The Happiness Project… or the Single-parenting Hail Mary
I woke up this morning all good intentions and rainbows. Unfortunately, others under my roof didn’t get the memo.
At the kitchen table slumped two heaps of snoring blankets, not yet ready to greet the day. I’d let them sleep in an extra 15 minutes, set out their assorted vitamins and pollen-busters, provided a multiple choice of breakfast options, and waited for them to visit me in the Land of Reality where this-is-a-school-day-so-let’s-get-crackin needed to kick in.
Crickets. Snoring crickets at that.
So I start asking questions to assist in the return to reality. Not so much luck there. I read the Bangor Maine Police Department Facebook morning post out loud. This usually does the trick. Not today. I mean, I’m using everything in my bag of creative mom tricks here, but suddenly my children have sprouted some immunity to my morning antics.
I panicked a little. OK WAKE UP PEOPLE!
(Yeah, that went about as well as you’d think…) But they were awake and in especially perky moods. (Note sarcasm)
Needless to say, the morning unravelled into a teen-angst-ridden bad hair day gone awry with a side of melodramatic. It ended in a ride to school complete with two U-turns, one phone confiscation, and more eye rolling. Not our best morning. Not my best parenting. I was secretly glad no reality show cameras followed us around capturing two-thirds of us at what I’d call not our best.
I hate when this happens.
It puts a cloud of sad in my otherwise sunny blue sky day. I want to fix it because that’s how I roll. In my thoughtful reflection driving across town, I wondered what I could improve moving forward. While more than one answer came to mind, I located a little gem in the back seat. Yesterday’s trip to the library with the budding engineer provided me with a solid hour among books. I enterprisingly checked out four.
One called The Happiness Project caught my eye. I found it in the “Other titles you might be interested in” section of the card catalogue search. At the time I selected it, I wasn’t aware that the book’s chapters are organized by month, each focusing on one aspect of life that brings people potential happiness. So today when I had a few minutes, I cracked the cover and found the month of April. Yep. April’s resolution for increasing one’s happiness focuses on parenting. The title? Lighten Up
So I’m going to take these little tidbits of information under advisement and see if tomorrow morning I’m feeling more aligned with my inner Mary Poppins instead of today’s alternative. I’ll share the Cliff’s Notes version of my findings…
- Sing in the morning. I used to do this. I’m not sure when it stopped, but I imagine somewhere around the same time puberty hit like a tsunami.
- Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings. This twist on the Golden Rule applies to everyone. People become more willing and able to listen when they receive validation. Thanks for the reminder.
- Be a treasure house of happy memories. I want my house to be a place where people feel welcome, a warm environment where friends don’t want to leave and can’t wait to return. I’m giving myself a B on this one. The bump to an A requires me to slow down and savour the moments that will turn into my favorite memories when I’m grandma aged.
- Take time for projects. OK, as the Queen of Projects, I think I rock this one; however, the projects around here are my projects, not their projects. So, yes, this weekend I’ll be assistant to my son as he designs and builds a snack dispenser for his room complete with a PVC-pipe slide for Pop Tarts. And I’ll allow more nail holes in my daughter’s room that my practical side would allow because in the end winning that battle equates to losing what I really value–saying to my kids in actions that their ideas are valuable, their feelings valid, their dreams important, and that I love them far more than my frustration with being on time.
Check out May’s topic: Be Serious About Play. Sign me up!!
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