The Day I Said 'Yes' to My Kid for an Entire Day

The Day I Said 'Yes' to My Kid for an Entire Day

Find out what happens when one funny mom says “Yes” to everything for a whole day.


By: Heather Chaet

What’s the word you say most often to your kid?

A mommy friend asked me this question the other day. My first guess was “love.” Then I thought it was Kiddo’s name or “What?” or “Go!” (both of those last two are said often -- with emphasis -- in my house). However, when I really thought about it, I knew the answer.

I frowned.

The word I say most often to my kid?

"No."

As in “No, you can’t draw a face on the cat with a Sharpie.” Or “No, you can’t have a fifth bowl of cheddar bunnies.” Or “No, I can’t help you find that impossibly small plastic thing because I’m going to the bathroom right now, and please close the door as you leave THANKYOUVERYMUCH!”

This whole saying “No” thing bothered me. It bothered me a lot. So, I did what I usually do when I’m bothered a lot: I flipped on the TV (doesn’t everyone do this?). The night’s selection was a rerun of Who’s Line Is It Anyway?, the improv comedy show. As Wayne Brady and Ryan Stiles tackled hilarious scenarios, it occurred to me that parenthood is like being on this show. A Power That Be gives us crazy, near-impossible situations, and we just do our best to conquer them with no instructions or know-how before the buzzer goes off.

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I remembered from my theater course in college that the first rule in improv comedy is, “Always say yes.” I then remembered sitting in some math class discussing some law that states, “If a is like b, and b is like c, then a is, most likely, like c.” So, as I sat there on my couch, being bothered a lot, I determined if parenting is indeed like improv comedy, and the first rule in improv comedy is, “Always say yes,” then that should be the first rule in parenting.

At that moment, I think, possibly, there was a cartoon bubble with a light bulb over my head.

I had to test my theory. I decided to say “Yes” to everything and anything Kiddo asked for a whole day. I didn’t announce it. I just did it, and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Granted, my daughter didn’t ask to burn the curtains or shave my head, so it worked quite well in that regard. It was just a usual day, except I always said "Yes." I did put restrictions on how long I would play Fairy World with her and dictated the amount of crackers in the bowl for that third request for a snack, but I said “Yes” each time.

The best thing that happened when I said “Yes” the whole day? I was happier. I was less stressed. I felt my face relax. My shoulders returned to their normal position, instead of being up by my ears. I think I may have even skipped.

Now, I know myself. I won’t be able to do this every day, nor should I always agree to everything. But, you can bet, I am trying to say “Yes” more.

Which word do you say more often to your kids: Yes or No?



Heather Chaet documents her mini parenting successes, epic mommy fails, and everything in between for a plethora (love that word!) of publications and websites such as CafeMom, New York Family, and AdWeek. While her online persona is found at heatherchaet.com, Heather lives in New York City with her film director husband and one insanely curious, cat-obsessed daughter.

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