The Yes Day star opens up about parenting during the pandemic and why she'll never take her family's happiness for granted

By Julie Jordan
March 25, 2021 08:00 AM
Advertisement

Jennifer Garner knows exactly what her own "Yes Day" would entail.

The actress' new hit Netflix family comedy, Yes Day, reflects her own annual tradition of allowing her kids, Violet, 15, Seraphina, 12, and Sam, 9, with ex-husband Ben Affleck, 48, one day a year to do whatever they want — within reason.

As for Garner, "I wouldn't mind ice cream for breakfast, if you really think about it," she tells PEOPLE in this week's cover story. "I would probably go to this little café, Huckleberry, and have the green eggs and ham there, which is this prosciutto and pesto and homemade English muffin. Great cappuccino, a few close girlfriends. There'd be a fun group workout. Probably a walk. Enjoy a beautiful sky. With lots of talking and then probably mix in some kid time. We all just need an adventure."

For more from Jennifer Garner, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday, or subscribe here.

Jennifer Garner
Credit: Cliff Watts

The actress, 48, has also tried to stay optimistic for her kids while her family sheltered at home in L.A. during the pandemic. "I don't know that I've stayed positive the whole time," she admits. "I think I've had a couple of temper tantrums. And I hope [my kids] have too. I think you have to. It's like, have your feelings. But there's so much to be grateful for."

Finding ways to give back has helped as well. "You take a deep breath and start brainstorming about what can we do to help," Garner adds. "Like my daughter, she likes helping people on GoFundMe, so for Christmas, she asked for a little GoFundMe money. She said it just gives her a lift."

Jennifer Garner
Credit: MATT KENNEDY/NETFLIX

As for the little aggravations most moms face on a daily basis, Garner experiences her fair share.

"Kids who ignore you when you talk to them five times in a row. When they're mean to each other. Or when they won't try and they just like, lay on the floor," she says with a shrug. "And then I realize I basically do the same thing. I mean, sometimes you just have to walk away from your kids. You don't even have to announce it. Or you just say, 'Oops. Hold on. I think somebody's calling me in the other room.' You just have to get away."

Watch the full episode of People Cover Story: Jennifer Garner on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.

Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner
| Credit: Cliff Watts

When she really needs a moment of self-care, Garner turns to her girlfriends. "And laughing. And a good workout," she says. "I've done The Limit with Beth Nicely almost every day and I always feel better. I had a trainer for 20 years, Valerie Waters, who I love so much. Her saying was, 'You're always one workout away from a good mood.'"

Garner is also good about sharing those relatable glimpses into her life with her 10.5 million followers on Instagram. From her "Pretend Cooking Show" to showering in a wetsuit in celebration of her partnership with her longtime hairstylist Adir Abergel's line Virtue, Garner always prefers to keep it real. "I like to engage with people, so I will from time to time," she says of her following. "I like when there's a back and forth."

Yes Day is now streaming on Netflix.