“I love it when you’re happy, mommy.”
My friend’s 5-year old boy told her this at the park last week.
Isn’t it glorious when our children are sweet? If only it happened more often….
More seriously, when she told me what he said, I couldn’t help but wonder, isn’t this ultimately what all children want?
With so much emphasis on going places and getting things at this time of year, it’s easy to lose sight of what truly fills a child up.
It’s also easy to succumb to unrealistic expectations to create a perfect holiday and forgo self-care practices that nurture your well-being.
Why does it matter to a child that mama is happy?
When I look at my own life, I can plainly see that if I’m not careful, and aware, I’m not as pleasant to be around when I’m anxious and stressed. I rush the kids. I don’t listen as patiently. I’m not as creative when stuff goes array. And, I don’t have as much fun!
In truth, when I’m not tending to my own well-being, parenting starts to feel like something I have to do rather than something I want to do.
Since children spell love with the words PLAY and TIME, I can see why they’d take happy mom over anxious mom any day!
What about you, do you notice differences in how you interact with the kiddos as stress increases? What helps you keep stress at bay? What keeps your spirit intact? Maybe most importantly, what helps you remember to prioritize your happiness?
I’ll leave you with one thing that consistently fortifies my spirit: Gratitude.
When I remember to be thankful, I feel more joy for the little things and I’m less thrown by hard things. For example, the kids will be cooped up in the car for 9-10 hours in a few days. I could easily slip into thinking about all the things that will go wrong and how much it will suck. But I’m choosing to feel grateful that we’re able to go somewhere fun with people we love. I’m choosing to remember that life is chock-full of blessings – from the food we eat to the warm water we bathe in to the presents we’re lucky enough to have under the tree.
May your gratitude – and well-being – flourish this holiday season – and may your family find joy in what they have.
P.S. This is my last post for a few weeks. “See” you in the New Year!