Okay y’all, I have to admit something. I have a hard time with being a fun mom, and quarantine with kids has really taken it out of me. We all started this coming off of the Spring Break high. We hoped it wouldn’t last too long. The weather was beautiful, and we spent all day everyday outside and on walks around our neighborhood. We made forts in the family room and had movie nights and awesome color-coded schedules for balancing online school and tasks. We bought a bounce house and put magna tiles on the garage door and made sidewalk chalk art and rearranged bedrooms because, why not?
Now that we’ve been at this for a good 5 months, I am out of ideas. Not only am I out of ideas, I am out of the desire to even try anything fun. I feel run-down, tired, behind at work, and just plain over all of this. I just feel stuck in a rut and want to throw in the towel and let screen time be mom for a while. Also–and I cannot stress this enough–I am not a Pinterest mom. You won’t see me out there making a refrigerator box into a play house complete with a locking cut out door. I’ll save that for their grandmas to figure out. Messes from crafts and Play-Doh never seem proportional to the actual fruit of the labor. But, I am also tired of saying “no” all the time.
So, I came up with a plan to be a “yes” mom for a day. Here are the ground rules that I set for our family:
1. Say “yes” to everything that isn’t harmful.
- Kid wants to make waffles for breakfast and you really want to say “no” because it’s messy and time-consuming and just so much easier if you do it yourself? Say “yes.”
- Kid wants to ask Alexa to play the Teenage-Mutant-Ninja-Turtles theme song on repeat while everyone has a jumping jack contest? Say “yes,” and participate too!
- Obviously, we can’t say “yes” to every single thing they want to do. If they want to give the cat a bath, or pillow fight on the top of the bunk bed, we have to draw the line somewhere.
2. Purchase nothing.
- Surely we have enough junk around our house to have a fun and crazy “yes” day! We have games, a craft closet, overflowing toy boxes, a mostly-stocked pantry, Amazon boxes, pillows and blankets, shovels for digging…so many things! So, resist the urge to go out and buy more “stuff” for your “yes” day.
3. Let the kids lead.
- They will come up with lots of ideas of things to do! Just say “yes” and go where they lead.
- A note here: respect rest/nap times. If your kids usually nap from 1-3, for the love of all things quiet, have them nap. The afternoon will be so much more fun if they’re rested! Plus, you can use that time as your timeout from the “yes” day. Make yourself lunch, scroll Instagram, turn on a podcast and clean for a bit. Just recharge.
4. Leave it.
The laundry, the work emails, the phone calls and texts, the unmade beds, the messes. Just leave it. Trust me, it’ll be there later.
5. And last but not least, no screens.
- I know, it will be hard. And exhausting. Especially for someone like me that relies on screens so I can get a few things done for work during the day, or for chores around the house. Just put the tablets and TV remote away for the day, and see how it goes.
- And yes, this means your cell phone too. I know it’s tempting to want to take a bunch of photos of your “yes” day. Documentation is the best! Being able to look back on those memories is awesome! So maybe you limit yourself to one photo per activity. Or 5 photos for the day. The point is: you don’t want this to be another day that your kid is trying to compete for your attention with your phone. I’m not trying to guilt anyone, because I’m the guiltiest of all of us, but just think about it: what if every time they want to get your attention, you’re already looking at them?
Here are some of the things we did during our “yes” day, and how it all went. I only took a few photos of the first couple of activities, but you could totally ditch the phone completely, and I think it would enhance the experience. Or give your kids the task of taking photos!
First of all, I need to come right out and say that things did NOT go according to plan. We did not follow all of the rules for the whole day, and you’d better believe I was exhausted and ready to call it quits after the first 30 minutes of this madness.
For reference, my oldest just turned six and my twins are 3.5 years old. When I first told them what we were doing and laid out the ground rules, they were so excited! But when it came down to it, they needed some help with figuring out what mega-fun thing we should do first. I suggested that we make an obstacle course, and we got to work! We designed and built the course together and they had so much fun running through it approximately 2 times each. Then my six-year-old got frustrated and broke it, so there’s that. Off to a solid start! After we regrouped, they were excited to come up with some ideas of their own.
After the obstacle course, we broke out the long-hidden Halloween face paint crayons, and everyone got to choose what they wanted. To be honest, this is where the rule breaking began. First, in order to reign in their grandiose, artistic dreams, I had to use Google on my computer to find some examples of face paint masterpieces that I could actually accomplish with my limited artistic abilities. Second, I had to say “no” to a lot of their ideas because we either didn’t have the right colors, or the idea they had was way too difficult. Finally, we landed on Harry Potter, Marshall from Paw Patrol, and a rainbow! Believe it or not, everyone waited their turn beautifully, and they were so excited for each other and kept running to the mirror to check out their faces. Mission accomplished!
This is where I stopped taking photos, and you’ll have to just trust. After face paint, they wanted to play a game, but they wanted it to be something they have never played before. We made up our own game that was a mixture of passing a ball around our four person circle and “Truth or Dare.” This was pretty hilarious actually! There was a little “my turn” drama, but fun prevailed.
After this, we had to break for me to make lunch. I got out some Play-Doh, and they had some independent play time. This made a huge mess at the table, so we decided to make a fort in the living room for them to eat their lunch in. This was a good idea only in theory, because they kept fighting when someone would bump the fort and displace blankets. Maybe I’m not the best at fort-building, but overall it was a good effort.
After lunch, we went to our normal nap and rest time. The twins napped, and I tried to give my oldest non-screen activities for as long as I could, but in the end I gave in and let him play Minecraft so I could sit and relax for a bit. Truthfully, the “yes” day was all downhill from here. To make a long story a little shorter, we had to run an errand after nap. The errand took longer than anticipated and everyone had epic car meltdowns when we got stuck in traffic on the way home. By then, my husband was home from work, so we just cracked open a cold White Claw each and called it the end of the experiment. We did let them have a movie night with a floor pallet and popcorn, which is always a hit in our house!
I know I didn’t complete the whole challenge I envisioned, but ultimately, I think the experiment was a success! We had a really fun morning that was jam-packed with exactly the things they wanted to do. I was off my phone and paying attention to only them and it really showed in all of their attitudes. So, maybe I’ll amend the Yes Mom Challenge to the Yes Mom Morning and call it good? And, I do think we’ll make it a tradition! Please let me know if you have your own “yes” mom day. I would love to hear how it goes for you and your family!