Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.I get so distracted when I sit down to write a post. What should take one hour turns into three. It's ridiculous. I check in on other blogs (gathering inspiration, i tell myself. But all it does is fuzz up my head and swing wide the door for writer's block). Many times, I end up at my personal blog, reading the archives. Pretty schmaltzy and nerdy, but I love our story. I love looking back on the evolution of our family and the things I've been thinking/dreaming about over the years. Reminding myself how darling the kids are, and remembering all the funny things they've said and done. I'm already nostalgic for this time of life - even while I'm in the middle of it. I know how quickly it's going to tumble by - the reality and tangibility will evaporate into memories that I'll reach back for desperately with efforts akin to late night archive digging. But that's neither here nor there, just a little morsel of fact about me (Em). And a reminder to soak up what you have right now because it is beautiful and precious and you'll never be able to have it again.
- Marcus Aurelius
Here's what I logged on to say:
I enjoy my children very, very much. Almost without exception. Almost. Of course there are moments when I look at my five year old and wonder where he ever learned to act so weird (then I help in his class and realize it's pretty much par for the kindergarten course!) Or wonder if my two year old is really making her whole body stiff and throwing a tantrum because I won't let her watch the Twinkle Twinkle Little Star video on You Tube a seventh (7th!) time. There are days that find me counting down 'til bedtime only a few hours after we wake up. But mostly, I love this job. I love the little people I spend my days with.
I think this is in part a gift from God. But it is also a choice - a way of thinking about my life. Something that's really helped me to enjoy my children more is changing the way I think about specific situations we're in. That sounds vague and horribly obvious, let me explain. When I'm cooking or baking with them, for instance, I don't think of what we're doing as getting the bread made. I think of it as giving my children a tactile experience. Teaching them about a ritual that's important to me. Experiencing joy together. It helps me take the mess in stride. It takes my mind off the clock - it is never efficient to cook or bake with young children. So when I need to be efficient, I don't involve the children. And when I involve the children, I take efficiency off my radar and replace it with objectives like: help them feel good about themselves, celebrate their curiosity, make this fun, laugh together, encourage them, foster a love of the kitchen, cooking, creating.
It works in other circumstances, too. Like bathroom cleaning. When I clean with the children I take the focus off of a spotless commode and put it on helping my kids learn to work, letting them feel satisfaction in their own effort, helping them build autonomy and independence.
In thinking of these experiences differently and changing my agenda, I am able to enjoy them, and the children, more. I'm not trying to get all Tony Robbins on you, but happiness starts in your head. Have joy. Find fun. Think happy.