I’ll be happy when it’s summertime. I’ll be happy when my house or car or student loans are paid off. I’ll be happy when I’m no longer changing diapers. I’ll be happy when it’s five o’clock and my husband is home. I’ll be happy when I lose a pound or two. I’ll be happy when I can sleep through the night more than two nights in a row. I’ll be happy when I have enough money to hire a maid to follow all of us around so that I might actually be able to keep this place clean for more than twenty minutes!
When we get lost in the wanting for something we get stuck in our unhappiness. It’s almost as if we believe that when we get to these WHENS in life there will be a magic boom causing us to be instantly happy. Like crossing over the barrier between now and then will automatically provide us with happiness. This is not how it works. Getting to a certain point in life does not make us happy people.
Happiness is not situational.
If happiness is not situational, this means that no matter who you are, or where you are in life right this minute, YOU CAN BE HAPPY NOW.
Looking forward is not a bad thing, setting and achieving goals is healthy and beneficial. But when we rely on the future to make us happy, we often begin to get down on ourselves about where we are at now. Self-criticism tells us we’re not good enough, money problems blind our gratitude, and hard times with our kiddos in any stage make us feel defeated and tired. It is when these hard times creep in (or sometimes they slap you in the face) that we feel like the present is a lost cause and the future is our only hope.
And while it is true (and so very refreshing) that tomorrow is another day, how can we alter our thinking to something more like, “in one minute it’s a new minute”? How can we change our attitude to becoming more positive? How can we become happy with where we are at right now?
The growth from trying to achieve goals makes us happy; there is a sense of purpose while reaching to become better. And quite simply, we’re often too busy striving to reach goals to be unhappy. Goals tend to have a way of slowly making us better and happier as we work toward achieving them. Big or small, short-term or long-term, the process of attaining a goal has the potential to make us happier than actually accomplishing a goal.
The other day I was at the dentist getting my teeth cleaned (and finding out I had a few cavities…but that’s a different story). My hygienist and I were chatting about this and that and got talking about different stages and how each chapter in life brings its own set of challenges. It was mostly just casual talk until she said something that really struck me as great advice. You need to allow yourself to be okay when Plan A doesn’t work out. If there’s one thing us moms probably all agree on it is that life certainly doesn’t always go as planned. Sometimes it’s for the better and other times it’s a really difficult reality to have curveballs thrown our way. Schedules and expectations are tricky things. Allowing ourselves to be okay when Plan A doesn’t work out and giving ourselves a break when we need to switch things up a bit and go with Plan B sets us up for less disappointment, more freedom, and the potential for a lot of happiness.
As mothers, we are needed all the time, we are wanted most of the time, we are appreciated half the time, we are made aware of that appreciation some of the time, we very rarely get a break, and we never stop loving. Our lives are no longer our own, we are now dedicated to spending our whole lives making someone else happy and we quickly realize that their happiness becomes our happiness.
I’ve come to the conclusion that every stage I’ve gone through with my first little one has gotten better and better. He’s almost a year and a half and once again, I think this phase is the best yet. Every single day he learns something new, does something new, or says something new. I’ve never had a job as rewarding as being a mother and I find that when I am lost in serving my busy little boy it truly makes me a happier person.
There’s a Discover commercial that has been on TV a lot lately that drives me absolutely crazy! After a scene with a Discover Card Agent talking to their look-alike customer over the phone they state their newest slogan: At Discover, we treat you like you’d treat you. Maybe I’m the only person who feels this way, but I do not think this is a promoting commercial because so many of us have a problem with our self-talk. There are things I think or say to myself that I would never ever say to somebody else; I am often hard on myself. Too hard on myself.It’s easy to get caught up in what we aren’t doing perfect in life and in parenthood, and this negativity feeds on itself which leads to a whirlpool of unhappiness. It’s about time we practice positive self-talk and switch our mindset to see the positive in ourselves throughout the day rather than the negative. By doing this, nice thoughts and positive feelings will come more naturally to us and we are sure to he happier.
Every stage of life and parenthood brings on a whole new learning curve, a lot of ups, and a lot of downs. Everybody’s situation in life is a little bit -or a lot bit- different. Yet, in so many ways, all of our situations are the same. We are all trying to be the best we can be. We are all faced with difficult times. We all make a difference whether we realize it or not. We all want to be happy. I believe that no matter what stage we are in if we can set goals but be okay if they don’t work out and if we can help others all while being kind to ourselves we can, in any situation, be happy with where we’re at.