(quote & adorable poster found here on etsy)
I've been thinking alot lately about happiness. It doesn't just come naturally for me to be positive all the time or stress free. I'm naturally dramatic. I naturally think dooms day is tomorrow. Happiness is something I work at. Constantly! But because I'm proactive about being happy it's made me a happier person. Maybe one day I won't have to work on it. Maybe one day it will be natural for me to remain blissful at all times. But until then, I've come up with my own personal recipe for happiness. Simplify. It sounds so much prettier to say that word than the real truth, which is: lower standards. For some reason women think that they should look like they're on the cover of Cosmo at all times. Our homes should be immaculate and flawlessly decorated. Our dinners should be 4 course meals served with starched linen napkins. Our children of course, should excel at everything. They will be perfectly behaved and dressed like J Crew ads. This is however, not my reality. So I used to lay in self pity, wondering why I bother trying at all. It seemed like everyone else was perfect and I was a big fat failure. Reading blogs can fill you with crazy notions of dreamy mothers with amazing sewing, cooking and cleaning skills. And then, like zombies we have to go back to our lack luster lives where we feel like failures. I say NO MORE!
Here is my recipe for happiness:
Lower standards- No more comparing. No more criticizing. No more over the top-ness! Just be happy in the simplicity of accomplishing the little things.
Ask for help- I used to think I had to do it all myself. That asking for help is a sign as weakness. Now I realize my limits and ask for help BEFORE I have a tantrum. Dry cleaners? Absolutely the best friend a girl can have. Babysitters? Umm, yes thank you. If you can't afford one, do a babysitting co-op or switch with another couple. Landscapers? Why yes thank you! No more husbands MIA or embarrassment that the yard looks awful. House keeper? I struggle with this one a bit, but I keep telling myself they are cheaper than therapy! Especially if it's only occassionally. But I hold no judgement if you're lucky enough to have one weekly.
Simplify- Declutter your life of excess clothes, toys, products, whatever. Just get rid of it. And do it often. I have a serious need to do this! It's so much easier to pick up after the kids, if they have less stuff to pick up! I'm also taking things OFF my "to do" list that are unnecessary, like folding kids underwear. Vacuuming & mopping daily. (if you had my crazy hardwood floors you'd understand) Simplified dinners are now on my list, such as soups, tacos, baked pototo bar, etc.
My new daily list of things I have to get done are simple. They are:
1. Make everyone's beds. The room looks so much cleaner if you simply make your bed. It makes me happy to look at cute throw pillows. I would love if my children made their own beds before school but that would be asking for a miracle with my girls.
2. Read to my kids. Even if for 5 minutes. They'll remember it when they get older. I love having a scripture story/devotional ready in my mind while I drive them to school. Carpool is such a good time to fill them with spiritual thoughts since they are captive! My kids are still young and they love it. I'm eating it up while I can!
3. Hug each child (and my husband!) and tell them I love them. That sounds easy but I've realized as they get older that it's more of a challenge. Feeling loved is the only way any of us will be truly happy.
4. Make dinner. No 4 course meals here, but simply sitting down for 15 minutes together eating the same food, makes for some interesting conversations. It truly is an accomplishment to be proud of when you have a busy family.
5. Go to bed with a clean kitchen and family room. Mornings are awful enough without having to deal with dried on crusty dishes from the night before.
That's it. That's my new list of what will make me happy. If I do nothing else in a day but those 5 things I can go to bed knowing that I made my family and myself happy. If by chance I sew some amazing drapes and matching pillows, then run 6 miles to keep up my amazing figure :) afterwards I come home to bake fresh bread in the oven while finishing amazing scrapbooks for my children. Well, that will just be the icing cake. But until then, I'll stick with my lower standards and call it a good day. I will be happy in the simplicity of my chaotic, unorganized, crazy life. I will be happy with mediocrity. I will be happy because I don't have it all. But I do have all I want- The love of 3 crazy kids & 1 adorable man.