This week I’m sharing a few happiness hacks for people with little people. Why? Because we all want to nurture our kids’ crazy and beautiful nature, but we also have to keep ourselves sane throughout the journey!
Happiness Hack One; Remind Yourself That They Aren’t Actually Trying to Break You! (In Most Cases)
Someone once said to me when my son was completely losing it, he’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time. It was one of the most clarifying statements I have ever heard. So now instead of feeling sorry for myself when the kids were winging (admit it, we all feel sorry for ourselves sometimes), I remind myself of this. This is just a really good example of reframing (widely toted to be a common habit of happy people), which is basically just looking at a bad/annoying/inconvenient situation and looking at it from a different perspective. Interestingly enough this was possibly the first ever reported case of actually-helpful-mid-tantrum-uninvited-parenting-advice ever.
Happiness Hack Two; Get Out of the House at Witching Hour
Taking you kids anywhere between those dreaded hours of 4 pm and bedtime seems like a terrible idea. And if that place is the bank then yes – it’s not going to be fun. But getting the kids to the beach, oval, skate park or the backyard is actually the best thing ever. I figure that if they are going to be maniacs then they may as well do it in the sun and fresh air – I much prefer listening to bickering with an ocean view, don’t you? The dinner will wait, your sanity may not. And the bonus is that the second the sun hits our skin we all feel happier.
Happiness Hack Three; Invest in Things That Make Your Life Easier
Fancy bento boxes, those cool stick vacuums, a bunch of lockers to use as a school-organisation area… You know, convenience stuff. I’m sure some people may be like, oh my god how boring. I don’t want to spend my money on stick vacuums and $40 lunch boxes. No thanks, that won’t make me happy. And I get that, I really do. But you know what doesn’t make me happy? Cleaning my house with a vacuum that sux, trying to find the right lids to fit the right containers at 7 am or looking for my daughter’s home reader for the seven hundredth time. Less stress = more time for happy!
Happiness Hack Four; Don’t Get Too Hung up on Being Present
I honestly think one of the biggest pressures mums are facing today is the constant reminder to put your phone down, be present and really be in the moment. If your phone is an issue to your happiness then by all means, try to break the bonds but it is impossible to be present 24/7. Don’t feel guilty for owning your own life. Your child is a human; not a performance, they don’t need a star-struck audience at all times. They just need to be loved and nurtured and supervised – but not appreciated at every move! That’s just way too much pressure for everyone involved. And you know they are more than capable of getting your attention when they want it.
Happiness Hack Five; Write a Happiness List
About 2 years ago we wrote a family happiness list. The idea was to make the concept of ‘happiness’ less abstract and more obtainable. We each listed a few things that made us happy – you can read all about it here. Mine included things like yoga, fresh flowers and going to the beach. My kids’ items were things like pancakes, reading books with the family and swimming. It’s almost like having a happiness recipe for each family member. Now when things aren’t feeling super joyful we now know exactly what to do.
Happiness Hack Six; Be Organised With Food
Organisation is NOT something that comes very naturally to me, the one thing I am pretty organised with though is food. Things like making lunch boxes the night before, having a basic meal plan, keeping healthy snacks around the place all help when the wild is taking over. It works as a happiness hack for two reasons. One, feeding two bottomless pits constantly is made a lot easier when I actually have a good grasp of what is in the cupboard (especially if the thing that’s in the cupboard isn’t ‘nothing’).
Secondly; being organised means my kids eat healthier.
Happiness Hack Seven; Make Quick Decisions
There is a lot of research to suggest that making decisions quickly can affect your happiness in a positive way. People who do make quick decisions tend to be more satisfied with the outcome and generally happier. It makes sense – if there’s less pressure you’re less attached to the outcome and therefore more flexible. When it comes to parenting there are so. many. decisions. So I always make sure that the unimportant ones, like which school photo package to buy get made quickly – and I rarely get decision regret. Hopefully, this skill will rub off on my kids – man they take FOREVER to decide on some things.
Happiness Hack Eight; Enjoy Each Thing for What It Is Rather Than What You Want It to Be
Clunky, yet self-explanatory. When the kids go mental and the movie night you had planned turns into an impromptu tap-dancing performance. Enjoy. When your beach walk turns into a mid-winter-undies-clad-ocean-swim? Enjoy. When you go to a social event and your four-year-old decides he needs to pass out on top of you and sleep for three hours even though he dropped his day sleep two years ago, get a glass of bubbles and enjoy. If there is one certainty in life, it’s that it’s totally uncertain.
Happiness Hack Nine; Dance It Out
When all else fails, pump some happy tunes and get the family dancing. It’s been proven time and time again to be the quickest and most effective ways to change a mood.