This weekend marked the 160th day of lockdown, (not that I'm counting!)
On Friday, while asking the children what they would like to do over the weekend, they looked at each other and with a cheeky smile they said, "We have an idea mum! This weekend can we have a YES weekend?".
"YES weekend?", I replied. "Well that sounds interesting, but I don’t know what that is, can you explain it to me?"
So with a laugh and a grin and not expecting in anyway for me to say YES, the children suggested that a YES weekend is a weekend where every question they ask, the answer is YES!
Initially this sounded like an absolutely ludicrous idea. If I said YES to every question they asked, what the heck what our weekend look like? After a few sideways looks at my husband who was smirking with his "Í’ll leave this one to you" look, I decided to set a couple of ground rules and then say YES.
The ground rules were simple:
Let’s do a day, not a weekend, so from 6am to midnight.
We had to obey the rules of our isolation and lockdown.
Everybody must be respectful and kind to one another.
So with an agreement on those three simple rules, the answer was YES! I mean, how much trouble could they really get into? What could they really possibly want to do that would truly bother me when we’ve got absolutely nothing else in the world to do?
Off they ran like it was the night before Christmas, grabbed a piece of paper and started writing a list of all the things that they wanted to do. They were laughing and were very, very excited while my husband and I enjoyed our wine in preparation.
Early the next morning, well 7am early, Miss 8 arrives in our bedroom with a smile, and she says “Mum, for breakfast could we please have French toast with bacon and apples and ice cream?”. Now this isn’t unusual, we quite often have French toast on the weekends but never with ice cream, so with that I said YES.
After we all enjoyed breakfast together, the children snuck off with their little notepad and back they came with "Could you please go to the shops for us and get everything on this list?". After a quick preface that this will be the only time that we are allowed outside of the house so to make sure that everything they want for the day is on the list, the kids said "Yes, we have everything we can think of, but maybe you could FaceTime us when you’re in the lolly aisle at the supermarket just in case we forgot something?". The answer was YES!
So after purchasing the children a block of chocolate, a packet of jersey caramels, a packet of lolly snakes, a bag of Lindor balls, a tape of bubblegum, another tub of ice cream, a packet of Chicco babies, a packet of Twisties, and a bottle of lemonade, Dad was on his way home.
Sitting down reading my book, I enjoyed the peace and quiet while the children filled their faces. They shared their lollies with us and were just so excited at an entire table full of sweets that they could eat whenever they wanted without anyone telling them otherwise.
A little while later I was asked if I could bounce the children on the trampoline, (after birthing two children, jumping on the trampoline is not something that I usually enjoy doing), however it’s YES day so the answer was YES. After a few intermittent toilet stops (remember, two children), we jumped and bounced and laughed and had a great time for hours and hours and hours. Jumping, resting, cuddling and watching the clouds...then more jumping!
An hour of Minecraft each in the afternoon and I was actually enjoying a crazy amount of peaceful quiet.
Quite surprisingly, there were other things on their list like Crafts and Nerf Wars that they actually never even asked to do, mostly the kids just wandered around, not really sure quite what to do with themselves. When they had the option to do anything they wanted, I think they realised that they already do everything that they want and sometimes Mum and Dad’s suggestions might actually make life a little more fun and interesting.
Before we knew it, it was dinner time. The kids requested sausages in bread and some of Changs Noodle Salad. Pretty impressed and proud that my kids had chosen a meal that actually included salad when they could’ve picked anything, had me beaming with pride.
After dinner, they asked if we could watch a family movie together and the answer of course was YES. I asked them if they would like any desert but smiling and shaking their heads, they said "No thanks Mum, I think we’ve had enough sweets today". Whaaaaaaaat?
Two family movies on the couch later, Mum and Dad were asleep, happily snuggled with their kids. Finally, at midnight , the kids decided that it was finally okay for them to go off to bed. So exhausted, they brush their teeth and climbed into bed saying, "Thank you so much for YES day Mum, this was the best day ever!".
What I discovered was the children didn’t want us to just say YES to everything, they simply wanted us to not tell them what to do, and if they had an idea, to just do it.
My husband and I were quite perplexed by this because in our opinion, that’s what happens every day. Sure, we might have chores and jobs that need doing occasionally, but realistically the kids generally always do what they want to do, when they want to do it. This whole exercise has taught the children that all they need to do if they want something, is just ask. Tell us what's going on in their minds rather than just waiting for us to suggest what to do.
Overall, I think the experience was incredible and showed us that our children are actually really happy with their normal life, they just would like us to say YES and do exactly what they want, when they want to do it, rather than everything being on our time frame.
Mr 11 actually said it was hard - "The fact that I was allowed to do anything and there were no rules, but I wanted to make good decisions and didn’t want to make myself sick. There wasn’t anything that I could think of to ask for, because we normally get exactly what we want because you’re great parents!".
Miss 8 said, "It wasn’t that different to normal because you let us do a lot of things that we want, but you wouldn’t normally bounce on the trampoline. We didn’t know that you always say yes, until we had yes day!".
Moving forward I think our family life will be a little bit different, because I commit as a mother to continue saying YES whenever I possibly can, and let my kids enjoy their life feeling a bit more in control and grateful for awesome parents who let their kids be kids!