that there are ways of slowing ourselves down and really connecting with our kids, and that can look different for everyone. I hope they find some joy in the power of the yes.”