How to be happy in parenting... and in life
I know, I know… it’s a bold claim to assume I have the answer to yours, or anyone else’s happiness. But hear me out. After going through a recent stressful period and a ton of mom guilt, I have found my way back to joy and happiness. If what I have learned can help you too, then why not give it a shot? Below are my tips on how to be a happier parent, and a happier person in general.
You’ve probably heard the quote from John C. Maxwell that says, “Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality.” Well it’s true. If you wake up in the morning with high expectations for the day, or how to want the kids to behave or any other desire, and that desire doesn’t happen, suddenly you’re unhappy or worse, you start to sink into depression. But if you wake up everyday thinking you have everything you need and you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be, then suddenly every good thing becomes a gift and every bad thing becomes manageable. It’s a small shift in perspective, but it makes a big difference.
Don’t Rely on Outcomes
As with expectations, I have learned to not rely on outcomes. Say I kick butt in an audition or I have an amazing pitch for my book, Motherhood is Big Enough. Instantly I start to imagine the outcome and hope for, or even expect, the best result. If that result doesn’t happen, I am suddenly frustrated, sad, and feel as if I have lost something that was never mine to begin with. By not relying on the outcome, I am able to do everything with joy and let go of what will come. What is meant to be will be.
When life is so busy, I can barely think, I can feel my joy and happiness start to slip away. Even when life is chaotic, I have learned to slow down, breathe and allow myself space to think and process what is happening around me. This could be on an early morning run, or it could be five minutes while I’m washing dishes and the kids are in the other room. Allowing myself to process my surroundings and choose what I want to think about versus what I feel I need to think about, truly feels like an indulgence. It makes me feel like I am in control, instead of feeling that I am being controlled by the chaos around me.
I am a big believer in gamification - make hard tasks fun. Make anything unpleasant fun. This could be listening to a funny podcast while I sweep the floor or it could be watching my favorite show while I fold the laundry. It provides pockets of joy throughout my day. Whether or not you gamify your tasks, I do believe it is important to seek out little things that make you happy throughout the day, because after all, life isn’t about just the big moments, it’s about all the little moments in between. Little moments of laughter, little moments of indulgence, little moments of grace and space that create a big life full of love and joy and happiness.