Hayley Matthews: I just spent a day saying ‘yes’ to my son

Hollywood star Jennifer Garner inspired Hayley Matthews to have a 'Yes Day' with her son
Hollywood star Jennifer Garner inspired Hayley Matthews to have a 'Yes Day' with her son
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Recently I got the funniest email I’ve ever read and it was from a BBC producer. It went a little something like this:

“Hi Hayley, I want to do something about a ‘YES DAY’. Would you say ‘Yes’ to your kids for a whole day? The inspiration is actress Jennifer Garner who has a ‘yes day’ with her kids every year. Could you spend tomorrow saying yes to your son on EVERYTHING? Could be a mare I know but if you’re up for it ...”

I burst out laughing and gave them a call immediately. Now, my son is a very smart wee cookie and I told them “he will completely rip the ass out of this, but yeah I’d love to do it”.

My reason for saying “yes” was because I feel I say “no!” all the time, and I mean all the time. The thought of just saying “yes” (within reason) alleviates a lot of parental stress.

I had a wee peak at Jennifer Garner’s Instagram and, by the pictures she’s posted, her three kids – six-year-old Samuel, nine-year-old Seraphina and 12-year-old Violet – had an utter ball on their annual “Yes Day”.

So I said yes to the challenge. The only issue I had was the Hayley Matthews’ budget was a lot less than the Jennifer Garner one, so I quickly (and quite cheekily) put a £40 limit on the day’s spending. Hey, don’t judge, my six-year-old had spent £20 online and it hadn’t even reached 7.30am yet, so I had to do something or I’d be selling all my jewellery.

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The idea of a “Yes day” actually felt quite relieving, knowing that I wasn’t going to be shouting, stressing or fussing and marching about the house like a mini Hitler, disapproving of all the cushion kicking, mess making and culinary choices of my six-year-old. To simply say “yes” was actually quite refreshing.

Now, the deal is that you actually have to tell your kids that you’re doing a “yes day” so they know, otherwise where’s the fun in that?

The morning started off with a cuddle from the happiest little boy I’ve ever witnessed, but there was a glint of mischief in his eyes.

I knew I was in for a fun day when he refused his cereal, asked for ice cream and then suggested he brush his teeth at night. “Of course you can,” I said thinking, “this is mild”.

I was expecting to be told we were going quad biking at 8am followed by four hours of rugby at midday and camping in the afternoon. But he surprised me, all he wanted was me to play football with him.

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At six months pregnant, that’s not as easy as it sounds, and my son has a mighty kick on him. But seriously, it was the simple things he was asking for.

“Can we tickle for ages?”, “can I skip my bath?” – even though he was utterly manky after a day of dodgeball – “can I sleep in your bed?”, “can I have a milkshake?”, “can I go to bed later?”, “can I watch more TV?”, just simple things.

The most demanding thing he asked for was a tuna and sweetcorn sandwich at 9pm so off to the supermarket I went.

He was also pushing his bedtime massively, but at 11pm he finally decided he’d had enough rough and tumble with his dad and off to sleep he went (with some encouragement).

So would I do it again? Yes, absolutely and if you’re feeling like a parent who’s shouting “no” more times a day than you’d like to, you could have a go at giving the kids and yourself a “YES DAY”.