I spend a crazy amount of time reading, listening and thinking about happiness. I’m not sure when it started but it has just always been an interest of mine. I still remember leaning over, closing my eyes and blowing out the 5 candles on my hedgehog birthday cake* and making my wish.
I just want everyone in the world to be happy.
Every one of my childhood birthday candles was blown out with that wish. I’m not sure at what age I abandoned it but I’m going to go ahead and presume that my desire to marry Leonardo Dicaprio may have been a factor.
Anyway, in the past, I have written a lot about what I want to teach my kids about happiness, but as my kids get older it is them that are teaching me a thing or two.
1) To Be Excitable. sie Mum Blo
My son leaps to jump in the boot every time I open it. Can you imagine wanting to jump in a boot? Even if I actually wanted to (which I don’t) I probably wouldn’t do it as it would take more effort than I usually expend in the Aldi carpark. And also, people can see me. Kids just have zest and the more I try to replace my adult apathy with childlike zest, the happier I feel.
2) To make a mess, and enjoy it. Aussie Mum Blog
Have you ever avoided doing something fun because you couldn’t be bothered with the mess? Well, my kids have not. They make a mess with wild abandon and they are at their absolute happiest when they do. I, on the other hand, COULD get out the sewing machine and spend the night making random stuff but I probably WON’T because I just finished vacuuming and…you know. Mess. I’m trying to embrace mess more and it is honestly making me happier.
3) To dance if you like the music.
It’s simple but true. Kids don’t hesitate to move their bodies and we all know how much happiness comes from dancing. So now, when I like the music – I dance. My two (very cute) dance partners wouldn’t have it any other way.
4) To let things go.
Moving on and letting go are not my strong points. But I often imagine a world where I can swap from full-blown-tantrum-mode to singing a song about cupcakes in a twenty-second turn around. In that world, I’m happier. My husband is too.
5) To laugh at farts both metaphorical and otherwise.
Yes, manners are great and yes, I want to teach my kids to keep their gas to themselves when possible. But accidental farts are funny. Embarrassment is too easily achieved in adults and we can all benefit from lightening up a bit. Aussie Mum Blog
6) That distraction is key.
When something upsets our kids, we naturally distract them. Hey, look over there at that cool thing! Who wants to go to the park? Anyone want ice cream. And just like that, it’s over. Sometimes finding ‘happy’ is as simple as moving your attention to something you like.
7) To never miss a chance to pull a face at the camera.
It’s so hard, especially if you don’t like what you currently look like, to have fun when someone pulls out a camera. But kids just see it, light up and get silly. And it looks pretty fun. They look pretty happy.
8) To demand the cup you want
Do you have a favourite cup? Maybe. But, is there anything that you drink out of in your kitchen that you would fight to the death for? Me either, but my kids do and they are truly happy when they have them. I haven’t had a mug related tantrum for a while now but I’m getting more comfortable putting my wants (not just needs) to the forefront. Prioritising myself has been a huge happiness booster.
9) That uncomfortable clothing sucks.
While we are embracing our inner divas, let’s talk about clothing. My kids NEED me to cut the labels out of clothes, they refuse to wear any pair of socks that ‘feel funny’ and they generally love life in their stretchy, soft fabric ensembles. And you know what, they are onto something. Since I have embraced a uniform of stretchy pants and sneakers I’m happier. Aussie Mum Blog
10) To make sure you’re full, well slept and satisfactorily stimulated at all times.
When a kid is cranky we quickly go through the list. Tired? Hungry? Bored? Overstimulated? And we fix what’s ailing them. As adults, we rarely do this for ourselves. Seeing my kids’ raw, uninhibited emotions being so manipulated by external factors made me realise that I too could benefit from more snacks and naps. Aussie Mum Blog
(note to self, ask mum why on earth I had a hedgehog cake)